I have to say, riding a pop up velodrome is a relatively alien concept, other than my experience on full sized velodromes, I don't have a vast amount of experience doing it. One thing I found was an almost mental block to turning sharply on the banking, I was looking ahead, as I've done most of my cycling career, so I guess it's understandable that I would take a bit more training to be one of the best pro's in the series and start shaving time off my riding. But to another extent, I thought to myself recently about why the kids are so fearless riding Street Velodrome and why adults like me, hold back more on it... The fear of falling.
I happen to be very good at rationalising fear and overcoming it, so I started thinking about falling while I was riding. There's certainly a leap of faith you have to put into something where there is any element of danger. Faith the banking will hold, faith that your own bike handling will be good enough. But I think the hardest fear to overcome when you get older is the fear of failure. I thought some more about the childish simplicity of falling over on the bike and what would happen if we did. The answer, is so simple it hurts. We get back up again.
I've fallen before in life, I joined the police. It wasn't something I did lightly and I never thought as a child that I'd ever be able to do it, but it was always a dream of mine since I was a kid. I fell, not only metaphorically but literally as well, when I had my break-through seizure. But you know what, I got back up. Things even worked out better than I could have ever imagined after leaving the police and I hope that in the future they'll get even better.
I guess the point I'm attempting to make is that, we should at least try. There's always the option to sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by, but that's no way to live a life. You can't achieve anything unless you throw your hat in the ring and give things a go.
This Sunday in Stevenage, I've told myself that I'll risk falling and push my riding skills at this weekend's Street Velodrome, after all I can only fall and get back up. We all heal with time, we can all brush ourselves down and start again. We're made through failure, it's also what helps us relish in triumph.
The biggest opportunity I have to fall on my face trying to attempt something in the next 12 months though, isn't Street Velodrome, it's not work related, but it will take a huge amount of work, both physically, mentally and financially.
The Women's 24HR Track Cycling WR, is something that I've been targeting for a long time, but only recently, has there been the opportunity to get the venue for the attempt. It's frightening and stressful, because there's the possibility to let people down, to feel like I've let the condition down. It's also not an easy ride to stage, it's expensive and time consuming, so it's the kind of ride you'd likely only get one, maybe two at the most, attempts at.
There is however a huge 'but' in all of this... If I don't attempt the ride, then there's no prospect of shining a light on the condition, showing what people with epilepsy could do, no raising money for Epilepsy Action, none if it.
So I'm going to attempt the record.
Sometimes as we get older, pride scars more than cuts, breaks and bruises.
But then there's some things in life that are more important than pride and after all, if we fall down, we can always get up and try again, no matter how hard it might be, it's still possible.