It is quite impossible to follow in the footsteps of your hero's in this sport. Not least because there are none, simply tire tracks, names sprayed on to Tarmac and old wives tales of days gone by. But mostly because each and every rider takes such differing paths. Races, teams and riders come and go so fast that the sport is literally ever changing. Each journey through it complete with an individual narrative, full to the brim with stories to tell, riddles to entertain over a Café.
I have never yet met a boring bike rider.
The only real common denominators in this sport? Hard work and good old-fashioned support. For Cycling is just too god-damn hard without these factors, a truth even I can attest to from my little experience thus far.
They adhorn all manner of surfaces. From my fridge, to my old bedroom wall in London, to the mirror of my new apartment. They are images I conjure up on long climbs, when I feel most at one with the bike, when I dare to dream. They are videos I have watched countless times, races splitting on cobbles, in crosswinds and up famous mythological mountains. They are parts of a culture I am just beginning to discover, delve in to and immerse myself in. Ultimately they are the guys who have changed the sport in this country forever, showing it can be done, showing the rest of the world how to do it.
And I am proud to be following, as much as is possible, in the distant (and not so distant) wheel tracks of a few of these hero's…
I didn’t know Dave Rayner, he tragically and prematurely passed away before I was born. However through many friends and from seeing the lasting legacy he has left on British racing, and particularly young British riders, I feel I know a little what Dave must have been like.
As I climbed yesterday, sun on my neck, the ever-present clichés of my own breath and wheels rolling on the tarmac present, I reminded myself how much I really do love riding my bike. Yes it can be painful, difficult, dangerous and bloody tough, but it is what makes me tick and I think that is probably something I share with the late Dave Rayner.
And that is why, above all else, I am really proud to be representing Dave and all the hard work of the Fund’s committee out on the road this year. A huge thankyou to all for the opportunity, I hope to do your support justice and try to give everyone back home something to be proud of in some way or another.
For more info on the Fun checkout the Dave Rayner website here.