What did I think about?                                                                                        Home Page

This question came up after the event and I think the answer is that I thought about how good I was feeling. It was exactly how I used to feel when I was time-trialling in my twenties, as though there was no separation of mind and body. In my body was the quick rhythm of pedalling, the slow rhythm of change of direction and the equilibrium given by the gyroscopic wheels. In my mind there was music as an accompaniment to the magical feeling of levitation. On the velodrome track, my job was to keep the pace comfortably constant and concentrate on following the black line. No looking at the clock or the lap counter or waving to the audience. I chose to have Beethoven's Ninth Symphony playing to help me keep track of the time. The rhythm of this music, external to my being, had no connection to the rhythms of the ride. In this sense it was a different experience to time-trialling on the open road, where a fragment of music to match the pedalling would be repeated over and over in my mind. Keeping track of the time did give me a focus, knowing that I had to do this for only a limited period. Listening out for duration markers in the music was a constant effort, but the benefit of this effort was the complete absence of distraction. There was no space for mood swings, concern about fluctuation of pace or any other triviality. I was fully occupied with the fast cadence rhythm and the slow track rhythm - the give and take of pushing along the straights and being carried around the curves. No other thoughts during that hour, just this consciousness of an exhilarating lightness of being. I shall always be grateful for the encouragement and support that allowed me, for an hour on that day, to just be.