Two laps? Little more than a mile in total? How hard can that be?
Those were my thoughts before starting out on the streets of Aberdeen city centre today. I soon changed my mind.
Spurred on by the need to not let down my team, I made the schoolboy error of starting out too fast — although I doubt it looked that way for anyone watching — and I could already feel the lactic acid rising after the first couple of bends.
The section of Union Street that had looked so appealing from the sidelines suddenly looked like the longest straight in the world. And a headwind. That’s just not sport.
Into Broad Street and the finish line at Marischal College. Except…there was another lap to go.
The next couple of minutes passed in something of a blur.
Just as I was really beginning to flag, a crowd of crazy kids on the corner of Back Wynd made it quite clear that they didn’t expect to see any quitters. I couldn’t quite make out what they were screaming, but “Get moving, old man!” is probably close.
A couple more turns and the pain was over. It was into the changeover zone to let a teammate take his turn.
So the easy ride I’d imagined turned out to be four minutes of utter chaos and pain.
But riding these famous old streets without traffic is a huge honour, and the atmosphere on the day was brilliant.
The serious stuff all happens in the evening. But for someone who loves cycling as much as I do, seeing kids out on their bikes throughout the day was the real highlight.
Sign me up for 2020!