I wouldn’t like to stretch the comparison too far but there are parallels between cycling long distances and embarking on this volunteer role at London 2012. Despite my training (which, whatever you may believe from reading the papers was thorough, professional & above all useful), I’m still not sure what will actually happen today. Just like starting any new job there will be challenging experiences, different faces, new destinations. Where will I be and how will I feel at the end of my ten-hour shift? I’m not sure is the answer which is more or less the same emotion I had every morning as I cycled to Italy in summer 2010 along the Eurovelo 5.
My thoughts also stretch back to two days in the past; the first in July 2005 when it was announced that London would indeed be the host city for the Olympics in 2012. I was expecting (like most others I imagine) the word ‘Paris’ to come at the end of the short pause after ‘The Games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 will be held in the city of…’ and was stunned to hear the word ‘London’ instead. The class of 12 year old students in front of me at the time seemed less impressed than me but I walked around for a bit in a daze. London! And then there was the day in August 2008 when I sat down to watch the cycling at the Beijing Olympics and realised that I too should be doing something a bit more interesting with my summer holidays than watch vicariously as others had exciting adventures elsewhere. “Why don’t you… just switch off your television set and go do something more interesting instead” as the old TV programme used to shout during the summer holidays. I did and, well, you probably know the rest (if you don’t, read the book!).
So here I am, typing away on the electronic screen of my iPhone just as I did during the summer of 2010 wondering how this particular endeavour will turn out. What will be the highlight? The lowlight? The most exciting bit? The most dreary bit? The people? Will there be more Simones, Angelos & Alains en route to my own finishing line in mid-August or will I have to bite my lip diplomatically in front of more Massimos? I wonder… Allons-y!