I am at the bottom of the mountain. It’s a long, long way to the top.
5,000 miles, in fact.
As I write this, my campaign will launch in one hour’s time on ITV Anglia News (awkward lycra screenshots above). Already, I feel almost overwhelmed by the level of admin, social media, emails and conversations I’m generating; and this is before I even get on the bike.
I will get on the bike, though. Tomorrow I’ll set off on my first ride, ticking off the first tiny tranche of villages on my hundreds-long hitlist.
I know there will come a moment when I roll into the final uncharted village on my epic challenge; I don’t know when, or where, that will be. What I do know is that, by then, my life will have changed markedly.
I am going to learn so much about myself in the next 5,000 miles: I’m going to listen, I’m going to learn, I’m going to share, and I’m going to grow.
Some days, I’m going to feel pretty lame. Sometimes I’m going to be snarky, or reply to an email or message in haste and later wish I hadn’t. Some days I’m going to glide through a dozen villages feeling like an intrepid adventurer, and get home feeling like a Tour de France champion.
This ride will be a microcosm of life, and that’s not just using the elevation profile of my route as a lazy metaphor about ‘ups and downs’. I will feel pain, elation, confusion, hopefulness, hopelessness, relief and despair. I might even learn how to change an inner tube.
In the words of Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks: “I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”
Come on then, Norfolk, let’s be having you.