It takes but a blink of the eye for firsts to become lasts.

We all remember the first time we met someone special, played for a team, started a job or commenced college: these are memories that are stained on our minds as we are aware what they represented and signified.

But then, out of left-field, comes a belated and unexpected second wind.

A few years ago, I was bought as a gift an experience at the London Velodrome. The day to redeem arrived and I had the nastiest illness one can possibly experience: a bad dose of man flu, but trooper that I am I attended and within a minute of the one hour ride, I was literally being sick on myself and the bike, as I attempted to hold it in.

I trundled around the home straight and got some strange looks from the smattering of spectators. I vowed then, that was it - never again, and so after one session I hung my head in shame and pursued less physically demanding cycling activity.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis dreamt of breaking a world recordBrett Ellis dreamt of breaking a world record

That was until last week when, having arrived back from a Spanish all inclusive and piling on two stones, I read about a velodrome world record which I truly believed I had a shout at.

It was broken (although I don’t think many have attempted it) by some Welsh chap who had started cycling one year earlier. His was a ‘seniors’ world record where he rode 100km in just under three hours averaging 27 seconds a lap.

So I found myself booking up for the ‘flying lap’ experience at the Olympic Velodrome where, for an hour or so you ride and at a particular point you have a ‘flying lap’ on your own, in competition with the other punters.

It’s a curious concept is the velo ride: the bikes are ‘fixies’, and you have no respite whatsoever. As the wheels turn so do your pedals as do your feet, that lack of a few seconds here and there to relieve the pressure is agonising. Oh, and they have no brakes as you whizz around a oval track which is angled at around 45 degrees.

Then the moment arrived for the flying lap. Despite sweating profusely as I tried and failed to keep up with the cycling 20 somethings, I was up first and posted a time of 20.81 seconds, but I was in absolute bits.

At that point I put my dreams of holding a world record to one side and yet again quit, safe in the knowledge that this really was the last time I will ever ride a velodrome.

But do I have regrets? No, and neither should you when you reach the end game of things you love as Tennyson once said, "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.