I frequently do time trials, cycle races against the clock. Each rider has a number and they go off at one minute intervals. no. 1 at 9.01am, no.2 at 9.02am e.t.c
For a particular race, I was number 85 (10.15am). I like to get to the start line 5 minutes before my time to go. There's nothing worse than missing your start time.
Anyway, it was a big race and I got there a few minutes before; I took off my leg warmers and got ready for the big race. I hear the starter call out number 84. But no one comes forward, I start to get worried for number 84. I'm sure I've seen him getting changed earlier. I see a cyclist come up the hill, so I start waving and gesticulating at him to get a move on. He doesn't seem to respond so I make bigger efforts to wave him forwards, walking away from start line going down the hill. When he finally comes to the start line, I find out he's actually number 87, so I got him worried for no reason. We chat a little, and then I go to the empty start line, assuming I'm next.
Alas, I go onto the ramp to be told I've just missed my start time! The rider called was number 85, not number 84. When I was calling the rider in the distance, it should have been me getting on the start ramp. I misheard. I had to wait four minutes until there was a gap of a rider not turning up. I was four minutes late, the race was gone!
I did the race with a four minute handicap. Quite a mixture of thoughts went through my mind during the race and after.
- Annoyed with myself for not fully concentrating on the start line.
- It seemed vert bizarre to be there and miss the start.
- Trying to practise detachment.
After the race, I did start to see the funny side and inwardly laughed at myself. The picture of me on start line frantically worrying and waving about someone else being late, when it was actually me who was going to be late!
I'd resigned myself to losing the race, but somehow I ended up with my actually time without the handicap.
It also reminded me of a wisdom of Sri Chinmoy and the great spiritual masters, that often we can see the faults of others, but ignore our own glaring mistakes.
I was imagining others were late, when all along it was me who was late.