Sunday was a big day. It was the third and final Richmond Park time trial of the year. My result (28min 50sec, 18th out of 31 in the Men Road category, 56th out of 92 overall) was always going to be of little consequence to me. I was only interested in achieving one goal, fulfilling a unique aspect of what is surely my destiny: this, I knew, was the moment when I, Chris Campbell, would finally meet… Chris Campbell.
The other Chris Campbell has been unwittingly shadowing this Chris Campbell for years. Chris Campbell and Chris Campbell were both Dynamos. For two years in succession, Chris Campbell signed up for the London Dynamo club championships but failed to show, leaving Chris Campbell – me – to ride as the only Chris Campbell in the race. Chris Campbell has also caused momentary confusion in Sigma Sport when I have had to point out on a number of occasions that no, that is not my address, and Pearson Performance briefly thought Chris Campbell’s bike belonged to me when we both had our machines serviced there at roughly the same time. And yet we have never met.
I arrived at 25 minutes to six eagerly hoping Chris Campbell, who is now a member of Kingston Wheelers, would appear in the low-level mist that had covered Richmond Park. I was 17th off at 6:08; the Wheelers’ Chris Campbell would leave the starting line three minutes later. I made a mental note to wait for him at the finish.
Unfortunately I was so knackered by the end I forgot to look out for Chris Campbell. No matter: at the Dynamo social on Thursday, my clubmate Robin Osborne revealed, to my great surprise, that he once knew Chris Campbell. Short and stocky, apparently. Rode a Serotta a few years ago. Zipp wheels.
I waited to see a Wheeler matching that description, to no avail. I asked a couple of Wheelers if they knew Chris Campbell; they didn’t. I was beginning to feel like the protagonist in a Nabokovian meta-prank, hunting for a double who it appeared may not actually exist.
I told former Dynamo Rich Simmonds about my predicament before he accepted his prize for joint first place overall. To my astonishment, it turned out he too knew Chris Campbell… except Rich remembered Chris Campbell as tall and thin, which is what I look like. Was Chris Campbell the physical double of Chris Campbell? Or were there now not two, but three Chris Campbells? After all, I was only assuming Chris Campbell joined Kingston Wheelers after leaving Dynamo; the Wheelers’ Chris Campbell could be a different Chris Campbell altogether. In which case, the three of us could form a club – the Chris Campbell Cycling Club. Or CCCC.
Then I looked at the finishing sheet. It seems the Chris Campbell who is now a Kingston Wheeler may well be the former Dynamo Chris Campbell. For, like the one-time ’Mo, the Wheelers’ Chris Campbell had also not turned up. The only double I got to see was another green Ridley Excalibur.
Curse you, Chris Campbell. Curse you.