Ultra-distance racing is about simplicity. While riding, my mind might be an atlas of thoughts and a symphony of emotions. But on the map, I’m just a dot from a GPS signal - a pair of coordinates and a ticking clock.

There’s a number printed on my cap, and that same number tracks my position as I race across continents. It’s all that matters.

My peers are there too, always moving.

I can see them on the same map, edging forward, chasing this strange caravan of sleeplessness, ambition and hunger.

If I stop, they will continue. Stay here long enough and not only will they pass me, but the sorcery of the event will blow over like yesterday's weather, and these roads will revert from theatres to thoroughfares.

I will be marooned - no longer a number with a purpose, just a rider far from home. No wonder people try not to sleep.

But I am not a number.