Yesterday went by in a blur of nerves and celebration. I’ve slept for an hour and now I want to make contact with you all and thank you for your support and encouragement.
My day started early. I pinged awake at 5.30am and had done 6 laps of the course in my head before I even got out of bed. My team mates Jessie Roberts and Kerry McPhee and I spun up to the course and through security before beginning our warm up in the Team Scotland pits.
I was so nervous I fell off my rollers twice then there was a tricky moment when I rolled out onto the start line and everyone started banging the boards and shouting my name when I had to hold back the tears! I managed though and got off to a storming start on the wheel of the kiwi Karen Hanlon. I held Karen’s wheel to the bottom of the first lap then the course kicked up hill and the other hitters came into play. I settled into 5th place and rode a steady lap.
The noise from the crowd acted like a slingshot and at every corner and hill I was flung forward by their momentum. At times I felt like I was on a conveyor belt of emotion and my legs weren’t even having to work!
Then I hit something hard with my back wheel and convinced myself I was carrying a puncture. I stopped in the pits going into lap 4 and lost 2 places while John the mechanic and I tried to make ourselves heard above the noise. Once we ascertained that I didn’t have a flat (and that I am an idiot) he shoved me off and I got back into the race.
I had a 2 lap ding dong with Hanlon which I eventually lost by 20 metres in a sprint for the line but I clawed one place back and for that I was grateful.
7th at a major games is a great result for me and I am very pleased with how I rode.
Stepping out into the main arena after my event was similarly overwhelming. I spent the entire men’s race hugging and thanking people and I know there were more of you out there cheering me on that I missed. I hope over the next while I get to thank you in person and maybe even go for a ride with some of you?
I announced my retirement from international xc racing yesterday but I will never stop racing my bike. I have some plans for the 2015 season that include a more fun form of racing but I
want to hang onto this xc race memory as my last. It’s been amazing
I’ve been informed that my last morbid post about heavy hearts, British national championships and damaged calves is out of date and I have to move on. So here I am moving on. I’M IN THE ATHLETE’S VILLAGE!! (and it’s pretty amazing).
4000 athletes from all over the world have convened in my home town to celebrate all the best bits about being human. Some countries travelled for 10 days to get here. I spun down in 25minutes from my mum’s flat!
Last night I walked into Celtic Park to the roars of a crowd so loud it took my breath away.
Today I have spent 3 hours course training in the sun then talked with representatives from 6 different nations in the lunch hall, stood in an ice bath while eating my lunch, had my skinfolds tested by a nutritionalist, had queries answered by the wonderfully helpful support team in Scotland Street, stretched, had a message, slept and watched triathlon on the telly. You?
It’s pretty full on in here. I could spend 100% of my energy 100 times over in this environment every day but I cant. The next few days are going to be all about energy saving then, after Tuesday, I’ll be able to kick back and enjoy it all.
So, you might not hear much from me until then. Social media on top of just plain social is too much for my tiny brain.
I want to thank you all up until now and for your future wishes of good luck. I might not read them until afterwards but I will ready them and I will be out there on Tuesday doing my absolute best to make you all, and myself, very proud.
Sherwood Pines is a funny race. I’ve never been very good at it and on Sunday, I had no grit with which to step up and take it on. I was utterly outclassed by the Belgian Champ and British Academy riders and did not even attempt to respond! Choosing battles at this stage in my season is what it’s all about so on the fast, flat, twisty course Sunday was more of a battle with myself really.
If you miss the lead bunch in the fist few minutes, you are going to go backwards at Sherwood Pines. Out of the wheels of your competitors and without them to keep your pace high, you are dependent on your own ability to keep your heart rate and leg speed high, neither of which I found I could manage after a week spent knocking lumps out of myself with the British squad at Dalby. Alice Barnes and Beth Crumpton seemed to ping back a bit better that I managed after our week of training and worked hard up front with the amazing Annie Last to keep in touch with the race lead.
Lumping round the course alone and empty of fight, any momentum I had drained away after stopping to gas a slow puncture on lap 4 although being over taken by 3 chasing riders gave me something to aim for in the final 2 laps which I was strangely grateful for.
In the end I finished 7th and broken but with my sprit intact. Keeping this race in context and perspective, I fully anticipate bouncing back to form for the British Champs this Sunday in Ludlow (where I am now, sipping coffee and passively recovering from my ordeal!).
After defending my British Champ jersey this weekend its straight into the Commonwealth Games athlete village in Glasgow where the real battle is to be fought on 29th. I’m packing the Saltire Onsie. Go Scotland!