Yes, we’re a month into 2019. However, as this is my first blog, I’m taking it back a year…
So, 2018 got off to a very disappointing start.
My first race of the year began early January at the British National Cyclo-cross Championships where I was looking forward to racing for the win. Preparation went very well, but around 20 seconds into the race, any hopes of success were over for me. I called out ‘on your left’ to pass someone as we sprinted off the line and committed to overtaking round the outside, between the rider and the course barrier. Amongst the madness off the start, she can’t have heard me and drifted to the left, which only meant one thing.
It makes my heart pound as I write this now, thinking back to this traumatic memory; I went face first into the metal barriers, breaking 4 metal poles… yes, with my face, and damaging my nose, wrist and mouth mainly.
Full of adrenaline, my immediate reaction was to pick myself up and get back on my bike. I rode very slowly, confused and the most upset I’ve ever been in my life. I carefully ran my tongue around my mouth and thankfully all my teeth were still in place.
Blood dripping onto the frame of my lovely, albeit, now broken Trek Boone, I carried on riding. People were telling me to stop, a medic shouted ‘get that girl off the track!’ and after a few minutes I knew it was over. Rider and bike broken, National Champs over.
I just sobbed for a while as I saw the medics. Devastated.
I train to race. I love racing, it’s my passion. After all the good feelings approaching this race, it was ended in 20 seconds.
This crash is definitely one to forget, but I’ll be sure to steer clear of metal barriers in the future! (no pun intended) haha.
Despite this race ruining my chances for World Champs CX selection, there was nothing I could do so I moved on and took time to recover. However I think any keen athlete knows, recovery gets a bit boring after a few days and we soon want to be pushing the pedals or raising our heart rate again!
Early in 2018 I left the British Cycling MTB programme. After which I wanted to compete in more road races and have the flexibility to race whichever races I fancied, in either discipline.
My old MTB team manager sent me to Majorca in March to reset in a new environment, lovely weather and a change from day to day life back at home.
This was the best training holiday I’ve ever had; I don’t like to call it a ‘training camp’ because it was so much more, and the training didn’t seem as hard because I loved every second of it! So this is why I call it a training holiday 🙂
This actually made me realise prior to the trip I wasn’t in a happy place within myself for several weeks. I was very low after the crash at the Nationals, and yes, I picked myself up and cracked on with training again but never thought too much about how I was actually feeling. So this trip to Majorca made me realise that I needed a lift and I could be much happier.
Afterwards I was full of life, energy and motivation and it made me begin to steer towards the road riding more (no pun intended again!). I always said I enjoyed Mountain bike, Cyclo-Cross and Road Racing the same and couldn’t really decide between them; I’ve had the most titles in MTB- European and 2x National Champion, but out in Majorca I just couldn’t get enough of the speed, fluidity and responsiveness of the road. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I was in the mountains… Probably even when I was doing hill efforts up Sa Calobra!!
This wasn’t the main reason I’m now focussed on road racing-I’ll talk about that in a future blog-but it definitely made my love for the road grow stronger.
Aside from the riding, which I could ramble on about for a while, I learnt to be more independent after flying out there solo and made some great new friends; all sharing the same passion.
Can’t wait for the next ‘training holiday’!!
This blog was a bit longer than anticipated! So I’ll continue with some more of my 2018 season in the next one which you’ll be able to read on the 22/02/19, but in the meantime you can follow my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feed. Thanks for reading!
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