The start list for the British National Championships this Sunday reads:
- Lizzie Armistead
- Lucy Harper
- Louise Laker
Yep, by virtue of the alphabet my teammate and I are lining up just behind the World Champion on Sunday. Can you image if by some miracle we crossed the finish line just like that list but in reverse?! It’s every cyclists’ dream to beat the World Champion, but I’m not feeling amazing and circumstances are lining up against me producing a Lizzie-beating performance.
I finished the Tour Series a couple of weeks ago feeling strong but super tired. I’d managed to improve my technical ability over the course of the series to get my all-time best result of 9th place in Croyden. Feeling more confident, I returned to Girona to train and recuperate ahead of my next block of racing – The Curlew Cup, Nationals, Otley GP & Tour of the Czech.
I managed 100 meters of the Curlew Cup at the weekend before pains in my leg muscles brought me to a halt. I was gutted, the course was perfect for me with the race heading up the Ryals (a massive hill) 3 times. Plus my journey time for the race would total a 20 hour round trip (Girona-Manchester-Newcastle-Redhill-Ashford-Newchurch). I watched from the team car as the race predictably split over the climb, with 4 riders breaking off the front, a chasing group (with my team mate Gemma safely in), with further groups chasing behind. Even the sun was shining to produce race-perfect conditions.
By the time the race ended I had stopped wallowing, accepted my situation and turned my attention to my recovery ahead of the Nationals, just one week away. I had managed to ride the Curlew Cup course backwards and by the end of the ride my legs felt much better. Not race ready, but better.
And now it’s Thursday, just 3 days to go and I’m developing a nice sounding chesty cough. Things just aren’t looking good. The time, effort, emotional energy, physical energy and money put into getting to races in the UK is totally worth it when a race goes well, but when you can’t even start everything is called into question.
Time for a bike ride to think things through!