Hello everyone! It’s me again, back with my final Performance Diary entry from this year’s UCI Track Champions League. This week was the one I’ve really been looking forward to – London!
Even before taking to the track in Lee Valley, I was reflecting on my second TCL season, and how far I’ve come since the last one. I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the last four weeks, gaining lots of race exposure and experience in different surroundings. It was always going to be a challenge coming in as a world champion, but I’m really pleased with how I’ve handled the pressure – it’s something I’m going to use for the next block of racing!
It was surreal to be able to wear the rainbow stripes this weekend in front of a home crowd. I don’t know if an opportunity like that will come again, so I made sure to take a step back and soak all of it in.
Winning that sprint gold in front of a roaring Glasgow crowd at the UCI Cycling World Championships was just an unforgettable moment. The energy and enthusiasm that the audience brought to the velodrome was electrifying, and I felt the same here in London. I had goosebumps! It felt like an extra push; a burst of motivation that was really needed after three weekends on the road.
London’s unique challenges
While it is always great to be racing in front of a home crowd, it is not without its challenges. Having friends, family and fans in the stands is amazing – but it can also add to your nerves! With the crowd in London being so supportive for the British riders, it can also mean that you lose an element of surprise when racing, so I had to think carefully about my tactics.
The other thing about the London leg was that it was two race nights in two days, so while it was nice to be able to take momentum from one night straight in to the next, it meant my cool-down, sleep and nutrition in the 24 hours after night one were incredibly important.
I had to make sure to spin my legs on the rollers on Friday night so that I was well recovered and able to race again the next day – this is really important to spin out the lactic, but also mentally to reflect on the racing and just to relax a bit after all the adrenaline.
I also had a Healthspan protein shake to make sure my muscles were well recovered and a nutritious meal with plenty of carbohydrates to ensure I was fuelled properly to race again on Saturday. Sleep is really key to racing two days and making sure I had a full eight hours was really important to feeling fresh the next day.
It wasn’t just my body I had to keep a careful eye on over the two nights – it was my bike too! It was a big chunk of racing in a short period of time, so a lot of maintenance was required to keep everything fine-tuned.
One key thing is ensuring the bike is always as efficient as possible, and that’s where Shell UK’s new chain lubricant has been handy. Since using it for the first time in Glasgow, I’ve found it's been an incredible help in keeping the bike’s performance at a top level. I've felt a clear improvement in my bike's efficiency; it's allowed me to generate more power and pedal more smoothly, ultimately contributing to better results on the track.
Being at home may provide that extra boost, but having innovative technology on my side certainly gives me the confidence I need as I prepare for upcoming races. It's all about embracing the pressure and using the best tools to perform at my peak.
And with that, all that’s left to say is a massive THANK YOU to everyone who came down to London, or watched previous rounds on the TV, and cheered me on! It’s been a wonderful few weeks for me, racing in some of my favourite venues, making new friends from the other side of the world and reconnecting with some old ones!
It’s been refreshing to see so many British riders (14 of us!) involved in the TCL this year. I’ve enjoyed spending time with everyone, and it was exciting to see so many good performances and wins in London from my teammates. A real highlight for me has been watching Katy Marchant race with so much confidence, and I was buzzing to see her make the sprint finals twice.
Next up for me is a winter of training hard before the European Championships in Apeldoorn in January, followed by some Nations Cups. It’s a busy block but I’m looking forward to it. Let’s go!