What an amazing weekend at the London World Cup! The crowd were phenomenal, even on the first day when it was just qualification rides! Racing started on the evening of Thursday 16th February with the women’s Team Pursuit qualifiers. There was an awesome roar from the crowd as we started and it is fair to say I got a little carried away and made the fatal error of starting too fast! In a team pursuit it is important to pace the first kilometre well in order to hold pace in the final kilometre. We came out above World Record pace but subsequently faded in the final kilometre and ended up being 2nd fastest qualifiers. We were a little disappointed but keen to come back fighting in the final the next day!
We had the unusual luxury of having a whole 24 hours until the final, so there was plenty of time to recover and analyse our ride and see where we could make improvements. It was decided for the final we would swap Wendy with Dani King so we had a pair of fresh legs coming in for the final! Before we got up to race it was very inspiring to watch Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton beat Australia to take the gold in the Team Sprint and also set a new World Record! All 3 of us were keen to make sure we could bring home a 2nd gold for the team!
The bronze medal ride off, just before our gold medal race, saw Australia take the win over the Netherlands in a new World Record time of 3:19.1! I knew we were more than capable of that sort of time so I was determined to put in a good performance to try and better the World Record again. Our ride went really well, the roar from the crowd was absolutely unbelievable and really helped us all give that little bit extra! We rode technically well and did a far better paced ride and we finished in a new World Record time of 3:18.1! A whole second quicker than the time the Australian’s had just done! I was absolutely over the moon! We all knew we were capable of that sort of ride but it was so good for it to all come together on the day and it was made even more special by the crowd who really got behind us.
The standard anti doping test followed and it ended up being quite a late night for me, of course made worse by the fact I was still buzzing and even when I did eventually get to bed there was no way I could get to sleep! I actually ended up having 3 and a quarter hours sleep before having to get up for the qualifiers of the individual pursuit on Saturday morning. (This isn’t an exaggeration – I actually have a sleep monitor which tells me how many hours of sleep I have each night.) The individual pursuit is no longer an Olympic event but is still a World Championship and World Cup event and as the current National Champion I was keen to take the opportunity to ride the event here at the World Cup. It is fair to say I wasn’t feeling quite so keen when I was trying to force some breakfast down at 7am on Saturday morning! I was off towards the end of the qualification heats so went out to ride to a schedule of 3:33 as I was confident this would be enough to get me into the gold medal ride off. I delivered a time of 3:33.4 and was pleased to also be the fastest qualifier, even if it was by less than a tenth of a second!! I was set to race against Alison Shanks in the final which fortunately wasn’t until 8pm in the evening so I took the opportunity to go back to the hotel and go back to bed!!
I arrived at the Velodrome in the evening ready for the final feeling refreshed and like it was a new day! I was confident I could go quicker and was looking forward to a good race! I set out very fast but I was keen to get in the lead. The gap decreased throughout the middle kilo but then I managed to pull back some more time in the final kilo to win by over a second! The noise from the crowd was phenomenal and it really did help me push that bit harder in the last few laps when it was really hurting. I simply couldn’t let them down by loosing! I was over the moon to win a second gold medal and it is strange to think back to Christmas when I was off the bike and didn’t even think I would be competing here! Overall an amazing weekend and a great learning experience.
After the World Cup things were pretty hectic for me with lots of media requests and a couple of photo shoots! It was all great fun but after 2 days it was time to fly out to Majorca for another training camp with the squad. It was good to get back into a training routine of ride, eat, sleep, repeat! We were there for a week and half and were lucky to have perfect weather – it even reached over 20 degrees on some days – quite a contrast to the snow they had out there not long before!
I am now back in Manchester and working hard on the track ahead of flying to Melbourne for the World Championships. At the weekend it was nice for me to get a little break from the track environment and head down to Stoke for the team launch for my team Matrix Fitness – Prendas. It was great to be reunited with my team mates from last year and also meet the new girls. We got some lovely new kit and bikes and I am really looking forward to a good block of road racing with the team after the track Worlds.
2012 seems to be going quickly but I am really excited for the rest of the year, bring it on!