Thursday, 30 July 2009

Friday night

We're just about to start the show here. Vicky Pendleton is warming up in the background, Steve Peters is on the phone (in the white shirt) and we're just chilling.

We're on our warm up laps here, the easy bit.

Me, smiling at my mates who were dutifully snapping away. Still warming up.
Our lovely coach, Tim on his bike (with an engine!) about to pace the junior Keirin.
The senior sprint race. These guys were really nice blokes, very supportive.

I'm in a world of my own here. The other women were either doing their thing or just about to and I'm just focussing on my ride in the centre of the track. Felt very cool!


Our coach Shane getting me ready, waiting for the siren to go and it all to begin!

So tired, lungs bursting, can't breath, pain, pain, pain....

My time - proof positive!

It's all over, just the thanks you's now.

Serious helmet hair there!!

Our Olympic moment; Kathryn joked that now she had something to hide her tummy behind!!

Our big finale was very exciting. Unfortunately, the 5 hours before it were not quite so thrilling. Lots of schlepping round the velodrome lugging a bag of gear and hanging around waiting for stuff. We were filming a trailer for the show and getting weighed and measured and being interviewed and just generally hanging around or getting changed from one outfit to another so it was very tiring.

To lift the mood somewhat, while we were filming the trailer on the track, the Olympic team were also training and our coach, the aussie bloke, Shane, called Sir Chris Hoy over to meet us just before he started a session on the track. He was a really genuine bloke, it seemed as though he'd be the same whoever he was talking to and he definitely had the Olympic "aura". I'm not usually starstruck but to see him in his gear on a bike about to set off on some heavy duty training was pretty awesome. And a trulyamazing physique, thighs, thighs, thighs...

He was doing a session of flying 500m's. So, while he was rolling round the track building up speed, we could do our thing on the bottom for the film crew but, when he was about to go into his 500m sprint, we had to quickly move into the centre. The speed he generated and the power was amazing. From 5 feet away it was breathtaking! And that was just a training session; what it must be like in competition.

Anyway, back to our big night. Once we got into the track and started our warm-up it was great. there was a decent crowd and lots of people. British Cycling had arranged a few junior Keirin races and some senior sprints before our kilo time trials so the audience had something else to watch. There was a big scoreboard and compere and the lights were on full and all in all it felt charged. We had a new outfit, some lycra race suits (which didn't fit us very well to be honest, too big!) but that helped change our mindset from training to competition.

Mandy and Lyndsey dropped loads of time, 7 or 8 seconds but I wasn't really watching as I was trundling round the centre concentrating on my own race to come as I was going last. Kathyrn did really well and came in at 1.31.8 which was 3.5 seconds off her last time and then it was my turn.

I had a pretty good start for me. I'm not as explosive off the start as Kathryn but I didn't lose too much time. ThenI got into my stride and was pushing with every fibre of my being. I was actually muttering the words "kill it" as I went round the first half lap, not sure what I wanted to kill!! Anyway, I was pushing and pushing and I thought my lungs were going to burst and I could hardly remember how many laps I'd done and eventually I was emptying it on the last bend and could hear the cheering and pushed onto the line and as I sailed passed the bend after the line Steve (the psych bloke) said - well done, 1.32! So I too had taken 3.5 seconds off my best time. I'm really chuffed about that. I did my absolute best and it felt fantastic.

We had some speeches afterwards where Steve explained to the crowd what we'd achieved and everyone said thank you to everyone else and it felt nice and emotional. And then I went out to see my pals and then got in the car and drove home, totally drained. It's times like that when I really miss having a husband who is at home all the time. Everyone else had someone there but I was just going back to my dogs! To be fair, it didn't upset me as I was shattered and felt just very happy and satisfied with a job well done but it would have been nice to be able to chat away to D and not to have to drive!

So, it was a really great experience but now I'm back on the straight and narrow and trying to live all the lessons I've learned and I have goals to fulfill. That is almost more exciting and than doing it all for the telly. I feel that I'm close to "cracking it" and that could be the most thrilling thing ever.


Shauna said...

Wow wow wow that is so cool! It is so surreal seeing you zip around the velodrome that i've seen on the telly so many times before :) you look dead sporty and determined. What a fab experience... go you good thing :)

Claire said...

Good for you have a plan to keep up the momentum?