I’ve spent three days last week at the HSBC UK Track Cycling National Championships. I raced four events and left with four medals, though only one gold.
You can assume that any time someone is ‘really happy to medal’ they were third, much like being ‘really happy with a top 12’ means they were 12th.
I was really happy to medal in the sprint, the scratch race and the points race, I won the individual pursuit, and I got a top 12 in the race to pee quickest at doping control.
This time last year I’d raced five events, won three, and was sat in a toilet cubicle uncontrollably shaking and sobbing. The 2019 Nationals haven’t reaped as good results but I certainly feel a lot better.
It was a very confusing thing, 12 months ago, to feel elated at becoming national champion three times over but so exhausted that my body refused to supply sensations to match that feeling.
I’d done the last race that day (the points race), stood on the podium, done the pictures, met the kids in the fan-pen, done the interviews, and then as soon as I realised I was finished, my whole chest collapsed and I couldn’t stop snotting and gulping for air.
The same thing happened to me after the 2017 World Championships in Hong Kong, where I won the omnium one day, raced but underperformed in the individual pursuit the next, and then for some reason tried to train the day after that and suddenly felt like my heart was being pulled out of my chest with a fish hook.
I think it’s how overtired babies feel.
I did a better job at napping this year.
Far from hiding in the toilets or trying to gather my stuff and evacuate the building without too many people noticing my whole body juddering, this year I’m going out for a curry with my family.
My brother set another sea-level world best (4 minutes 9.584 seconds) winning the individual pursuit, and with Huub-Wattbike won the team pursuit as well. I expect we’ll be racing together again in a month’s time should we both be selected for the World Championships in Poland.
Who said there’s competition to be Best Archibald?