I want to talk about how the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour went last week and offer my views on how the road Nationals are going to go this week, but all I can think about is the pain the former has put me in and the dread that’s causing me for the latter.
Currently, my whole body is broken. I was promised amazing form off the back of a huge stage race, but it’s yet to kick in. Do I need to register online for the form? Was I meant to pull off a ticket at the startline so I’d know when my form was ready? Why isn’t it here? They all told me it would be here.
It was worth it though, the annihilation of my legs. I raced in a Women’s WorldTour race and actually raced. I’ve ridden the Women’s Tour twice before (2014 and ’15) and both times I’ve been simply in attendance (with the exception of a flukey eighth place stage finish in 2015).
This year, though a late crash in stage four really pelted any general classification hopes I had, I was actually fighting for the sprints jersey and contending the finales (fifth, seventh and 12th being my best stage finishes).
A sense of jubilation at simply being at the head of a road race sits in fairly stark contrast to becoming world champion on the track just months previous, but that’s a huge part of the pleasure I’ve taken from this road season so far; the lack of expectation.
That’s something I hope to carry into the road Nationals next week on the Isle of Man. My WNT team-mate Hayley Simmonds carries all the pressure for the TT as current champion, and a recent bout of climbing triumphs while racing in Spain certainly marked her as ready for the lumpy course.
I’m also excited to see Elinor Barker (my Rio pursuiting team-mate) show herself in the TT: junior world champion in 2012, this might be the first road season she’s been able to refocus on the event — the outcome is potentially delightful.
Hopefully neither of them see this and suffer from the curse of being a favourite. Hayley and El, if you are reading, my apologies!