I love making lists of my favourite things. Normal things that everyone makes lists about: favourite films, favourite albums, favourite desserts. But also lists of my favourite bike race things because in a pie chart displaying the different aspects of my identity, 80 per cent is cycling, 10 per cent is my favourite cakes list, and the remaining 10 per cent is just labelled ‘miscellaneous’.
I have my top-three favourite last laps in a team pursuit race (my first World Championships in 2014, the Rio Olympic final, and, new edition, Berlin World Cup last month), my top-three tried-so-hard-my-soul-left-my-body moments (an individual pursuit I did in 2013 to make Team Scotland selection for my first Commonwealth Games, the Rio Olympic final, the last lap of the 2017 World Champs omnium) and my top-three loudest crowds. This last list has just been reshuffled.
My number three loudest crowd was during (though not after) the individual pursuit final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year, where I was against Australian Rebecca Wiasak and we were neck and neck for most of the race. My number two loudest crowd was the last lap of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games points race where I had to win the final sprint to get a bronze medal (and did). And I experienced my number one loudest crowd a few hours ago.
I’m writing this on the train home from London, you see, having just won the Madison at the London World Cup with Laura Kenny at the Lee Valley Velodrome, which is low-key Laura’s velodrome. She became double Olympic champion there in 2012 and double world champion there in 2016 and when she crossed the line first in the final sprint of tonight’s Madison I experienced a noise like no other. I could feel it in my skull, in my bones. I can still feel it. I’m putting it at the top of the list.
Hopefully my brother also got to add to his own list. He and his Huub-Wattbike team-mates won team pursuit gold on the first night and I gather their post-race celebrations were a touch more raucous than mine and Laura’s. I might see if there’s a refreshments trolley on this train. Maybe they sell carrot cake.
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