Great Britain Olympic star Jason Kenny took a long break from cycling after the Rio 2016 Olympics – but now he's ready to get back on track
Despite the success – or perhaps because of the pressure that came with it – Kenny was ready to leave the world of cycling behind, and took an extended break from his rigorous training programme after Rio.
The 29-year-old married fellow track star Laura Trott and the couple had a baby in August. Over the past year, he has slowly re-found his love of cycling by taking part in sportives and even a return to racing at a cyclocross event, the Horwich Humdinger in October, where he finished 50th out of 54 riders.
“I was going out on the road on the bike, doing sportives, just because I enjoyed doing them,” Kenny told the BBC in an interview.
“So I was sort of training anyway, and I just thought, sod it, and cracked on properly, thinking, let’s give it another nudge and see what happens.
“It was about getting the love back: realising I do still enjoy it, and that I don’t just do it because we’ve put it in a planner and the planner says do it.”
Kenny says he drew inspiration from the riders taking part in the cyclocross race.
“I found it so inspiring, to step out of our bubble and see that – guys and girls, just enjoying it, playing around and getting really muddy. What’s not to love about that?”
The Kennys have had to alter their training to fit around the new member of the family – Albert –which Jason admits has been a ‘challenge’ due to the lack of sleep.
“We’ve got a gym in the garage now, which has helped a lot, because it’s taken the commute out of doing gym sessions,” said Kenny.
“Having little Albie has made us have to streamline our lives; when it’s just the two of you, you can be quite wasteful, and you’ve got plenty of time, but now that’s all changed, and we have to try to train as efficiently as possible, and to make Albie our priority.”
Kenny will return to track competition on Saturday (January 6) when he takes part in the Revolution event in Manchester. It will be the first step to his path to selection for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I’m really excited about making my return to track racing at Revolution in Manchester on January 6 because it’s where I first started racing in front of crowds,” Kenny said in September.
“I competed at the first Revolution event, as a junior in the Future Stars, so it’s a really nice way to be coming back, especially at my home track.”
He now admits that his form is an unknown going into the race. “It’s new ground for me: it’s the start of it all, the day I start racing again. And then we’ll go from there.”