After a not so great day yesterday I was determined to do a better ride today. If it meant only riding for the first half of the race, but doing a good job then so be it. One thing that has been hard for me so far is the team mentality. I have never ridden as a team, so to be told that its not important if I bail or get dropped, so long as I have done my job, is OK, is strange. It's about being professional, something that I am slowly getting use to. I have only ever ridden for results, but now it is all change. I am trying to learn very fast but have been told that this is my learning opportunity and if it takes 6 months or 1 year, then so be it, I will be a better rider because I wait. Waiting and being patient however is not something that I’m good at, so I’m going to have to learn that too!
I was tired from yesterday, so knew that doing an early job was crucial. I needed to empty myself early in the race because once the pace went up I was going to be a non-helper. So my job was riding at or near the front and covering moves. I did this for over half the race and then really started to suffer. There are only so many jumps and attacks you can follow before the legs really explode. My team like that I’m a fighter, I don’t give up, something which you can’t teach a bike rider. I was always there trying to cover moves and if I ended up too near the back I would try and get back up as quickly as possible. It’s only the first race of the year, what more could I have expected?
So the race is over! It feels like I have only just arrived in Qatar, but tonight I am going home. It’s going to be a long day, although half has already gone. I won’t be getting back to England until 11.00 tomorrow morning and that’s after I get my connection flight from Paris. Traveling is something you just have to get used to as a bike rider because sometimes, there is a lot more traveling than actual riding!
These three days have been a big learning curve for me. OK, I have been riding for a long time but not at this level. I have learnt so much, the things that need improving are not major things but by getting better at these I will instantly improve as a bike rider. It’s a long season and one which I am sure will be successful. I can’t expect instant success at these things, but hey I wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t want to improve at 100mph!
The race itself however did not compare to the race after the race. We had to ride a lap of the crit course, but with a twist. Every rider from the women’s race and men’ s race had to do it. It was quite something seeing everyone together, but very cool. This is something that should happen more often with the men’s and women’s races being held either together or on similar days. We then basically all rode back to the hotel together, something which must have been quite cool to see. It was a very large group and on these roads where traffic is less than friendly, it was pretty cool!
So now I’m trying to pack to return home! I really can’t be asked if I’m honest, it’s not something that I enjoy doing, but in the last weeks it’s something that I have been doing a lot of!
Hopefully I can sleep on the plane, otherwise tomorrow I will be very tired!