As promise, I'm filling you in on how my final day at the Euro track champs went.
I peeled my of the sheets after a whole 5hours sleep and yes I mean peeled, open wounds and bed sheets don't mix. Although I didn't have a lot of sleep I didn't feel to bad, I did get a snooze on the X-ray table the night before so maybe that helped!
After a relaxed breakfast and plenty of time to wake up I was on my way to the track for the first event of the day and the fourth of the Omnium, the 4k pursuit. The winner is the guy who can inflict the most pain on himself and I'm telling you now it ain't for everyone, especially with a day of racing already in your legs. As Andy plans it there is plenty of time to get ready once at the track and as little stress as possible. I was in the sixth heat of so I was in no rush to get ready. Throwing my leg over the bike for the first time was interesting, stiff as a board and lots of pain from everywhere. My left knee cap was busted, right quad was throbbing, hip didn't want to move and shoulder was in the same boat, great! As I warmed up though everything loosen out and Austin our Soigneur (He'll love me for saying that) worked a bit of magic and I felt half normal. Before I knew it I'm in the start gate getting ready to go. As pursuits go this was far from my best, I was never comfortable and gradually slowed after 2k. What didn't really help either was the Belgian sitting up. I was just about to catch him and he pulled out, honestly, that threw my a bit. With that race over I was gutted, the time was 4 secs off my target and I was convinced that I'd screwed up. As I cooled down with a miserable head on me I realized that everyone was pretty slow. The fastest time was my target time and I manage to get Sixth place, a pleasant surprise considering. I'd beat the reigning European and a previous World Champions.
Next up was the Scratch race, another race that has haunted me in the past but as with the Points race I was confident that I could change that around. 60 laps of the track with an average speed over 50kph is never easy and in case you don't know I won it! This was big for me, there is a queue of so called "experts" that are quick to tell me how useless I am at bunch racing so this should silence the critics and hopefully I can build on what I learned from it. The race itself was fast and any wasted energy would come back to bite me so as with the points race I was as cute as possible. For 40 odd laps I was looking for a stall, I stayed near the front but did as little as was possible and when it happen I gave it full gas! I did a turn on the front, pulled up, looked over my shoulder and seen everyone else looking over there shoulder so I dived to the back line and committed myself for a lap or two. At this point I was looking for what the bunch was doing and they where sitting at half a lap behind me. After maybe 10 laps or so I was closer to them than they were from me so it was an all or nothing move, it paid off and I gained a lap! I loved to say there was a feeling of relief but it was still shear pain at that point. There was maybe 8 laps left in the race and the two things in my head were, don't get dropped but don't let anyone else get a lap. Thankfully it all worked out and I'd done it, won the Scratch race. It took awhile to sink in but what I'd just done was the exact opposite to last year and that's progress!
Finally the end was near and I was sitting in second overall. When I heard where I was placed in the rankings there was a sense of happiness and a feeling of Holy Sh#t, what do I do now! As I glared at the results sheet Andy reminded me that there was only one thing to do and starring at that sheet ain't gonna change that fact, 4 laps as hard as I can go! I would be the first to say that this is one of my better events but not this time. All I had to do was finish in the first three and I would be picking up a medal. I didn't let that spook me at all but my legs just didn't have it and the fact that SEVEN other guys did 1.04sec kilo's, the same as me, I didn't do enough! I finished eighth, 4/10ths of a second of a medal! Andy was the first to say, snap out of it, I did a good ride! Thanks to him for the constant positive vibes and thanks to Grace who should be getting paid for being my 'go to gal!'
With all said and done though I'm delighted with Fifth place in Europe and the ball is still rolling towards