Today I raced for GB in the Gran Fondo World Championships.
I have raced marathon at elite level before and competed in cycling for some time so I thought I was fairly well prepared. I have trained for the last 9 months and got my power to weight ratio higher than ever, trained for heat, trained with low oxygen, and tried to psychologically prepare as best I could.
I had prepared my bike to be within a gram of the UCI legal limit, with new aero wheels, aero gloves, graphene tyres. Everything I could to gain speed.
Frustratingly, because family comes first, the one thing I could not achieve was good rest before. We had to cut a family holiday short by a day, fly the children home the morning before the race and then spend 21 hours travelling, and only 4 hours sleeping.
I knew this was bad preparation, but it was this, not race at the worlds, or cancel the family holiday. Hence I arrived at the start line a bit tired before the race had begun.
The race was humbling, I was surrounded by the best cyclists from 57 countries around the world, and perhaps unsurprisingly the pace was blistering. I am used to being near the front of any bike race, but this was something different! It was a gruelling 100 miles in oppressive heat with a lot of guys faster than me. I can about halfway down the field which in retrospect was good, but not quite what I am used to.
It has made me appreciate even more, the importance of sleep in order to do one's best, and also that to truly excel one must devote a whole lot of time to their chosen field.
I have already entered the qualifier for next year, so I have better get my travel plans in order well in advance and start training sooner. Right now though, I just want to ride my bike without worrying about power, weight and heartrate!