I think I'm just about feeling over the excitement of the last couple of days. Sam and I drove down to Devon on Saturday, driving the course (hilly as hell) before finding our hotel for the night in the incredibly beautiful, Widemouth Bay.
Leaving early, we managed to arrive at HQ an an hour and forty-five minutes before my start time. This is unprecedented behaviour for me and I shocked Coach Simmonds with my organisation. (He was stunned to find me mid-turbo when he drove into the carpark).
With good knowledge of the course, a decent warm up and my new "speed suit" thrown into the bargain, I was feeling pretty relaxed. I didn't feel nervous. Just aware that I would have to ride the first half of the course conservatively if I were to make it home in a good time. There was already a small crowd gathering in Holdsworthy's town square and a sense of occasion was created by the commentator and starting ramp (small but purposeful)!
Climbing the ramp, I answered the usual barrage of questions about "Look Mum No Hands!", where and what it was. On another day I might have found this frustrating but it kept me calm.
The way out was hard. There was a stiff headwind and a few technical features. I kept pedaling and stayed focused. As I approached the turn (over half-way at 13miles), I started to find my groove. Riding well on the hills and spinning quickly with the tailwind, I was at least enjoying myself.
There were supporters all along the course. The race had caused something of a spectacle and the cheers from the onlookers were much appreciated. Sam was at 21miles with the Slack party and managed to catch me gurning on camera. I was pleased with how I'd ridden and thanks to a good old chinwag over coffee with the wonderful Jen Hewitt, had approached the race with the mentality that this was the only outcome that mattered.
Back at HQ I was quickly pounced on by Dope Control. Bah. Humbug.
Peeing into a pot while scrutinised by an official is not my idea of a warm-down, but I did feel looked after. They let me know how I'd done (9th! Hooray!) and stayed with me while I went through the necessaries.
Thanks to Sam for being a saint and putting up with my driving and inability to pee on command. A good weekend.