After the hype of the U23 European Champs sadly began to settle, I started a monster three weeks. I tried to cram in as much as I could, before the pedals had to be turning again. I was just as proud to win a medal, as I was navigating my first flight to and from somewhere outside the UK, plus a train with extremely limited Italian. I’d flown straight to Rome because I couldn’t wait to see my family out on holiday. I’d lost about 4 kilos before racing started, so I was also excited to eat my body weight in Italian ice cream and pizza… Even though it took me about a day to walk around the colosseum because my legs were still in bits, I loved every second. It’s my favourite city I’ve ever visited, hands down.
Then back to England for a few days at home, including my brothers 18th. This was a lot of fun and the perfect opportunity to see the whole gang. I then headed to Oman for a week! Thanks to my Dad being in the Marines, we’re lucky enough to know people all over the world and my second family are now based out in the sun. With some time on my hands, it was a no brainer! Before I knew it, I was seeing camels, getting a tan on the beach and hearing the call to prayer at 5am. Not a saddle in sight, just sun beds and beaches. I’m not ashamed to say, I loved it. I then dragged myself away from the mid 30 temperatures and caught up with a couple more friends spread out over our rainy country. Enjoyed being at home for a few more days then headed back up to Manchester.
Time to get fit again. Time to get back to it. If I’m honest, I wasn’t rushing back. I’m still not this idyllic cyclist, who always craves being on the saddle. I enjoyed three weeks of not changing gears, always in lyrca or constantly conscious that having an extra brownie might come around to bite you in the arse. Or even a chicken nugget… But I do want to be a hell of a lot better this time next year. And to do that, I’m told you’ve got to keep training. So, I thought I’d best be getting back.
Plan was- throughout the next 5 weeks, be able to do all lifts with as little pain as possible (tendinopathy in both knees beginning to go away!) then build the weight and start to get strong. I suppose we’re getting there. Although, little did I know the hole I’d be in by the end. I gave everything I had, every day. By the end I was a mess. I’d come off from the last track session because both my knees and my back was hurting. And I’d been told to stop the session by physios. I went to get changed and just fell to the floor in tears. I wasn’t sad. I just wanted to go home. As pathetic as I’m sure that sounds all I could think about was having the longest sleep I could imagine, in my bed at home. Loads of delicious food cooked by my mum, and then eaten around the table as a family. As well as being able to relax in the warmer temperatures of Devon. With my brother back from Uni and sister back from boarding school, we had all returned to the ‘nest’. Even though it wouldn’t last long, it was much better than nothing. And all I wanted to do.
I don’t like writing about how tired and exhausted I can get, because I feel like we all work hard and get tired. I’m not asking for a pity party. In a way, I’m extremely grateful to be pushed this far and to be this tired. Plus, at the end of the day, yes, it is my job. If you can even call it that. We all have tough parts to our ‘jobs’. But, for anyone out there that thinks training with the Great Britain Cycling Team is a bit of pedalling and a quick stop at the gym, because everyone’s always been good or is just naturally talented. You are deluded. The feeling of DOMS has been consistent for five weeks now and for everyone in the squad that is. The ability to walk up the stairs without pain is long gone and the constant hunger for anything- never leaves… I’m sorry for all those that have had to deal with a ‘hangry’ me. Gym sessions last over 2 hours, and track sessions are all 3! With 8 sessions a week, by Sunday we are crawling. But then of course, it’s road ride day!
But work hard, rest… hard? I’d done what I needed to do and could rest up. I absolutely loved being able to move without pain in every muscle fibre. I had a solid 12 hour sleep the first night and then moved very little for the rest of the day. Although I did go to a neighbours birthday meal, which was absolutely delicious. Then I was at a beautiful country house to celebrate my Grandparent’s birthday on Sunday, again utterly delicious. I then met up with my Discover Your Power counterpart on Monday, now conveniently at Exeter University. And on Tuesday, went to the gym but my favourite part was taking some time to chill in the saunas and hot tubs with my mum and sister afterwards! Wednesday was just a chilled day at home with my sister, bit of packing here and there, but painting our nails and laughing at old movies we’d watch a million times when we were little, was all I wanted to do. Then I managed to squeeze in a catch up with a friend I used to swim with from Millfield, again at Exeter- just down my road! It was so nice to just completely just fill each other in with what we’d been up to. I probably won’t go to University now I’ve started my Open University degree, so it’s nice see what my friends are up to if they also did something different out of school or are living the uni life.
I then drove (under supervision because no, I still haven’t passed my bloody test) to Exeter Airport at 8am and flew to Manchester. And I was back on the track at 1pm, like I’d never been away. By this time the Milly a few days ago, was long gone. This one is a lot happier, can walk properly and is ready for round 2 of this brutal strength block. Here’s to being stronger and faster, in races to come.
2 thoughts on “Why I cried my eyes out and wanted to go home”
Keep at it Milly. You’re stronger than you think.
That’s why you were chosen. Inner strength, hard work plus a supportive loving family.
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Love the honesty
Love the progress
Love the love for your family
Winners never quit, quitters never win, stick in bonnie lassie x