Welcome back one and all! There’s been a lot going on since the last blog, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster really and with the New Year in sight I thought I would round up 2019!
In July I was really happy to be selected for the U23 European Champs in Ghent. However, it was a disappointing championships for me overall. I was happy with a PB in the Team Sprint but not much other than that, something just wasn’t right. I didn’t feel like myself, I wasn’t recovering effectively and I just wasn’t proud of my performances. I was way off PBs and I just wasn’t really sure why.
One of the toughest memories I have of this year was coming off from the 500TT and walking to see my family that had come to watch and were waiting for me in reception. Tears were already beginning to embarrasingly stream down my face as I walked past other athletes. I looked up to see my brother and sister waving the GB Flag and my parents shouting ‘Well Done’. I just ran at my Dad and burst in to floods of tears (he can take it he’s a big guy). He just held me as I cried like a baby. That’s all I wanted him to do. As soon as he lets go, I’d have to go and be rational, pretend I was fine. This is where am truly one of the lucky ones, it doesn’t matter whether I take ten seconds off a PB, or add 10 seconds on. Win or loose. My parents love, hug and cheer for me all the same. They just wanted me to be happy and didn’t like how I wasn’t enjoying the experience as much as they were. I’d given everything over the last couple weeks and it was just difficult to comprehend how that time was everything I was given back.
I was bitterly disappointed and needed to clear my head after such a confidence knock. Everyone was incredibly supportive and within 12hrs of landing back in the UK from Belgium, I was back at Manchester Airport boarding a flight to New York with my family. I the took prescribed time away from Manchester, but also I’m not ashamed now to say I asked for an extra week too. At the time I felt guilty and nervous to ask, I didn’t want to insinuate a lack of commitment to the team for not coming back as arranged, or it be seen like I was trying to skive training. But I just needed a little longer. I couldn’t get the best out of myself physically yet, mentally I was still in a different place to where I needed to be to get the best out of myself. Again, everyone was really supportive. I had a multiple members of staff check in on me and keep me up to date with training and do all they could to help me. I took my bike home and just slowly got back into training my way, and headed back to Manchester in early Septemeber to start all over again. I’d all put that behind me. That’s sport. It’s not always going to go your way and what a privilege to be able to go through such experience, even though it isn’t the most fun.
One of my role models from my swimming days is an Australian Swimmer called Cate Campbell. She was named as one the biggest chokes of the Rio Olympics. As World, Commonwealth and Olympic Record holder she was favourite to win, but touched the wall 6th. Afterwards, she wrote an article which has stuck with me ever since. She wrote it to all the ‘keyboard warriors’ that mocked her for her ‘failure’ or choke. Obviously I’ve not yet come close to anything like being the favourite for an Olympic final or being mocked for a failure. But the message she gave was something that truly resonated.
‘Let’s change the way we view failure.
It’s seen as a dirty word, something that we should be ashamed of. But let me tell you, it takes a hell of a lot of time, effort, diligence, perseverance and above all courage to get to a place where failure is possible.
Because it is the same place where success is possible.’
Cause she’s right, the margins between success and ‘failure’ are minute. It takes everything you’ve put in to your training to get a failure, as it does to then get a success- just a little bit extra, sometimes even luck. It takes courage to put yourself in a place where you could even be considered to fail. I just thought that was a really awesome way of putting what any athlete can imagine as one of the most dreaded situations.
Back in the gym and grinding away on the bike I went! We were lucky enough to head to Barcelona pretty early on in the strength block for some out of season racing. Even though not enough race wheels were packed in the end… it was a really great event. The sun was beaming all weekend and if you know me, you know thats pretty much all I need for a pretty decent day. And it was nice to enjoy riding my bike!
We tackled a few more little races within training, including a Newport Grand Prix where I managed to ride quicker in the midst of training then I had in two events at the U23s over the summer. This was a major confidence boost and just allowed me see you can get back on ‘track’ with a few tweaks and perseverance! I also learnt a major lesson in match sprinting, I’d qualified fastest but was knocked out very early on due to some ridiculously silly mistakes. So many lessons have been learnt recently.
BUT most excitingly, I’m slowly coming down from the hype after riding the GB Tokyo 2020 Track Bike at my first World Cup in Glasgow! Any equipment Team GB wish to use at the Olympic Games must be used at prior at a UCI event, basically it needs to be shown before the games- you can’t keep it a secret! And long story short, I was asked to ride it in Glasgow with Lauren Bate in the Team Sprint in early December. It was an incredible opportunity I hadn’t foreseen and was honoured to do. I was allowed to ride it a couple of times before the event, but very early in the morning! Which in this case I was more than happy to do with such an anticipated and unique bike! Hope and Lotus have made something pretty special! Me and Lauren managed to train a little bit together, even less so along with the bike, but we didn’t care we were excited to get out there and just enjoy it. A home crowd, no pressure and a pretty cool bike- happy days.
The bike felt really nice, Lauren smashed it and we qualified 6th! We then made it to the next round where we went slightly quicker but stayed 6th. We’d surpassed a few expectations including our own and saw this as a great start to getting the ball rolling with Team Sprint again, looking to Paris 2024. I had a so many lovely messages from people watching it on TV, and I’m so thankful to every single person. It was such a daunting experience, but knowing I had so many people backing me all the way made it a lot easier to relax and enjoy it!
I’m now back on the grind, training away. I’m looking forward to my final race of the year in Grenchen, Switzerland on 17th Dec. This is the one where there’s unlimited Red Bulls so we’ll see how that ends up. And the hotel is within the velodrome walls so you hear the bikes riding around above you through the ceiling. The novelty soon wears off…
Then a quick stop off at home for Christmas with the whole clan. And then back in to training in preparation for Nationals at the end of January (after a lowkey 21st Birthday Bash in there somewhere… )
I’ve got no idea what the new year will bring. If I’ve learnt anything this year it’s to believe in myself, but to be patient so I’ll be looking to take that into 2020.
I just want to say, I’m massively thankful and hugely lucky to have such a supportive and caring support network. There has been some really difficult conversations, thoughts and fears from me over the last year and I’ve never been more thankful for a message of support. Huge love to you all I’m looking forward to doing you proud soon.
2 thoughts on “2019 Round Up, inc first World Cup”
Well done Milly.
Go da Millister,
We wuve u x