So it was National Championships weekend and I was relaxing at home in Belgium on Thursday night. I dont really get stressed about nationals, Ive done pretty well at nationals, and over the years Ive ridden a lot of them, so it truly is just another race; but of course still a race I want to win. So, sat at home after a great week of training, half a glass of vino in hand (most would call it table wine but I like to think I can taste qualities in it others cant), I was pretty happy in life. Then during the evenings busy TV schedule of womens specific programming courtesy of Belgie TV executives, I started to get some tooth pain.
So thinking Godverdomme to myself, I spoke to my logistics staff (aka Stef) to ensure a plan was put into place to ensure I reached the National Champs it tip top condition. So this plan involved driving from home to the cyclocross holy ground of koksijde to collect some special goodies from Challenge Tyres. They are top secret, so I cant tell you any more yet. Then from there to the Eurotunnel, where we arrived 2 minutes before check-in time for an earlier train. Then we had to drive exactly at the speed limit, not over it, all the way to the dentist where I hoped he would put in a tiny filling and not even need to do that numbing thing where I dribble for several hours and then have a hamster cheek for a few days. Alas, it wasnt meant to be. Despite evil Mr Dentist initially suggesting I was having phantom pain (I wasnt), he then discovered my tooth was foddered and I needed root canal treatment. He was happy to stay late and get it done for me. He was obviously keen to see me capture title number 8 I guess.
So off we went, me dribbling, my driver (aka Stef) at wheel, with tom tom set on direction Christmas. Yes, Friday afternoon was Christmas in the Wyman household as the official Christmas has to be postponed due to other racing. So we unwrapped our gifts, they were amazing, I got a toaster to go with my new fridge, had dinner and then drove to Derby. We stayed in a great little place along side a canal. They were really friendly, the food was great and had no issues about my mechanic (aka Stef) cleaning the camper in the car park, or the trail of bubbles he left in the hall .next to the mud left earlier .
Saturday, it starts to get serious; yes we had to do some shopping. There are simply some things you cant get in Belgium. So we popped to the local supermarket to buy some lovely English food on our way to pre-ride the course. I had more hired help at the course as Id booked Martin Eadon (aka Dud), the former GB team manager who gave me my big break in cyclocross and selected me for my first ever world cups. So I owe him a lot, so I thought dragging his butt around the national course at full pace, after hed already raced would be a nice thing to do. It was worth it, as he picked up a few things (Hell be a better rider for the experience .haha), and in combination with my coach (aka Stef) who ran the course with me, I left the course very confident I had it dialed. Confident, it was then onto the serious stuff; dinner with friends and family.
Stu, Sharon, Ma, Pa and Janice all came over to the hotel, we ate a lot, and had a great time. Perfect prep for the big day. So race day: Good start, into the mud, bit of battle with Nikki, sadly no Gabby, got a gap, pressed on, remembered my tips from the day before, didnt look back, won number 8, very happy.
So like everyone else who won, I have a big celebration; I treated myself to 600kms in the camper to be back in Belgium to start the race in Otegem the next day. This race is the traditional chance to show of the new Champions Jerseys, which I did much to many peoples surprise who were expecting to see me in the European Champs Jersey. I am officially allowed to choose which one I use, so I fully intend to take advantage of this and make sure the National Champions kit is show. I really think thats important.
Otegem is an old school cross around a town. Its run by some great people and all the town folk are given the day off work to support. Two separate pits meant my pit crew (aka Stef) split duties with another riders crew to look after multiple people in the pits to ensure we have complete coverage. It was a great race actually, a real 3 way battle but I worked out my strong point on the course and used it on the last lap to get a gap and the win. Very happy with it and it means I have won more in Europe this year than in the USA, which is a real plus point for me.
Now Im in Spain have travelled after the race to the Airport. A final big block of training before the World Champs and a few events after Worlds. I couldnt be happier, Im a bit puffed out and I wont be trying the root canal to victory again if I dont have to.
Catch you all soon.