I believe that I left off about 2 days before the race, with an overall feeling of nervousness and anxiety about the upcoming event and as just about every other night over here my night sleep went a little bit like this: go to sleep around 10 or 11 and wake up around 2:30 without the ability to go back to sleep.
Knowing that I really needed to get some good sleep each night, and being nervous knowing that I kept having trouble sleeping, compounded the problem because as my nerves got worse and worse my sleep suffered equally.
Another aspect of preparation I needed to work on was my bike situation - which two days before the race I was still trying to get totally dialed in. I had left my two race bikes over in Belgium when I came home after the Euro Camp, and they needed some work. I also brought a 3rd race bike with me for this last trip of the season. With two bikes already having gone through some tough Euro races, and adding a third bike, I needed to get all the bikes ready to go. After checking over everything and hours of tuning up by the mechanics, my 3 bikes were as dialed as I have ever seen them.
With the bikes all set, I decided that in order to get over my fear of switching bikes and risk having a different position (which could mess a lot of things up when you are going full throttle) I went out and did what I called a blind trial which was basically not looking at the bike I was on before getting on it and going for a ride and seeing if I could notice a difference in the way it feels. This turned out to be a very good idea just because having gone through the whole season with out taking a bike change making sure the next bike I was going to get on was the same was very important.
Another thing I noticed while being over here this last trip was the incredible lack of interest I had in doing anything but thinking about my race and everything surrounding it.
For instance - all the hard work that a number of different people had to do just to get me there to race in Europe, not to mention how much work they did for me in getting me 3 working bikes, sweet race wheels, extra parts, tires and all that weighed very heavily in my mind, and thinking of how I would feel if I were to let them down after all of their hard work kept running circles through my head!
I also noticed a major difference in my attitude towards a lot of things over there, being so focused on doing well in the final race of the season...but most of all my irritability and feeling that I could emotionally snap at any moment. As much as I prepared, it was still pretty stressful!
Emotions and thoughts before the race go as follows:
- top 10 would be nice
- top 5 would be awesome
- podium: I never really thought about being that I didn’t want to feel the let down if I were to not make it to the podium sooo I didn’t really plan on getting a medal as being one of my goals
But as the selection was made it was already clear that I would be getting a top 5 and I was ready to settle for that until the last 500 meters when I realized that in the sprint finish I had already surpassed my goal of getting a top 5 and was now looking at a medal!
I feel that if I did one thing wrong and one thing at all (besides crashing) it would be that I didn’t quite believe Noel, my coaches, my parents, and anyone else who ever told me I could get a medal at the World Championships…because believing in myself the whole time like I did in the last 500 meters could have changed my overall mindset of how I was going to race the race in the first place!
Small things like being nervous or not being as confident leading into the race, I already know might be the reason for the problems sleeping I had, but since the race I have been having trouble sleeping again since I have been so excited about how the race turned out! I still hasn’t fully hit me that I got a silver medal in the Junior World Championships!!
Photo credit: Russ & Nancy Wright/AbbiOrca.com