I can’t remember my last blog but it must have been last year. 2016 was such an eventful year for me, in bad ways (Rio) and in good ways (Marrying Philip), 2017 looks like being a busy time as well.
I started the year doing some training in Gran Canaria which has good roads and big climbs. My brother Nick came out to train with me for a week which was nice, as I don’t get to see my family so often. Racing started in the spring with the Belgian classics and Strade Bianca in Italy. I got some podium finishes but I was not on the same form as last year. After eating some dodgy food in Gran Canaria I was left with continual stomach problems. My digestive system is unfortunately not very robust. My dad came out to Belgium in April for a week where I was supporting my teammate Anna van der Breggen and he saw me get 3 second places in a row at Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone, and Bastogue-Liege. Anna won all 3 races so the team sponsors were very happy.
The big highlight of the year was of course the Tour De Yorkshire. It was so lovely to see so many of you at my book launch in Leeds, just before, and a lot of Otley jerseys out on the course during the race. The crowds were fantastic and the ride back into Harrogate was a thrill for me, the Yorkshire pudding trophy less so! It didn’t get eaten.
One of my targets this year was to regain the National Championships title in the Isle of Man. This enables me to wear the red white and blue for another year. Again I wasn’t feeling at my best but I managed enough energy for a last lap attack.
I am now feeling much stronger, the Giro Rosa 10 day stage in Italy gave me a good block of hard training, and finally we had the ladies La Course in France. I had a good ride up the Col D’ Izoard (Well done to everyone who did the Etappe), I finished in second place (Again!) Unfortunately we don’t have big team buses like the men so we then had a 6 hour drive to Marseilles having had no showers and having to get changed in cars and vans. At the time trial in Marseilles there were again no facilities, not even toilets. Hopefully this will improve next year. My big aim for this year is the World Championships in Norway during September. This looks a tough course which will suit me well.
Well done to all the juniors on the grass track, you all look to have had a good season.