Medals in World Championships are hard to come by. I’m now privileged to have my first Elite World Championship Medal under my belt. This came as a surprise to myself as much as others, however it goes to show that hard work and preparation pays off. Unwavering support and total belief from my coach Brian Nugent from the first time I turned a pedal until now has undoubtedly been key to my progress. I owe my success to his persistence. The other man in my life, my Dad, has been with me through all my sporting conquests from the day I first sat in a rowing boat until now. Your name is on this one too Dad. As you always say….it’s another important one!
When saying thank you’s one is always at risk of not mentioning somebody important. However I would like to say a particular thank you to Andy Sparks and Tommy Evans who have both been a valuable part of our coaching team. Cycling Ireland for giving me this opportunity and support, the Irish Sports Council, the Sports Science Team at ORRECO and the Irish Institute of Sport. Also, a huge thanks to all my sponsors that have helped me along the way as without their financial assistance this would not have been possible, in particular Bus Eireann, Richies and the numerous Garda Clubs and Organisations who continue to support me.
For the Points race on Thursday night, mental preparation and tactics were the key. As an endurance rider I needed to race this knowing my strengths and riding to them. After the race and the euphoria of medaling, I asked myself (as any elite athlete would) what could I have done to get myself into the Silver or Gold positions – My answer, Nothing. I raced my heart out, emptied the tank and at this point in time that was the very best result I could have achieved.
I was lucky enough to have family support in Melbourne as my sister Jackie and cousin Trisha were in the crowd screaming their support and waving the Tricolour. When the going got tough their cheers really gave me that extra zip when I needed it the most. Brandon Madden and Jennie Reed’s familiar animated cheers and support was a big help to carry me up the straights. Who needs a Four-leaf Clover when you have such wonderful support as this!
Standing on the Podium, watching the Irish Flag being raised as the first Irish Track Cyclist in over a hundred years to win a Medal at an Elite World Championships, made me so proud. As the Gold Medalist Russian rider Anastasia Chulkova had the Rainbow Jersey pulled over her head I knew that this is only the beginning for me. I want to stand on that Podium again and hear Amhran na Bhfiann ringing out.
Trying to put the overwhelming support and excitement from home in a box for now, and turn my focus to Sunday’s Individual Pursuit, which is my main event. To get my best performance out on Sunday it is vital that the body has time to recover and to focus the mind. Update tomorrow evening!