And now for the long list of superstars that make me feel like the laziest but luckiest athlete around. Number one definitely has to be Phil Burt the cycling physio who has picked me up and put me back together again on various occasions! Then there are the mechanics (see photo of them at work in a track session) who often work tirelessly into the late evening making sure that we have every bit of equipment in tip top condition and set up to go for our training. Here on training camp they work overtime doing jobs we ourselves should normally be doing such as cleaning our road bikes and changing the gears on our track bikes during track training sessions. Every bit of equipment detail is no longer of our concern – it is all covered. Preparations pre training sessions are made, help during sessions is always there and afterwards it is all cleared away for us. Any requests for changes to equipment are met almost immediately. At the end of the last training session of the camp today we walked away knowing that all of the teams equipment (four or five bikes of mine our going out to Beijing so that demonstrates just how much kit there is!) will have been cleared away, packed away and whisked off to Beijing and unpacked ready for us when we arrive at the Olympic track for our first session there.
Whilst on camp we have carers (also known as soigniers) who are there to provide the riders with additional care. For track sessions they will provide us with food and drink provisions as we need it and any extras. At the hotel they will do things like collect our washing, provide a room for the athletes with food for snacking and general lazing around, give recovery massages and be a general dogs body for anything extra that is required. In all honesty we are very spoilt and I see it as getting a five star treatment when the four stars would really do! But it is a service that is there nonetheless and one which we all make use of!
In addition to these guys who are with us on a daily basis with a real hands on approach, there are also loads of people in the background who keep things ticking along. There is the staff in the office back at the headquarters who do all the admin, logistics and organising - the things that we just take for granted but are critical to the team functioning as well as it does. Then there is the sports science support who provide research, testing and analysis provisions etc. Without them we wouldn’t be competing in Beijing with the best technologically advanced equipment, the added extras that will help us perform better, the nutritional, psychological and physiological support that has enabled us to train effectively and to a high level and also the technological analysts who have recorded every pedal stroke we have taken with crazy biomechanical, viedo and computery analysis stuff (of which I understand nothing) to basically number crunch us to faster times on the track.
This is only really a snapshot of the people in the background. There are just too many to mention right now. But believe me the work that goes on is immense. I only really have a very small job to do which is to train hard and go and win that gold medal to make up for everybody’s hard work and support. Speaking for all the riders on the team, the support staff really are the key to our success and we are probably the most privileged group of athletes in the world to have them behind us all. We are extremely grateful and appreciative of what they do for us.