The Root Canal to Victory

So it was National Championships weekend and I was relaxing at home in Belgium on Thursday night.
I don’t really get stressed about nationals, I’ve done pretty well at nationals, and over the years I’ve
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 can’t), I was pretty happy in life. Then during the evening’s busy
TV schedule of women’s 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 can’t 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 wasn’t meant to be. Despite evil Mr Dentist initially suggesting I was having
phantom pain (I wasn’t), 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
Saturday, it starts to get serious; yes we had to do some shopping. There are simply some things you
can’t 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 I’d 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 he’d already raced would be a nice thing to do. It was worth it, as he picked up a few things (He’ll
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, didn’t look back, won number 8, very
So like everyone else who won, I have a big celebration; I treated myself to 600km’s 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 Jersey’s, 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 that’s 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 I’m 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 couldn’t be happier, I’m a bit puffed out and I won’t be
trying the root canal to victory again if I don’t have to.
Catch you all soon.