KATARZYNA NIEWIADOMA

Procycling - - Prologue - KN

A s I’m writ­ing, it’s the day be­fore I fly to the Worlds. It was the women’s TT yes­ter­day and a group of rid­ers – me in­cluded – got to­gether in Girona to check out the form of the favourites. Call it col­lec­tive home­work, but it was a cool way to see who was go­ing well and who we’ll need to watch out for in the road race.

I de­cided to head to the Worlds as late as pos­si­ble for a cou­ple of rea­sons. One was to dodge Ber­gen’s rain for as long as pos­si­ble. The other was just to stay out of the race bub­ble. I can feel the vibes of ex­pec­ta­tion. And while I know that home me­dia and the Pol­ish fed­er­a­tion only want the best for me, it all sub­tly adds a lit­tle bit more stress to the sit­u­a­tion. At this point I just want to re­ally fo­cus on the race and see what comes from that.

Still, there is no feel­ing quite like pulling on the na­tional jer­sey. It’s partly be­cause we don’t get to do it very of­ten dur­ing the sea­son, so that’s a priv­i­lege and a thrill. But mainly it’s be­cause you know there’s go­ing to be a real fight to try and get the home flag run up the pole in the podium cer­e­mony. It’s what we’re all there for.

And while we’re all up for the com­pe­ti­tion, there’s also some­thing com­fort­ing and homely about join­ing a group that all speak the same lan­guage. If I think about it, I don’t speak that much Pol­ish when I’m away train­ing and rac­ing. When we’re all to­gether as a na­tional team we can just speak more nat­u­rally and eas­ily with­out hav­ing to think too hard about what we mean to say. Hav­ing said that, this Worlds squad is not a team that I know re­ally well, apart from my WM3 team-mate, Anna Plichta, of course. Most of the rest I know only in a fairly loose way, so this Worlds will be a chance to put that right and get to know them bet­ter.

Fi­nally, I’ve ticked off my last hard train­ing ses­sion. Once the Worlds road race is out the way there’ll be no more in­ter­vals or long days in the sad­dle for a while. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. It’s been a long and in­tense sea­son and while I’ve no con­crete hol­i­day plans yet, I will have some soon. The time to fully un­wind is not that far away!

Ka­sia with her Pol­ish team-mates at the 2016 Worlds. She rel­ishes wear­ing the na­tional colours

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