Why Shanaze Reade is a winner

To be honest I’m a bit down about her crashing out of the Olympic final. Everyone thought it would be a formality, even Chris Hoy who doesn’t get much wrong when it comes to bike racing. I even got up/got woken up in the middle of the night to watch it which doesn’t happen often.

It must be tough when everyone’s told you that a gold medal is yours before it even happens and then you discover that the pressure you’ve put on yourself and the will to win just aren’t combining. In the final run of the semi-final we saw what Shanaze could do, posting the fastest time and bagging the pick of the start gate, but otherwise she looked like her fierce pride and nerves were just getting in the way. Can you imagine the pressure from all angles to win the first gold in your sport ever awarded?

Tom Fordyce’s piece on the BBC Olympics blog covers it much better than I can do (what with him being there and all that):

Read “Shanaze’s golden gamble ends in blood and bruises” on the BBC Olympics blog

What I love about her is that she said balls to silver and went for gold, no second best would do. That’s a fantastic attitude to have in bike racing. It’s the same mentaity that says “to win you must first be willing to lose”. To take a knock and keep on getting up and progressing is what life, as much as bike racing, is all about.

It’s what made Merckx, Anquetil and Hinault the defining riders of their eras and what drives on Nicole Cooke. It’s why I would have never made it and why most of don’t ever make it further than our local races: the will to win just isn’t strong enough or desperate enough.

Which is why I rolled in out of the points again on the last Tuesday night race at Hillingdon of the year. Still no points 🙁

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