Peloton Watch
  Hannah Walker Blog: Racing, injury, social media and commentary  
  October 9th 2015 by Hannah Walker  
  When you receive bad news, which I did after the final Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series on the 9th June, sometimes in your time of darkness you wonder if there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

I was involved in a crash and was forced to abandon. I tried to pick myself up off the ground, but when I tried nothing was happening. Luckily Jayne from the sports medical service was on hand to help clean me up! After a check over and x-rays in A&E, with my team mate Becca there to keep me smiling, it was a fractured right wrist and elbow and a collarbone and shoulder separation on my left. Not ideal considering I had Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen in one month's time, subsequently I was unable to start.

I'd never broken a bone in my 23 years of living on planet earth, so recovery wise I wasn't quite sure what was in store. I quickly learnt. Plenty of turbo training that's what! Despite my injuries, I'd already previously agreed to work on The Women's Tour as Social Media Manager. I was lucky that I had some willing last minute carers to look after me, Pete Hodges to carry my bags, Dean Downing as my chauffeur, amongst other people who would cut my food at meal times for least I could tweet by myself eh?! Working on my first Women's World Tour race was fantastic. The hype and buzz around the race from fans and riders was exactly as I'd imagined the pinnacle of a women's cycling race to be like. Immense. Monumental. Exhilarating.

28th July, I'm back on the start line, it's the British National Criterium Championships in Birmingham, despite being on the turbo every day and sweating buckets to maintain fitness it didn't go as planned, I finished the race feeling deflated, wondering is it all worth it? I know I'm not the first person in the world to crash and break a bone and I guarantee I won't be the last, but as an athlete these are the things you feel when you train hard and don't see any rewards, at least it's how I felt, unmotivated.

29th July, I received a late night phone call from my team manager Marcus "Hey Hannah, I have some good news for you, we, Team WNT are applying for a UCI licence in 2017" Well obviously I was delighted, I felt like it was the light I had been waiting for in my imaginary tunnel. Training was starting to go well, I only had one race left of the season, the National Derny Championships with my pacer George at the London Olympic Velodrome, we got a silver medal and it sure lifted my spirits once again. Two days later I would be jetting off on a plane to Milan on an adventure to Lake Garda with my best friend, Jessie Walker. No bikes or bike chat involved, we engrossed ourselves in the Italian lifestyle and culture, and our host didn't speak one word of English, so we had no choice but to break the 'British stereotype of Brits can only speak English' and learn basic words and phrases. We came home with our minds refreshed, our bodies revitalized, and I was eager to go 3 days later to the Tour of Britain, where once again I would be Social Media Manager.

The Tour of Britain proved to be a sunny (most of the time), wonderful (as always) nine days working with some rather cool (especially the PR team) people and talented riders. I'm always learning when I'm working alongside the Sweetspot Group and its a privilege to get the opportunities to use and expand my cycling knowledge whilst also developing new skills working on social media. Naturally, my favourite part was stage 3, where the peloton weaved its way around my training ground, the Cheshire lanes. It was quite surreal to see some of the best professionals in the world race so close to my home, riding on the climbs where I hold Strava QoM's, yes I can be a climber every now and then!!

Whilst I sit in my hotel room typing this, I look forward to a new adventure in my cycling career tomorrow, commentating on Eurosport for the upcoming Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. With mixed emotions of being nervous yet extremely excited, I kick things off with the women's team time trial (TTT) followed by the men's TTT, then onto the women's individual time trial on Tuesday (11th Oct) and lastly the women's road race on Saturday (15th Oct). So for now with winter training for 2017 going well, I think I'm getting closer to that brightly shining light at the end of the tunnel, with lots to look forward to and lots of hard work to be done, fingers crossed I'm heading in the right direction.
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