CREWE’S Olympic BMX star Shanaze Reade is preparing to take to the track for the first time since her failed London 2012 medal attempt.
The 24-year-old heads to the Indoor BMX Championships at Saint-Etienne Loire at the weekend, her first full race since her sixth-place finish at the Olympic finals in July.
But she admitted that she will not be travelling to France at the peak of her fitness.
“This will be my first proper race after the Olympics, so it will be a big ask, but I am looking to get at least top three,” she said.
“The world champion will be there and other big challengers, so we’ll just see where I am.
“I am not approaching this competition 100% ready, as I have come off the back of some heavy training that I wouldn’t normally have ahead of a competition.
“But generally my preparations have been going very well.
“I took a small break after the Olympics but have kept myself ticking over ever since.
“I have got my head down in the last few weeks and things have gone very well so far.”
The disappointment of not winning a medal in London has once again left its mark on Reade, who suffered in a similar fashion after she crashed out of the 2008 Beijing final despite expecting to pick up a medal.
Being the British poster girl for BMX, and the subsequent media attention that has attracted, means that there is a vacuum left behind by an Olympic cycle, and she admits that learning to deal with the emptyness has been one of the steepest learning curves she has had to tackle since her BMX journey began as a teenager.
“The Olympics is a weird one, as after the games it is always an anticlimax,” she said.
“With this games being in London that was even more obvious, as the build-up had been so intense.
“But I learned a lot from my first games and have not allowed myself to fizzle out this year, like I did after Beijing.
“This time I dealt with it more maturely and did not rest on my laurels and that has made all the difference.
“After the disappointing result in London I thought ‘lets wipe the slate clean and start again’.
“There is more to my career than the Olympics games.
“I have World titles to chase and other competitions that I want to win, and that chase starts now”
The Red Bull-sponsored rider heads an eight-strong team travelling to Europe, where she and fellow Olympian Liam Phillips will both be expected to challenge for a medal.