TT women’s pro cyclist Teniel Campbell believes her performance at the 2020 Road World Championships serves as a crucial learning experience.
The 23-year old placed 36th in the Individual Time Trial and 47th in the women’s elite road race which concluded in Imalo, Italy, on September 27.
While Campbell expressed a myriad of feelings regarding this year’s competitive showing, she admitted that nervousness played an integral role in suppressing her talent.
“My performance in the time trial was super disappointing. It actually broke me down a bit. I really believed I was capable of top 10, so did my team and several people leading up to the race. The good feelings were there but everything just did not come together on race day,” said Campbell from her Italian base on Monday.
This was Campbell’s third time representing as TT’s lone contender at ‘Road Worlds’. After her individual time trial display, Campbell posted an emotional response to her Facebook page stating that she “still cannot wrap this result around my head” and was “still in utter disbelief”.
Looking back, the talented road sprinter admitted she may have placed additional pressure on herself prior to her performance. However, after careful assessment and evaluation of her showing, she has now directed more emphasis on elevating her competitive thought process.
“I eventually accepted and understood that I put unnecessary pressure on myself, lack the ability to keep calm and control my nerves. I’ll be making this a priority to learn and overcome for my future!” she added.
With regards to her road race finish, Campbell credited her massage therapist ‘Piro’ for his words of encouragement prior to the event. Following the individual time trial, she noted that ‘Piro’ was able to “make me believe in my capacity before the road race”.
According to his evaluation, Campbell said, “He was also confused by my performance in the time trial as he knew I had good legs. Hence it was not a problem of the legs but the pressure, anxiety and stress in the mind.
“Other than that I think I can also be a little tiny bit satisfied as this has been my highest placing at a UCI world championship.”
After a challenging result in the first event, Campbell’s objective in the road race was to try her best and have fun on the bike. She was intent on enjoying the grueling 143-kilometre distance – five laps of a 28km circuit – and completed the challenge in four hours, 24 minutes and 19 seconds.
She continued, “For the road race the motive was not to think about anything just absorb the atmosphere. It ended up being a super fun day on the bike after a sleepless night post individual time trial.
“There was good up-tempo music on the climbs to help with the rhythm along with good encouragement from onlookers. Suffering is easier when you are happy and ‘enjoying the ride’.”
She admitted there were still several “what if” thoughts on her performances. Campbell deems these questions “normal” and believes she is “developing in the right direction”.
The Tokyo-bound rider also credited her club team Valcar Travel & Service, Elite High Performance Unit, Sport Company of TT, Ministry of Sport and Community Development, TT Cycling Federation for their support and preparation ahead of this year’s competition.
Since her arrival in Italy in December 2019, Campbell has not returned home owing to the covid19 pandemic. At the height of the medical crisis in Italy, in March, she spent several weeks doing physical work indoors while the country was ‘locked down’ to prevent the spread of the novel virus.
She anticipates a return flight home but is ready to sacrifice her comfort for the greater good of her developing pro cycling career.
“I can’t say when I will be returning home but I hope for Christmas. Returning home is only possible once I am assured and there is certainty that I will not encounter problems to return to Europe in January.
“If it is not possible, then this will just be another sacrifice I will have to make in order to continue chasing my visions and goals. The remainder of my season is unknown but I will soon have exciting news for my fans and supporters,” Campbell concluded.