Jason Kenny, double London Olympic gold medallist, has admitted suffering a lack of "morale and motivation" on his return to the track following his success at the Games.
Kenny is among a number of Britain's decorated cyclists who return to action for the first time since their Olympic triumphs in front of a sell-out crowd in Glasgow tomorrow for three days of competition at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.
It is the first step in the next Olympic cycle for Kenny, but the 24-year-old originally from Bolton has found it difficult to lift himself after the glories of London and what followed as a grateful nation feted its Olympians.
"Initially it was difficult," said Kenny of his return to training. "To start with I had no morale, no motivation. I couldn't face it basically – I went to a track session one day and just did two laps and went home. There was a bit of depression there, post-race blues.
"It was like a party for a month, going to lots of random stuff, and then after that it was time to get back to work. I didn't mind it to start with, the casual training, but when it came to going to track sessions and being on time and things like that, it was really difficult.
"Everything just seemed to be going wrong for one month of my life. I just felt generally depressed – I had a month of running around, doing what I wanted, having a laugh. Then I was locked away in my flat, bored."
London was Kenny's second Olympics – he won team sprint gold and finished second behind Chris Hoy in the individual event in Beijing aged 20 – and the effort that went into securing his two wins followed by time off and a prolonged celebration meant the prospect of starting all over again for Rio de Janeiro was a challenge he did not initially relish.
"Our team was focused on winning races [in London]," said Kenny on the support offered post-Games.
"Everyone does their job and then you are on your own. It is the way it should be – it's all right anyway. I'll live! I rely on momentum in my training so once I gathered a bit of time I started to enjoy it a lot more and the team started to come back to track sessions which definitely helped the atmosphere."
British Cycling's meticulousness has become its signature and some riders have consulted the team's psychologist, Steve Peters, on how to approach post-London careers. Ed Clancy, who rides with Kenny and Philip Hindes in the team sprint in Glasgow, sought Peters' advice on changing events.
Clancy won gold in the team pursuit at the last two Games but has switched to freshen his focus. Jess Varnish has also spoken with Peters following her failure to win a medal in London after she and Victoria Pendleton were disqualified when seemingly set for sprint gold. Kenny's girlfriend, Laura Trott, winner of two golds, said that she recognised the feelings Kenny experienced but had no trouble herself getting back in the saddle.
"I can see what he means about it being a boredom thing because we do this day in, day out, so it is quite repetitive," said Trott, a first-time Olympian in London.
"The thing I enjoy most is riding my bike and I missed it. When I took a few weeks off after the Games it was getting back on my bike that I craved most. We were thrown into racing a bit sooner than we thought we would and it would have been nice not to do a World Cup and then go straight to the world championships, but you do want to race in front of a home crowd."
During the nation's fascination with all things Olympic, Trott and Kenny found themselves in the spotlight as a couple after being photographed kissing – they were sitting behind David Beckham while watching beach volleyball at the time, making it something of a tabloid dream shot of the moment.
"I am recognised more than I used to be," admitted Trott, "but I don't mind it at all, especially when younger people come up to me and ask for photographs because that's what Vicky [Pendleton] and Brad [Wiggins] did for me; they were quite happy to sign a few things for me. They helped inspire me to where I am today."
Pedal to the medals: Team GB's Olympic cycling haul
Men's Time Trial
Bradley Wiggins – Gold
Chris Froome – Bronze
Women's Road Race
Lizzie Armitstead – Silver
Total 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Chris Hoy – Gold
Ed Clancy – Bronze
Jason Kenny – Gold
Men's Team Sprint
Philip Hindes, Hoy, Kenny – Gold
Men's Team Pursuit
Steven Burke, Clancy, Peter Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas – Gold
Women's Individual Sprint
Victoria Pendleton – Silver
Pendleton – Gold
Laura Trott – Gold
Women's Team Pursuit
Danielle King, Joanna Rowsell, Trott – Gold
Total 7 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 BronzeReuse content