IT would be easy to be seduced by the glamorous trappings that being a double Olympic gold medallist can offer, but British track cycling star Laura Trott insists she is more interested in getting back in the saddle.
The 20-year-old will be in the thick of the action at this weekend's UCI Track World Cup in Glasgow, her first competitive outing since she recorded her victories in both team pursuit and omnium.
After London, Trott's bubbly personality and budding romance with her team-mate Jason Kenny grabbed the headlines as much as her sporting talent. But she insisted, however, that with the exception of some new sponsorship deals and a few party invitations, her life – and formidable focus – hadn't changed one jot since the Games. "It changes as much as I want it to," said Trott. "For me, I liked my life before so I didn't want it to change."
Even so, she admits to having been gobsmacked initially by the "crazy mad" reaction in her home town of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. "When I first went back I couldn't even walk my dog down the street without someone saying 'well done' or 'can I have a photo?' " she said.
Having had 10 days off after the Olympics followed by a break in Dubai, Trott confesses she craved getting back on her bike. "It was the only thing that felt normal," she said. "It was about going and doing what I enjoy most, and that's riding my bike.
"You could be on your own, out there for three or four hours, not thinking about anything other than 'oh, this is a nice day' or 'it's really windy down this road.'"
With her Olympic team pursuit team-mate Joanna Rowsell laid low by a virus, Trott and Dani King will be joined by the world junior time trial champion Elinor Barker for the three-day event at the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Trott will start as "man one" – the lead-off rider – in the three-woman event, assuming Rowsell's usual role. "It's a different job because it's getting the team up to speed," she said. "You can either do what Jo did at the London World Cup and come out really, really fast – or absolutely nail it as she did at the Olympics. It's a bit of a hit and miss. I just have to hope for the best and that I get it right."
Beside her, King chips in: "It's all right. She has me on her wheel to sort it out if she goes too quick."
Although they have only been training together for a week, the trio claimed to be gelling well. "For me and Dani, there is no pressure," said Trott. "There is none for Elinor either, but she puts it on herself.
"For us, it's just about going out there, enjoying it and taking in a home crowd. Now people actually know us, they're coming to see us. Whether we win or lose, the crowd are going to support us either way. It's going to be a really nice feeling."
From next year the women's team pursuit will be raced with four riders, rather than three, as part of changes being implemented by the UCI for the 2016 Olympic Games.
"It will be different to start with," admitted Trott. "Obviously we have only ever known it as three but when we get used to it, it will be really good. We have riders coming through – Elinor has already stepped forward."
Trott, King, Rowsell and Barker are among the line-up announced for DTPC Honda Pro Cycling Team last week. The outfit, led by 2010 Commonwealth Games road race champion, Australian Rochelle Gilmore, will be British registered for 2013.
Already Gilmore, their team manager, has called for a women's Tour de France to be introduced. The proposal is for a truncated two-week version of the men's current three-week Tour, featuring half stages of roughly 120km, but raced on the same day and roads as their male counterparts.
It is a prospect King, in particular, appears to relish. "That would be incredible," she said. "The classics as well . . . I would love to do Paris-Roubaix.
"I'm really excited about the road. Obviously the track will be my No.1 focus, but it will be a good opportunity and I'm excited to see what I can do."