Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Just get on with it.

This week three albaRosa girls, Emily, Danica and myself, travelled to York for another evening of bike racing. Danica and I did an easy 35min ride as a warm up, during which my legs were not enjoying any kind of incline and I thought ‘I’m not sure it’s really a good idea to be doing a bike race tonight’… Anyway, this thought was quickly overridden with ‘It’s a training race and I wouldn’t miss training just because my legs are tired so just get on with it’.

Arriving in York, the sky looked ominous with a big black cloud threatening to soak us, but luckily the wind was blowing the right way and we avoided any rain. Fourteen girls lined up on the start line, the biggest field yet, and we were set off in two groups. There was a front group of eight including Emily and Danica and a back group of six of which I was part of. We worked OK together to catch the front group but as we passed them, two girls managed to jump groups increasing our group to eight. Most girls continued to take turns at the front but a few just sat at the back. For the remainder of the race I tried to stay near the front of the group so I could cover any breaks, there were a few attacks but no one got away. Coming into the final hairpin I went to the front so I didn’t lose any time on the bend. Then coming into the finishing straight, two girls (Iona and Brit) came past me on the outside. Unfortunately my tired legs couldn’t respond this week so I had to settle for 3rd. Well done to Emily, who has improved so much each week and Danica in her first ever circuit race.

I think my next bike race will be at Dishforth on the 10th August where hopefully Lindsay, Vicky and I can work together can work together to finish near the front for albaRosa! In the mean time, perhaps not quite as catchy as Nike’s slogan, but the message works for me: ‘Just get on with it’.

Friday, 26 July 2013

York Sport Cycle Circuit Race, 2nd attempt

After enjoying my first bike race last week and spending all week thinking about race tactics and possible race scenarios, I decided to have another go this week.

When race day came round, unfortunately the weather in Leeds took a turn for the worse and it was raining on and off all day. I’ve done plenty of chain-gangs in the rain so I wasn’t worried about the conditions, but I was concerned that no one else would turn up. I shouldn’t have doubted my competitors though, as although there were fewer riders than last week, eight women turned up to race including albaRosa team mates Lindsay and Emily.

This week we were set off in two groups, a five and then a three. After winning last week, I was in the second group. The first job was to catch the first five women and working reasonably well as a group of three we managed catch and pass them. The next thing to think about was watching the lap numbers count down from 10 laps to go. One of the girls attacked a couple of times, so I started to be a bit more cautious, watching out in case she tried again. As the pace was slower than last week I felt very comfortable and thought about breaking away myself. In the end though, I decided to wait for the last lap. Going into the final hairpin I went hard, coming out I saw I had a big gap so I kept going to the finish to take my second bike race win. Well done to Lindsay and Emily who both enjoyed the race and felt more confident than last week despite the wet weather. Also well done to all the albaRosa guys, it was great to watch the men’s race- that was so much faster than the women’s and see lots of pink and black albaRosa zipping past.

So, time to get out cycling and think about next week’s tactics!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

First Bike Race, First Bike Win

albaRosa girls: still smiling after our first bike race

Inspired by watching the Tour de France and encouraged by albaRosa team mates especially Club Captain Jamie Tweddell, I decided to have a go at a bike race. 

On Tuesday evening I travelled to York for the women’s only race at York Sport Cycle Circuit. Six other albaRosa girls were also competing for the first time so it was great to chat to each other before the start, try to work out the rules and reassure each other. The race was 40 minutes long on a 1km circuit with a count down from 10 laps to go based on a calculation of our lap speed. We were allowed 15 minutes to warm up on the circuit and practice the corners before the race. First impressions were: ‘that hairpin is quite tight’ and ‘the back straight is quite windy’. Soon enough we were lined up on the start line. As first timers we were given a head start, with two groups of three riders setting off at intervals after us. 

We set off quite steadily, so I made sure I got to the front before the first hairpin so I could get round it safely. Along the back straight Vicky Clark, also racing for albaRosa, came past quite strongly so I got on her wheel and this was where I stayed for most of the race. Vicky is an amazing rider and was so strong. I had to work hard to keep up and so wasn’t really able to help her out much but I did go to the front when I could to give Vicky a bit of a rest. 

Coming into the final third of the race we started to catch the riders who had set off last and were the only riders we hadn’t yet lapped. When we caught them we sat at the back for a lap until they signalled for us to go through. Coming out of the next hairpin they tried to get away but couldn't drop us. On the next lap Vicky went to the front and as we were coming out of the hairpin I noticed we had a bit of a gap so I went to the front to try to establish a break. It worked. When I started to tire, Vicky came through again and powered us round the last few laps extending our lead over the rest of the field. Coming into the finishing straight I was a bit cheeky and decided to sprint for the line, finishing just ahead of Vicky.

Speaking to all the albaRosa girls at the end of the race it seemed that everyone had enjoyed themselves and would be coming back again next week! I don’t think Vicky and I will get a head start again, but hopefully we can still win from the back. Well done to all the albaRosa girls for a successful first bike race and thanks very much to all the albaRosa guys for persuading us to have a go as I don’t think any of us would have been there otherwise!

Report & results here

p.s Thanks very much to James for the photos.