I feel like we hear a lot from the pro peloton on what racing is like, but for amateurs like you and me (I don’t think any pro’s read my blog!) racing might pan out a little differently…
What happens in the amateur peloton? And by amateur I by no means degrade the girls in any way. The girls I race with are strong and certainly know how to play the game.
One of the weirdest things to get your head around in the peloton is the unlikely friendships you’ll make on your way round. Cycling racing as an amateur can be quite tough. You see girls on the tv working together, but when it comes to our races, you’ll probably find yourself on your own.
I often feel that’s probably one of the most intimidating things about cycling racing. The big question of ‘what if I don’t know anyone there?’. Turning up at the racing HQ and not having a clue what your suppose to do or where to go.
Do I warm up?
Where do I sign on?
Those sorts of questions.
You can go through all of the pre-race drama and not speak to a sole, yet after the start line you can find yourself making unlikely friendships with riders you’ve never even spoken to before.
This is exactly where I found myself going up the Nant y Garth in Welsh Champs. Two of us had dropped off the back and the rider I was with was having trouble with her gears. Regardless, we worked until we caught another rider who had also fallen foul to a stacked field pushing hard from the off.
My minimal knowledge of peloton tactics when it comes to working with other riders meant I didn’t feel much use. Being such a small rider meant I wasn’t much of a block in the head wind either. I wanted to be useful…but just wasn’t! Either way, I was incredibly thankful to not be riding on my own from the off.
Despite not knowing the people you find yourself working with, you somehow manage to work together and push each other on. It wasn’t completely flawless (mainly my fault and not being that strong) but we worked together for a while.
Then there’s other races where I’ve bridged across to the lead rider where she ended up taking thewin.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be surprised if you find yourself working with people you’ve never even met. You’re in the race together, so you may as well make the most of it. The craziest thing? You might not even speak to them again, but you helped each other get to the finish line.
Have you got any interesting storied from the peloton?