Cake Power vs Steam Power

Cycling in the winter requires a huge amount of motivation! With winter upon us, finding that motivation is hard! After hanging up the best bike until next year, putting all of the summer kit away and pulling out the winter kit you get really sad that you can’t top up your epic tan lines (or show them off) for a few months. 

When it’s cold, rainy and windy all you want to do is curl up by the fire, but you have a little voice in the back of your mind reminding you that if you don’t keep riding all your hard work through the summer will go to waste. There’s the turbo option, but realistically where’s the fun in that? Besides, how many times have we promised ourselves we’d do a session on the turbo then never do!

Cycling in the winter doesn’t have to be a chore, find a buddy and just ride! You’ll soon forget how cold you are.

A few weeks ago even the thought of going for a ride in the winter months was laughable! “Do I want to go out and get really cold or do I want to sit in bed watching YouTube?” For me, riding the same roads as I would do in the summer in the winter is dull! However, since getting to know Lucy all I’ve wanted to do is ride my bike! 

This was the third time I’ve been on a ride with Lucy and it might just have been my favourite one. With two GCSE Maths exams last week for me and another busy week for Lucy, a ride was much needed to clear our heads for the following week. 

We left Alf’s at 10 then chatted about anything and everything(with the mudguards making as much noise as us!) on beautiful country lanes with the misty views even more beautiful, until we reached Old Ma’s Coffee Shop.

Even though it’s mid November, it’s unusually warm, so we made the most of it and sat outside. We both had a lovely warm drink and a big piece of cake to fuel us for the way home.

A while later, we left Old Ma’s and realised we had both come down with a bad case of ‘Post Café Legs’.

After shaking the café legs off it was more relaxed pedalling along the country lanes in the winter sun until we got back to Alf’s with just over 30 miles under our belts… I mean bibs.

Lucy is going to be putting on Breeze Rides for girls aged 16-20. Come along and meet new people to ride with. You’ll have a great time!

Read about it here Breeze rides I’ve been on here:

Breeze Poppy Ride

Breeze Ride to Hill Climb in 7 Days

 

Breeze Poppy Ride

Breeze Poppy Ride bpMeeting up with Lucy for the start of the ride at Alf Jones Cycles, we were pretty swift to get out on the roads. With a ride planned just short of 20 miles, it was a relaxed ride on country lanes and a lot flatter than the rides Lucy was use to doing. Setting off at half 11, it gave us chance to take part in the 2 minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday.

For mid-November it was surprisingly warm, so I didn’t need to pull out my thick Winter Mavic gloves like I did on our last ride over towards Llangollen.

Having not seen Lucy since the Horseshoe Hill Climb a few weeks ago, it was good to catch up and hear if she’s managed to get back on the bike since and how she felt after her first Hill Climb. With an exam looming on Monday, the ride out was a well-deserved break from all of her Maths revision.

After a quick coffee at Cleopatra’s Coffee Shop, the country lanes soon brought us back to Alf Jones Cycles. A relaxed ride in the Winter sun is the perfect way to clear your head for the following week.

I’m going to be making these rides, which are aimed at 16-20 year olds, a regular thing, so if you want to hear about future rides just drop me a message. Otherwise, you can follow me on social media to keep up with what rides are coming up next.

Saving Trek Drops

Trek Drops

Professional cycling is becoming more expensive. From the more exotic race locations to the premium high tech kit and equipment. Let alone actually paying your staff and riders a living wage.

And with many notable men’s and women’s teams folding, a lot has been written about a professional teams main source of income, sponsorship. Ryan writes about the latest team to join those struggling to get to the 2019 season.

So imagine the feeling when just 3 days before you reveal your new title sponsor for 2019, they pull out!

That’s what has just happened to Trek Drops. The team announced today that their set to be new sponsor has pulled out, leaving the team fighting for survival with a £250,000 black hole.

Trek Drops, despite only coming into existence in 2016, have risen to the very top of women’s professional cycling and have grown a fan base way above that of many established teams. They have great presence on social media and promote their current sponsors tirelessly.

So when everything seems to be going right, how can it go so wrong so very quickly?

The reasons behind the sponsorship collapse have not been publicised, nor the sponsors themselves.

And it could all be for very legitimate reasons, but for someone to pull out that late in the day, something big must have happened.

There is now 12 riders and countless support staff who are unsure if they will have a job next year. This isn’t just about professional sport, this is about people’s livelihoods.

So what have Trek Drops done to try and find a way out of this awful situation?

They’ve turned to crowd funding.

This isn’t your typical funding campaign, they aren’t just asking for donations. Every donation gets something in return as a thank you.

From a £50 donation earning you a signed poster, to a £2,500 donation earning you an invitation to the teams pre-season training camp in Spain. There really is some super cool, once in a lifetime experiences on offer as a thank you for trying to save the team.

Why not follow the link to see if you can support this great team women’s cycling so desperately needs to develop the next generation of top women’s cyclists.

Click Here

Is Cycling as a sport the problem, or the people in it?

Is cycling as a sport the problem or the people in it

When rally fever hit Wales, I couldn’t have been happier as the low rumbles of rally car engines returned to our forests. In the lead up to the rally I attended the Rally Forum, which is organised by Broughton-Bretton Motor Club. Big names from the rallying world attended to get interviewed on their season and their thoughts before the big rally took place. The reason I’ve mentioned the rally is because some of the things talked about in the Rally Forum got me thinking about cycling too.

A question that came to mind was;

Is cycling as a sport the problem, or the people in it?

There’s been lots of upheaval in the cycling industry recently, particularly on the road cycling side of things. There’s been teams folding left, right and centre leaving a lot of riders looking for team spots for the 2019 season. JLT Condor and One Pro Cycling just to name a few.

Something mentioned at the Rally Forum was how it is possible to reach the top of rallying as a sport if you’re willing to put the effort in. Someone quoted “if you speak to some of the top football players, they weren’t necessarily the top players on their team when they were young”. It just takes a lot of work to get there. It got me thinking that this is the same across any sport, including cycling.

There’s news articles daily about how cycling is underfunded, that it isn’t fair women get less than men…you get the idea. Big names are always saying “we need to get cycling as a mainstream sport”. And it brings me back to my question of is cycling the problem, or the people in it?

Growing up through the grass roots of racing I’ve seen riders with potential fall out of love with the sport and move on to other things. Others question why they’re not getting sponsorship despite a strong string of results throughout the season. But my view on the situation is that results simply aren’t enough anymore.

Being around many different sports growing up, I don’t have the cycling blinkers on. Keeping on similar themes for example, look at rallying as a sport. The top drivers will be expected to push their sponsors and their team by doing things like ‘Meet and Greets’ with fans and wearing team jackets covered with team sponsors when their not in the car. The teams that have the best relationships with their fans are those with the biggest fan base. The teams that will like ‘tweets’ when fans tag them in pictures. The teams with drivers who will take the time to talk to their fans. A team can have the best results, but if their drivers refuse to speak to anyone, the dream might not last very long. From a business point of view, the fans are who buy the tickets and team merchandise, so they’re what’s bring the money in.

We’ve all been there. There’s a rider we idolise and after a good experience talking to them, we all of a sudden want the products they’re using. Take Coryn Rivera for example, a cyclist who is regularly on social media in team-branded kit finding the positive in every situation. She’s one of the smallest riders in the peloton but was strong enough to take the win at the Tour of Britain, but was extremely humble about it when she did. All of a sudden I loved riding my Liv road bike that little bit more.

Then you look at the likes of Trek Drops Cycling who did something totally out of the blue setting up a British women’s development team, but had one of their top sponsors as Every Can Counts, who they still have to this day. The difference with Trek Drops and their relationship with Every Can Counts is that I know what Every Can Counts is because their riders promote the company and their products. It’s a very topical company since they encourage recycling and even encourage me to turn to cans as aluminium is continually recyclable, unlike plastics.

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All smiles. #ColourTheRoad

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So many cycling teams have sponsors that I either don’t know about, or are just a name to me, rather than knowing what the sponsor actually does without having to search on the internet. If we want to attract companies to invest in the sport, like they do with football, we need to make sure we’re doing all we can to promote them to make it worth their while.

I only recently found out JLT are an insurance company. How can we expect cycling to grow as a sport if we don’t see sponsorship as a two way thing? We can’t expect companies to sponsor teams or athletes if they’re going to get not a lot in return. I think the cycling industry isn’t very creative either in terms of where it gets sponsorship from. Trek Drops is the only team I can think of who did something a little different. They didn’t just go to companies in the cycling industry. Cycling could grow so much if it ventured into other industries and turned the heads of people in those industries.

That’s obviously at the top level of cycling, but if we come back down to grassroots cycling, maybe young athletes can also change their approach to getting to the top of the sport.

When I interviewed World Rally Championship Driver, Hayden Paddon, a few years ago, he didn’t get an easy route to where he is today. He had a close bond with his Dad, but his Dad told him that if he wanted to rally he would have to fund it himself. When working three jobs as a teenager wasn’t enough, he started approaching local businesses for sponsorship. But he didn’t just provide results, he did demonstrations and car washes. He looked after his sponsors…he didn’t just ‘have’ sponsors.

I question what sponsorship even means anymore. People seem to drop the word into advertising to catch people’s attention, but when you delve deeper all it means is a discounted code to use on products. To me this isn’t sponsorship. It’s a marketing tool to get people to buy and promote products even though they’ve had to pay for them. I’ve seen people get drawn into ‘sponsorship’ where they’ve ended up buying products they’ve never even thought of using before. Just to say they’re ‘sponsored’.

Call me bitter, but I don’t see the point in buying kit just because you’ve got a discount code. What’s the difference between the ‘sponsorship’ code and the codes they might send out monthly in emails. To me this is supporting riders, rather than sponsoring them.

Back when I raced downhill, I was lucky enough to get sponsorship with Fridersinc. From the sponsorship I had team kit I had to wear (and loved to wear) and a custom painted helmet. Nic from Fridersinc even helped with some of my race entries. To me, that was sponsorship and I loved promoting them as a company.

Now you tend to see people drawn into ‘sponsorship’ deals just so they can look more professional by having a sponsor next to their name on the start sheet. Essentially these codes are a way of companies getting cheap advertising by people plastering their product all over social media. When I come to buying new cycling kit these days, I’m much more inclined to buy a product an established name uses. Not because someone’s got a discount code on social media. By established name, think Danny Mcaskill and Endura.

I think thats what puts me off, is you get people drawn in with a discount code with a brand they secretly don’t like the quality of, but they’ll go along with it anyway because they’re ‘sponsored’.

With the likes of Danny Mcaskill, I was more inclined to buy Endura for my brother last Christmas because he was someone who was at the top of their game and needed kit they can trust.

So back to promising athletes making their way through grassroots racing. I don’t think you necessarily need team sponsorship to get to the top of the sport. Granted, having riders you can rely on in a road race is invaluable, but just because you’re not on a team doesn’t mean your restricted to where you can take yourself in the sport.

Try and be a little bit creative.

If you look how big the blogging/social media industry is these days, maybe we can learn a thing or to from it. Brands suddenly want to work with bloggers, who are essentially a personal brand, so you need to build a personal brand of your own. Not only this, look at how you can fund your sport a little bit differently. You might need a little bit of help on the training side of things, so your first thoughts might be ‘I need to get sponsored by a coaching company’. Why not approach this a little bit differently and ask local businesses for sponsorship to fund paying for a cycling coach? You have their company logo on your kit and make sure you promote them as much as you can like Hayden Paddon did. As you grow your sponsorship bit by bit, all of a sudden you could have a handful of companies that help you pay for race entries, or even travelling to races. All of which can be the building blocks to help you get to the top of the sport. We only need to look to grassroots football teams and the logos on their kit to get some inspiration.

Breeze Ride to Hill Climb in 7 Days

 

DSC_1246.jpg

Photo: Robert Riley

Hill climbs. One of the most feared events in cycling? Riding full gas up a hill for fun. A few minutes of pain for an hour of feeling sick. “You’d never catch me doing that” I always said, yet here I am getting ready for my first ever hill climb… the Horseshoe Pass hill climb.

Lucy and I were talking when she hit me with “fancy the Horseshoe Pass hill climb in a couple of weeks?” Absolutely not I thought!

1, I’ve only been on my bike a couple of times in the last month.

2, No way am I fast enough.

3, The Horseshoe Pass? No way!

Nevertheless here I am entering just a few hours before entries close.

Monday 1st October

The realisation hit me like a bus that I’ve only been on my bike 4 times since August and I’ve only got 6 days left until race day! So I did a 15 minute HIIT session on the turbo… like that was going to help!

Sunday 7th October

It’s the big day. It’s hill climb day. And it’s 4⁰C!

Warm up HPHH

Upon arriving at sign on, the sound of turbo trainers echoed like a swarm of bees. My nerves quickly erupted, my stomach was full of butterflies and I didn’t want to do it. Why? Because of the fear of coming last and looking like a fool. Thanks to Lucy who reassured me that it’s all about getting to the top and not how quickly you get there I collected my number, did my warm up then rode down to the start. With every tick of the seconds hand my start time was drawing nearer. My nerves were creeping up on me again.

Then it was time…

30…15…10…5…4…3…2…1…GO!!!!

“UP, UP, UP!”

A few minutes in and my lungs were already burning, my legs were heavy and I wanted to stop. The road felt steeper than it had ever done before. I was passed by a couple of people who flew up the hill, making it look easy. Spectators on the side of the road were clapping and roaring shouts of encouragement to every rider who passed. Over ¾ of the way up I felt like I was drowning. Trying to take in oxygen but it was never enough and the cold air made it hard to breathe.

HPHH 44 Sprint

Nearly there and there’s people everywhere! I could see their mouths moving but all I could hear was my heart pounding. Looking down at my Garmin I saw my heart rate was at 204bpm!

100m to go. So close.

75m. Don’t stop now.

50m. Keep going.

25m. Final push.

Done!

It took me a while to catch my breath and my words were few and far between. The wave of relief which was more like a tsunami washed right over me. I did it. Despite the unpleasantness of the ride to the top, I loved it and wanted to do it again. We stayed at the finish for a while cheering the other riders on.

Overall, I came 113th out of 144, won the prize for the fastest mixed team (vet, lady and junior) with Oswestry Paragons and was treated to the biggest (and nicest) piece of cake known to man at the Ponderosa Cafe afterwards! On the whole I had a great day and can’t wait until next year.

Lucy and Lucy 2

The thing I loved most about it was that it didn’t matter how fast/slow/young/old you were, everyone was given the same amount of encouragement. Everybody was so kind and helpful, reminiscing on their first hill climb and wanting you to do your best. It didn’t matter what time you did it in or what kind of equipment you had, it was all about getting to the top. Everyone suffered equally and were all praised for how hard they tried. I learnt that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, the fact that you just put the effort in to do it is something to be proud of. And at the end of the day, no matter how slow you go, you’re still overlapping everyone on the sofa!

Were you in the hill climb and haven’t found any photos yet? Click here

The Old Shoe

The Old Shoe

If you know the area around Llandegla and Llangollen well, you’ll know the Horseshoe Pass is the Sa Calobra of the region. With the Ponderosa Cafe at the top, it’s a good climb to conquer with a guaranteed cafe stop at the top!

But then there’s the Old Shoe…

The road that used to take people out of Llangollen, but is lesser known thanks to the Horseshoe Pass being built.

You climb up a road as if you’re going to the Horseshoe Pass, but turn off down a country lane. A country lane that went down way more than I would have liked, only because I knew that would only add to the pending ascent ahead of me.

Through a little village I didn’t even know existed, I passed a few roads I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to turn down.

LucyBulkeley 81

Then a straight road going undeniable up appeared in front of me. Locals looking at me in disbelief questioning if I knew what I was letting myself in for.

Certain words came to mind when I realised people had definitely not been over-exaggerating how tough the Old Shoe was.

How I was going to get to the top was still unknown to me.

I was over dressed and my legs instantly felt the burn. Cars were even pulling over behind me rather than make me get off so they could pass! One managed to squeeze past by the un-welcomed cattle grid half way up and beep his horn as if to keep me going…ha!

Thinking back to it now I still don’t know how I reached the top. My body and mind were completely done. It felt like my chest was going to explode, yet somehow I couldn’t bring myself to unclip my pedals and stop. Thanks to my Winter gloves it was a battle to keep my hands on the bars and three layers on top meant I desperately wanted to de-layer.

I was waiting for the section where I’d done my photo-shoot with Cycling Weekly, at least then I knew I’d be somewhere near the top at least.

By this point, it definitely felt like I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs.

LucyBulkeley 54

Thankfully I managed to keep my pedals turning just enough to stop me having to get off! I sat on the wall outside the Ponderosa wondering what the hell I had just done. I certainly didn’t look like I did in these photos…more red faced and just generally knackered!

That being said, I’d already been up the Horseshoe Pass that morning after taking another rider, also called Lucy, who happens to have a same bike as me too, on a Breeze ride. I’d delved into Ryan’s route knowledge and took Lucy on a loop from Llangollen that followed country lanes to Corwen and back. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the loop with you all soon!

 

Cyclocross with Helen Wyman

Helen Wyman

Whether you’re taking part or not, Cyclocross season is underway. Races are popping up around the country, so the UK suffers good old stormy weather to celebrate.

Taking the National Cyclocross Champion title last season, I have a quick chat with Helen Wyman on the cycling discipline she loves so much. With 10 National Cyclocross Champion titles to her name, she’s the perfect person to inspire you to give Cyclocross a go this year.

With bases in the South of France and Belgium, she’s right in the middle of all of the Cyclocross action.

Having ridden a bike since way before Helen can remember, she fell in love with the sport on family trips and holidays away, which involved riding bikes. By the time Helen reached the age of 14, she followed her brother’s footsteps into the racing world of cycling. “I wanted to do everything he did, so I raced too”. 

Trying her hand at everything from mountain biking to grass track racing, Helen always found herself coming back to Cyclocross. She also found herself Road Racing, which included three World Championships in a row. Some of which saw Helen help fellow British rider, Nicole Cooke, to Silver and Bronze medals.

“Road Racing can be comparable to ‘Cross’ at world level, however Cyclcross has all my heart nowadays, so I only do the odd road race for racing practice.” 

Cyclocross may not be a well known cycling discipline to many, so what better person was there to ask than Helen to explain what it was all about…

“It’s off-road on a road bike with bobbly tyres. You race for roughly fifty minutes on a short circuit where you complete a lot of laps.” 

To make it unique from other cycling disciplines, the course includes various obstacles meaning racers have to jump off and carry their bikes.

“You ride over every kind of off-road terrain and is the most fun you can have on a bike in my opinion!” 

With the rapid rise in the amount of people who now ride full-suspension mountain bikes, Helen had a quick response to why you wouldn’t just take a mountain bike out instead…

“Well then it would be called mountain biking! If you watch a World Cup Mountain Bike race and a World Cup Cyclocross race, you can easily see how very different they are as sports.” 

Of course, you don’t have to just take your Cyclocross bike to races either, Helen talks about how useful they can be on the trails too…

“As for just riding, you can do scarier stuff on a mountain bike, but riding a cross bike on normal off-road terrain is way faster and easier.” 

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August insight – Day 30 – People often ask me about running for cross. There are plenty of ideas from all kinds of different sources and I’m fairly sure everyone has an opinion on it. If you like running, why not do a little bit but if you want to be a World Cup level cross racer you do not need to be doing 20km runs. I’ve played with lots of different things over the years but I’ve found that 15mins at a time is more than sufficient for me. But use it properly. Take those 15 minutes and run like Forrest Gump running and include sprints up banks and stairs. 20 seconds max sprints are sufficient but everything in total no more than 15mins. (I mean you @coogancisek 😉😉😂) That’s entirely my opinion but I do believe if you like running fine, but if you want to get the most for your effort you really need to think about what that is. So here’s to weekly run club, can’t wait for the dog to know enough Road etiquette to come with us!#kindrider #francelife #crossiscoming #crossminded #bornfromriders Pro tip: Getting a running buddy it’s way better for motivation 😉😂

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One of the reasons Helen loves Cyclocross so much is because it’s “a very safe and family friendly environment”. Over the years she’s noticed Cyclocross to be less judgemental than road races, but cross races being somewhere “everyone is welcomed”.

In many other disciplines it can be fairly apparent what position you’re in to the spectators, but Helen says the best thing about amateur Cyclocross racing is “that nobody knows if you are lapped or not! You just keep riding until till someone tells you not too!”

If you want to see how Helen’s Cyclocross season pans out, make sure you give her a follow over on Instagram! She’s often sharing tips on how to improve at the sport too!

Need more inspiration on what to do on your bike this Autumn? Check out this blog post, What to do on your Bike this Autumn, for more ideas! Why not get inspiration from the Women’s Tour winner, Coryn Rivera, after I interviewed her a few weeks ago ahead of #GirlsAtMarshTracks ?

What to do on your Bike this Autumn

What to do on your Bike this Autumn

The leaves are starting to fall, but we’ve had one crazy Summer in the UK. With a summer of holidays and racing, you can get to the Autumn and be at a loose end on what to do on your bike. What do you train for now all the big events in the diary are done?

We’re a tough bunch in the UK, so racing or riding doesn’t necessarily stop when the seasons start to get colder.

  1. Hill Climb

One of the oldest traditions in the British Cycling calendar, you’ll find hill climbs taking place up road climbs all around the country.

2017 Female National Hill Climb Champion, Joscelin Lowden, shares why she loves the discipline so much:

“I think it’s the atmosphere that makes them fun. All the old timers out with their bells on the side of the road shouts and the way you get a random bloke in a mankini running up the hill. The crowds can make the event and it’s usually a really fun day out. A few minutes of pain for a good return on entertainment!”
– Joscelin Lowden

If you’re nervous about giving hill climbs a go…look at it simply. All you’ve got to do is get to the top of a hill as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about everyone else, just race yourself. Despite hill climbs looking fairly short, I’d recommend a warm up so you can give it your best shot!

Why not come to the Wrexham Road Club’s hill climb up the Horseshoe Pass on the 7th October? There’s the great Ponderosa cafe at the top, so why not come and join me race to the top for cake?!?

  1. Cyclocross

#crossiscoming is definitely starting to pop up on my Instagram feed more, but what does it even mean? If you see someone on a bike with drop bars but knobbly tyres, you’ll probably be looking at a cyclocross bike. That’s according to 10 x National Cyclocross Champion, Helen Wyman anyway…

“It’s off road on a road bike with bobbly tyres. You race for roughly 50 minutes on a short circuit where you do lots of laps. There are plenty of obstacles and you regularly have to jump off and carry your bike. It’s over every kind of off-road terrain and is the most fun you can have on a bike in my opinion!”
– Helen Wyman

  1. Club Ride

You might have been going out on club rides throughout the summer, but now you haven’t got to try and organise them around people’s holidays, why not organise/tag along to a club ride this Autumn? You’ll ride roads you’ve never ridden before and find little gems in terms of cafe’s!

Have you tried a hill climb, cyclocross or club ride? What do you do on your bike over Autumn? Is it to early to ditch the shorts and opt for cycling leggings? Let me know in the comments below!

Cyced: Strava Miles to Cycling Art

In a world where remembering a holiday or long ride is posting a quick snap on Instagram, it can be hard to find something original to remind you of good times. When Ryan competed in the CiCLE Classic to celebrate 100 years of the RAF, I turned to Cyced so he could remember the 100+ mile race.

Set up by Angus King, I asked him a few question to see how Cyced came about.

What is Cyced?

Cyced turns your cycling data into bespoke artwork. We believe your greatest achievements deserve to be framed and not just tucked away within an app. They hold stories and memories that you’ll never forget!

How did it all begin?

I fell in love with cycling after cycling a rusty mountain bike in the southern Spanish valleys. I jumped straight into my university cycling club 3 years ago, and started blogging about it under the name Cyced. Soon after, I realised that cycling information was fragmented and created cycling hubs that bought together key information for new cyclists and those new to an area; including the best local cycling clubs, cycling routes and cycling shops! That was a huge success amassing thousands of visitors per month to the website. We really cherish every second we have on the bike and wanted to bring our cycles into the home; to share stories and show friends and guests – that’s where the cycling artwork came in.

Have you always been creative?

I have a background in marketing and a passion for entrepreneurship – always tinkering away at creating websites, videos, blogs and the sort. I then got the opportunity to work at British Cycling, and currently have the pleasure of working in the industry with some amazing people, and bringing people’s greatest cycling achievements to life via Cyced. I’m very fortunate for that.

What’s next for Cyced?

We’re in the process of growing our hubs to span Manchester and Plymouth – these will be released this month! We are also looking at extending our cycling artwork catalogue to allow more customisation and varying colour palettes. We’re very catering to specific requests and have worked with our customers to get them the artwork of their dreams!

Why not contact Cyced and see if they can help you frame your favourite rides? What a conversation starter when friends come round for coffee!

Race Report: #GirlsAtMarshTracks

With a rapid turnaround #GirlsAtMarshTracks took over the closed cycling circuit in Rhyl. Quiet for entries online Lwsi and Lauren took to the track in the Under 16 categories and were pushing hard on the pedals right to the chequered flag.

Then it was time for the busiest race of the day for the U12, U10 and U8. 13 girls took to the track and for many it was their first time. They raced round the shorter version of Marsh Tracks and were getting cheered on by their parents at the side of the track. Girls from Hafren CC and North Cheshire Clarion has a strong presence at the race and definitely represented their clubs well. Many keen to learn more about road racing and tactics used by the pro’s!

North Cheshire Clarion took the top spots in the U10 and 12, but were beaten to the podium in the under 8 category by Hafren CC rider Isobel.

All of the girls did remarkably well and all got round to the chequered flag. I couldn’t be more impressed by them all. They all kept pushing on right to the finish line.

Come half 12 it was time for the senior races to hit the track, with the first being the E123 race. A field of four, it ended up being a photo finish to see if Emily or Jo got the coveted first place. Emily pipped Jo to first by a lunge for the line.

The other two riders in the E123 race actually had MTB XC backgrounds, which is how they gained their 3rd cat licences. Polar opposite to what their use to in the forests, they both rode really strong races.

When the 4th Cat race lined up on the track, we had a mix of riders wanting to gain points for their 3rd Cat licence and complete beginners. Catrin rode a strong race, even for her first Crit race, but just got beaten to first place by Leonie. Again, that had to be decided on photos taken at the finish line!

The biggest part of #GirlsAtMarshTracks for me was seeing girls race for the first time and giving it a go. I think it can be so daunting turning up to a race sometimes, that people listen to the voices in their heads that say they’re not good enough. You won’t be great from the offset. I’ve found this year that racing is just one big learning curve. But I’m hoping events like #GirlsAtMarshTracks break the barrier even if women (and girls!) want to try racing even just the once. They can say they raced and stepped out of their comfort zone.

The most prominent memory will be the smiles on the faces of those in the youth races. That’s what I wanted to do the event for also. To give the opportunity for the youth girls to have the track to themselves. Normally thrown in the mix with the boys, they often end up near the back, but for this race the Under 12’s (and Lottie from the U10 believe it or not!) were at the front. Seeing young girls so passionate about the sport and racing was great to see, especially the friendships they’d formed in their clubs. You can’t go wrong with having friends you can share a sport with.

The first race I’ve ever organised, it was a big learning curve for me too. Even one of the Hafren CC Dad’s was showing me how to do a gear check for the youth riders! I’ve learnt a lot and hopefully I can take it to the next race I organise, which I’m hoping to be next Spring.

I hope all of the riders have a good Winter, whatever training they get up to. If you’d like to hear direct about the future races, then drop me an email and I’ll email any information about dates etc as it becomes available. I really hope I can grow the events next year, especially with how many new racers came to the track.

Maybe a British Cycling race licence will be on your Christmas lists this year!

If you have any questions about the event, or about getting into racing in general. Feel free to drop me a message.

A massive thank you to everyone who helped on the day, especially to Jasmine for coming to be the Commissaire for the race. She definitely had a busy day working out positions for the U8, U10 and U12 race!