Women’s Road Races Worth Entering

Cycling

I’ve spent about a year having a go at the odd road race. Well just time trial and crit racing really. I have a British Cycling race license so I can just pop onto the British Cycling website and find a race to enter.

Unlike downhill, you get put into a category depending on your racing experience. I’m an inexperienced 4th cat wanting my 3rd category license. I just need to get the 12 points I need first, which as a female racing isn’t as easy as it looks.

The big hunt for women’s races begins as they are few and far between. Eagerly clicking on links for Crit or road races advertised only to find every race category imaginable but a women’s race.

I suppose the men have it just as difficult as they have to place well in their packed fields to get a point, but at least they can actually race I guess? There’s nothing worse than turning up to a race to find you’re the only female to turn up so you get thrown in with the men getting lapped every few trips round the circuit.

So, I thought I’d list a few races where there is actually a women’s category that needs filling up. Scrolling through the many races on British Cycling’s website, it can become quite a task clicking on each one to see if there’s a women’s category. So hopefully this will make things a little easier!

Lancaster University Spring Crit

Run by the Lancaster University Cycling Club at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, these would be great to kick off your race season for the year, or even if you just want to have a go! But make sure you’re quick, as this series is only during March!

Darley Moor / Ashfield Road Club

At Darley Moor Sports Centre in Derbyshire, Ashfield Road Club are running a crit race for categories 2, 3 and 4. Another series, there will be races on:

17th March

24th March

21st April

23rd June

Muckle Cycling Club Road Race, Northumberland

Taking place on the 31st May, Muckle CC are organising a 35 mile women’s road race in Northumberland. For categories 2, 3 and 4 and the 35 mile distance make it a great event to jump from crit racing to road racing. With a men’s race taking place on the same day, you and your partner/male cycling friends can make the trip together.

Aberystwyth Seafront Criteriums / Welsh Crit Champs

Much earlier than I anticipated this year, Welsh Crit Champs are taking place in Aberystwyth this year. Possibly for those more experienced riders, this race is being organised by Ystwyth Cycling Club. I had great fun racing Welsh Crit Champs last year, but it certainly wasn’t easy! Part of the Aberystwyth Cycling Festival, the little seaside town in Wales is going to be full of anticipation as the races take place.

Richard Kell Memorial Series

One for later in the season, these category 2/3/4 races are taking place through October on Abingdon Airfield in Oxfordshire. However, Abingdon Race Team are also organising a road race in April that might interest you.

Thinking of entering any I’ve listed? Then let me know in the comments as well as any women’s races I haven’t listed!

I can’t remember where this photo from a hill climb in Oswestry last year came from, so if youkre the photographer, let me know and I’ll give you credit!

A Trip to British Cycling HQ

The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. It went from getting an email from British Cycling to me checking into a hotel in the centre of Manchester. Hopping on the tram that stopped off at ‘Velopark’ I wasn’t really sure what to expect from my afternoon at the National Cycling Centre.

Not a bad view really!

The place where history has been made. Where our GB athletes train. We’ll never truly know what goes into their training sessions, but it still gives me goosebumps walking around the place.

National Track Champs

British Cycling had invited a group of blog writers to talk to us about their initiatives for 2018 and I was pleased to hear it wasn’t just all about elite success. That obviously came into it, but they have plenty of other initiatives in place too.

I’m going to write up a full post on their initiatives because I think it’s good to know what the big wigs are doing that run our sport, so look out for that one very soon!

National Track Champs

British Cycling also gave Ryan and I tickets to go and watch the National Track Champs in the Velodrome. This I was particularly excited about…even more so after 3 cups of cffee that day.

What can I say…a cyclist loves their coffee….

Watching track champs was pretty bonkers to be honest. Team KGF took the 1, 2, 3 in the 4km individual pursuit. KGF team mates Charlie Tanfield & Dan Bigham went head to head in the Individual Pursuit Final, only for Charlie to overtake Dan meaning the race ended there. Welsh rider Lewis Oliva put the power down to take the top step in the Keirin and defended his title from 2017. Katie Archibald also picked up gold medals in the 3km Individual Pursuit, but Emily Nelson got the top spot in the Pursuit Final.

National Track Champs

Seeing all of the athletes warm up in the centre of the track, and just being in a competitive environment, made me just want t ride my bike! It even encouraged me to finally book onto the West Pennine Hilly Time Trial that has been on my mind for a while. I got around 53 minutes last year, so sub-50 time I’m coming for you (my legs just don’t know it yet…)

National Track Champs

With the lighter evenings slowly reappearimg, I’m looking forward to having a 2018 full of bikes. Once I get some routes finalised for my Breeze rides, I can wait to get the, up and running. The fast approaching Girls at Llandegla I’m organising won’t be one to miss either!

National Track Champs

I’m sure it will be a breeze…

Since becoming part of the steering group with Welsh Cycling to make cycling more popular amongst young people, I thought a good place to start would be to become a Breeze ride leader.

But what does this mean?

Saturday morning came and I dragged Ryan out of bed way too early and we made the trip along the North Wales coast to Bangor University. We could have had worse road trips to make I guess! Look out for Ryan’s post soon on the 100 miles he covered whilst I was on the course. Not forgiving miles either, miles on the roads of Snowdonia.

Working my way around the maze that is Bangor University, I finally found the room full of the other women on the course. I signed in and met our course tutor, Zoe, and got to know the other women.

The group had a wide variety of cyclists, from those who race, those who cycle socially, to those who cycle for fitness. We spoke about what we think makes up a good Breeze Champion, which is someone who is approachable and encouraging. Someone who is positive and will give those maybe trying cycling for the first time, good memories that will keep them cycling in the future.

From organising Girls at Moelfre, I’ve already seen the benefits cycling can have on people’s lives. How memories stick and are fondly looked back upon. I might not be riding mountain bikes all that much at the minute, but I’ve come to realise it doesn’t matter what bike I’m riding. It’s the fact I’m out and appreciating the great outdoors all the while. I’m also planning on doing my Level 2, so I can lead mountain bike rides too though!

We had a bit of theory to cover, such as organising a group of women on the road to keep them safe, but we were soon out on our bikes doing the practical side of the course. This was to show that we could safely manage a group of women on a Breeze ride. With the hilly roads that surrounded us everywhere in Bangor, this was particularly interesting trying to pull out of a junction whilst clipping into my pedals!

IMG_5921

Making our way back into the classroom, we were thankfully not too wet from the rain that fell outside. It was more of a drizzle than a downpour. We covered risk assessments of rides and how to go about planning a ride. We spoke about what made

our cycling routes enjoyable with Zoe highlighting that it’s not just the mileage you need to consider, but how to create a route that is enjoyable.

Despite my nerves before going into the course, it’s something I will always be glad I took the time to do. I’ve been cycling for a while and started this blog to hopefully portray cycling as the amazing sport it is. Now I can be a bit more pro-active in encouraging people into the sport and all the benefits it brings.

If a Breeze ride sounds interesting to you, or you know a lady who might consider it, make sure you keep checking back here for my first Breeze ride. As soon as I get a First Aid Certificate, I’ll get my Breeze rides up and running which will be completely free to come along to.

An Evening With Chris Boardman

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

An Evening with Chris Boardman

It’s not often you get an opinion from someone who is involved with British Cycling that hasn’t been twisted by the press. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to Mountain Biking and British Cycling, but you can’t ignore what they’ve done for Road and Track Cycling.

Organised by Booka Bookshop, which is an Oswestry based bookshop and cafe, the event actually took place at The Marches School. After videos were shown of his legacy in the sport James Bond, from Radio Shropshire, quizzed the previously professional cyclist on topics covered in his Autobiography ‘Triumphs & Turbulence’.

I could write about these topics covered in Chris Boarman‘s book…

How his 1 hour record was the most horrifically painful experience he had ever had on a bike…

Or how Wiggins wanting to up sticks and move to France to continue his cycling career brought Chris Boardman back into cycling…

But I’m not as some interesting points were brought up in the Q&A’s:

  • His views on female cycling
  • Dealing with nerves
  • Recent dramas that have hit British Cycling

During the Q&A’s I put forward the question on what his view was of women and cycling, and his lengthy answer came as a surprise.

His view was that for women’s cycling to do well you needed a handful of things.

  • You needed not only women’s races, but a pool of female riders to fill those races.
  • The races and rider numbers attract sponsors.
  • Then people to run those events.

He also brought up that equal prize money is around the corner, but prize money isn’t what athletes live on. They live on salaries which come from sponsors.

Although it will have predominantly been related to road and track cycling, I think his answers can be applied to mountain biking too. Women just need the opportunities to have a go at these things to boost the amount of women in the sport. Yet the growing number of women on bikes is already visible.

Dealing with nerves was one of the first topics covered at the event and was brought up numerous times again throughout the evening.

At the start of his career he dealt with all of the nerves and the ‘what if’s’ going through his head before big races. His nerves got to a point prior to the ’92 Barcelona Olympics of (excuse the language) ‘F*ck it. I’ll be the best I can be.’ He said at that point he wasn’t trying to win a medal, he was ‘doing’ something. That something being the best he can be. All of the ‘what if’s’are not in your control, but you are in control of yourself. Waiting is always the hardest bit with racing, because once you’re actually in the race you can get on with it.

With British Cycling having been in the press so much recently, it was inevitable that it was going to come up. His response to this question from the audience was what was put in the press had details left out. It was all very one sided. The way I look at it is the life of an athlete is a tense and highly strung one. And whatever comes out in the newspapers? Will you ever know how close or far it all is from the truth? These events may have happened, but only the people who were actually there will know what happened for sure. And what else happened alongside it.

British Cycling over previous successful years has had many people behind it. Who’s outside of the box thinking brought about the success which materialised into gold medals. As Chris Boardman said, yes the reputation was damaged but is now seen as a clean sport. The sport of cycling has struggled but is now better for it.