Getting Back on the Bike

Getting back on the Bike

It was pretty much a straight swap after the Marathon when it came to my running shoes and cycling shoes. Both pink…of course! I had a week off hobbling round trying to function to some sort of extent. I probably only needed a basket, but had to use a trolley to get me round the supermarket! Running 26.2 miles definitely has a lasting effect on you…!

I was almost scared to get back on my bike to tell you the truth. How much bike fitness had I lost? Would I remember my old favourite routes? Finding all of my cycling kit was the first hurdle!

Ryan pushed me out the door so I couldn’t procrastinate anymore and I followed a route I’d followed many a time the year before. It was a route I could roll round, or a route I could ride hard round. The Cheshire lanes are good for routes like that. You just have to make sure the tail winds don’t lure you into riding too hard before you have to turn around and ride back into the head wind!

It was definitely an odd feeling being back on my bike. Odd being on my Liv too. It felt like I’d missed the off season. I think I rode my winter bike once. Thinking about it, I should probably check it hasn’t seized up, but that’s just something to add to my to-do list.

No sooner has I got back on my bike, I was back on a start line racing the chequered flag at Darley Moor Motor Circuit. A circuit I quite enjoyed racing at. The track isn’t anything special, but it’s the group of girls you end up racing with. There’s enough for it to feel like a race! It was also a 3/4 race, so I was hopefully not too out of my depth. My head was mush by the time I’d got there. Was my number on right? Would I get dropped? What tactics would everyone else be running?

Getting back on the Bike

Luckily Ryan stopped me from completely losing my head.

When the gun went the girls shot off like rockets, so my legs were pedalling frantically to not get left for dust. (Must remember to not start in my easiest gear…that only really works at road junctions on normal rides!)

Getting back on the Bike

When I managed to settle my chimp I just focussed on relying on the good ‘engine’ I had from running the marathon. I might not have been on my bike all winter, but I was determined not to let that winter training to go to waste. There were a few games played on the way round, but I just decided to sit at the back. I might have a good engine, but I had no idea what my sprint was like. I just needed to not get dropped. And that’s what I kept telling myself.

I kept spinning and spinning. I did feel anxious not getting involved in doing a turn on the front, but it was my first race of the year. I’m sure that’s allowed to get myself use to things…

Getting back on the Bike

Unfortunately being at the back for the sprint finish (which is a common occurrence at Darley Moor) meant me having the longest sprint out of everyone just to keep up with the girls. In all the chaos that unfolded in that final race, I somehow grabbed 8th. This hopefully means some points on my BC license, but the results haven’t been put online yet so fingers crossed!

Getting back on the Bike

Granted I’d not been heavily involved in the race, but I was happy coming away having been able to battle it out at the finish. That’s what I always hope for in races, that I can get involved in the action! Even if I mess up, sprints or other events in the race give me such a buzz!

Less can be said when I crossed the line of the longest Time Trial I’ve ever done on the weekend just passed. A 30 Mile TT not far from Market Drayton. Sometimes I like the idea of TT. In the end, all it is is pushing as hard as you can for the duration of the course. And that’s exactly what I did…for 30 miles! I was chucking out a stupid amounts of watts and I was only 5 miles in. I was going harder than my FTP, but instead of toning it back I my chimp decided well you’re in it for the long haul now. This would have been fine if there wasn’t new tarmac that felt like I was cycling through treacle and going nowhere!

Getting back on the Bike

Needless to say I didn’t exactly feel myself at the end! That TT did mean I got a stern look from my coach when I’d managed to increase my FTP by 18 watts…maybe I didn’t try as hard in my FTP test the other week as I initially thought…

(Thanks to Ryan for taking all these amazing photos!)

Welsh Crit Champs 2017

What does it look like from distance? 

A group of people riding round a circuit in a set time plus 5 laps. The first person to cross the line after those 5 laps wins….

Ok, so I’m not selling that one very well. Hopefully I can do better if you read on.

Welsh Crit Champs wasn’t my first ever Crit race, but I’m certainly not an expert at it. I’d done a few ‘races’ where I actually just ended up being in the men’s race and consequently riding round on my own. There was one women’s race, but the circuit felt way too small for the amount of riders on it, but Welsh Crit Champs was most certainly different to all of those.

It was a circuit around the showground in Builth Wells (so a great size for racing!) and they had a women’s race with 11 competitors. I actually had someone to race against…winner.

Granted, those competitors were much stronger than an amateur like me, but still…the best I could do was try right?

If it’s not already obvious, Welsh Crit Champs was another spur of the moment entry. It sounded good at the time and I threw an entry in before they closed. 

Turning up, Welsh Cycling branding was everywhere (as would probably be expected) and lots of ‘team’ kits. I felt a bit out of place without team kit, but I am rather fond of my ASSOS shorts and Threo jersey combo right now…

Fashion choices aside…I needed to decide whether I’d actually sign on. It really felt like I was coming down with some sort of bug. A bug that actually turned out to be nerves.

I cast aside feeling unwell and decided to just get on with it. I had dragged Ryan all this way afterall…

With a few laps round the track to warm up, I soon found myself trying to keep up with the girls in my race. I quickly decided I was out of my depth. 


But…then I did actually manage to keep up with a small group of girls. We were sort of working as a team to get round, but with my lack of road knowledge, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. Basically, everyone is suppose to take a turn on the front to ride into the wind, whilst the others sit on your tail. Taking turns is suppose to be quicker and less exhausting than riding alone.

40 minutes of trying to figure out what everyone else’s tactics were, my head had turned to mush. Yet, I still had the 5 extra laps to go before the finish!

A bad move by me which meant I finished the race leading the group around for two laps also meant I didn’t finish where I wanted to. Yet I still had great fun out there. It felt good to have girls to race against and push past mental barriers I’ve not been able to push past before. 

With all of the negative press cycling seems to be getting at the minute, it was great to see so many girls enjoying the sport still. Hopefully only more will come to enjoy it as much as I do.