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

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.” 

View this post on Instagram

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 😉😂

A post shared by Helen Wyman (@cxhelen) on

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!

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!

Tactical Numpty or Bad Luck?

The past two weekends have seen me racing, which I’ve not done anywhere near enough of this year. The first weekend was Welsh Road Champs, but in hindsight I should have tried the TT instead. This weekend was a crit race at Darley Moor Motor Circuit.

I probably should have written about Welsh Champs sooner, but I come away from it slightly embarrassed if I’m honest. I went down with Ryan the day before as he was doing the TT too. Around the HQ I was surrounded by girls much stronger than me and I started to wonder what I was letting myself in for. Some might not be staying around for the road race the following day, but I still felt I was in a little too deep.

Phil Bulkeley Photograhpy

I entered Welsh Road Champs thinking we’d be going round the course on our own. Getting to the start line I found out we were starting with the Veteran men. Needless to say I got dropped 5 miles in…

But I still can’t work out if it was bad luck or me just being a tactical numpty.

Had I just sat behind the wrong people, or was I just not fit enough to be in the race?

When the race convoy passed and a number of women dropped off the back of the field, I couldn’t work out if the race convoy passing meant we weren’t in the race anymore.

I ended up riding round on my own for a lap at a pace I don’t think I’ve ever ridden at before. I wasn’t sure if I could still get to the finish line and place, or if once passed by the broom wagon that was it.

Long story short, I bailed after one lap as I still didn’t have a clue if I was suppose to still be on the course or not. So I finished with a big fat DNF.

When I went to Welsh Champs to at least finish, that was a bit gutting.

To get me out of my grump, Ryan found a race at Darley Moor Motor Circuit. 16 laps in a field of 20 women.

Something I didn’t do for Welsh Champs was warm up, so I made sure to chuck the turbo in the car for Darley Moor. I may have only loosened my legs for 10 minutes, but it definitely made a difference.

My headphones and turbo just get me in the right mindset for racing.

Whatever race I go to now, I need to make sure I’m armed with my turbo to warm up. I could use rollers…but I definitely haven’t mastered them yet! Maybe I should work on that over winter!

The field was strong whilst we were on the track and I was just hoping I could stay on the back of the group!

A far cry from what I ended up doing at Pimbo a few weeks ago ha!

After getting too carried away in the corners and seeing how far I could lean my bike over, we were soon on the finish straight in a bunch sprint.

I still don’t know what position I finished, but I finished…which was an improvement on Welsh Champs.

I even finished the weekend with a loop I made up as I went along, which ended up being a hilly ride to start with, then levelled out a bit. I felt weirdly good on the bike.

How have you got over races you’ve performed badly at?

#GirlsAtMarshTracks – What You Need To Know

If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll know the next event I’m organising is #GirlsAtMarahTracks. A day of crit racing for women at the North Wales’ closed cycling circuit, Marsh Tracks in Rhyl.

I’ve not been road racing (or road cycling!) long, but it’s clear to see that women’s road races are hard to come by, which can be understandable when they’re not always the easiest of races to fill to make them viable to run. But I’m taking the jump and doing a full day of women’s racing anyway!

For anyone new to road or crit racing, what does this all mean?!?

First off…Criterium Racing,

More commonly known as ‘crit racing’, this is essentially closed circuit racing, whether that be on closed roads or closed circuit. You race for a certain amount of time, then so many laps after that. For example, the 4th Category race is racing for 40 minutes plus 5 laps. So as soon as you reach 40 minutes you know you’ve got 5 laps left! You’ll know you’ve got to the 40 minute mark as a board will appear at the finish line counting down from 5 until the last lap is indicated by a bell!

But what do all the race categories mean?

I’m not going to lie, the race categories alone can be enough to put you off giving racing a go! The senior women’s races are either the E/1/2/3 or the 4th Cat.

E/1/2/3

How road racing works with British Cycling is you buy a licence and depending on where you come in race you can get points, eg you win a race and get 10 points. Over the course of the year these points can build up and a certain amount of points will mean you move up at category. For example, I’ve been chasing 12 points this year to go from 4th Category to 3rd Category. I’m nowhere near, but you get the picture!

To put it all into context, I’m a 4th Category rider and I’ve just started road racing. The women racing in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour are in the Elite category, so ‘E’.

4th Category

If you’re new to racing then the 4th Category race is the one for you! You can enter with a day licence and give racing a go! 4th Cat is also for those chasing those 12 points to get to bumped up to 3rd Category if you already have a British Cycling race licence.

So, how do you go about entering the 4th Cat race if you don’t have a British Cycling race licence? To put it simply, you need to enter on the day by paying for the entry to the race and for a day licence.

Day Licence Fees

The 4th Cat race is a Regional C+ categorised race. If you’re a:

– Bronze British Cycling Member, Ride British Cycling Member or not a member of British Cycling, a day licence will cost £10.

– Silver or Gold British Cycling Member, a day licence will cost £5.

Obviously if you have a British Cycling race licence you won’t need a day licence, you just need to check what race category you are and enter the correct race accordingly.

For Junior and Youth riders it works slightly differently. If you’re child is under the age of 16 they will be a Youth rider and therefore a day licence will only cost £1.50.

Over the age of 16 will class them as a Junior rider and they can race in the 4th Category race with a day licence. These will follow the same guidelines as the adult prices, but be half the price. So:

– Bronze British Cycling Member, Ride British Cycling Member or not a member of British Cycling, a day licence will cost £5.

– Silver or Gold British Cycling Member, a day licence will cost £2.50.

You won’t be able to sign up online if you need a day licence, so just drop me a message if you’re planning on racing so I can get an idea on numbers! Drop me an email at lifeandbikesblog@gmail.com.

What bike can you ride?

For various safety reasons, British Cycling stipulate what bikes can and can’t be used in road and circuit racing. For the senior races, so 4th Cat and E/1/2/3, a drop-bar road bike will only be allowed to be ridden in the races. Working gears and brakes are a must too! Don’t forget to check the tyre pressures, high tyre pressures make pedallig so much easier!

A drop bar road bike looks something like this…

These rules apply for the Under 16 and Under 14 races also, but allow cyclocross bikes to. Drop bars are a necessity though.

When it comes to the Under 12’s, 10’s and 8’s, British Cycling allow any type of bike to make it easier for younger riders to have a go! I must say these bikes have obviously got to have working brakes and be in good working order. Again, for safety during the races.

What category will my child race in?

Have a look at the details below,

Under 16 if born in 2002 or 2003

Under 14 if born 2004 or 2005

Under 12 if born 2006 or 2007

Under 10 if born 2008 or 2009

Under 8 if born 2010 onwards

The obvious need for the Under 8 category is that your child can confidently ride a bike. British Cycling also stipulate gearing restrictions to protect young riders from using big gears that could be harmful to them. (ie too strenuous!) If you have any queries on gearing restriction or if your child can race, have a read of this document by following the link, or contact British Cycling via the details in this link:

Youth Gear Restrictions: A Guide for Riders and Parents

Facilities

From racing various cycling disciplines, I know facilities at cycling races can sometimes be an issue, so I just wanted to highlight Marsh Tracks has toilets and changing facilities.

For more information about #GirlsAtMarshTracks keep monitoring my social media pages and website for more blog posts! Thank you to everyone who has helped with the event so far, especially Cyced for designing the poster! You’ll be able to find out more about Cyced with a blog post that will be posted in the next few days.

Cyced: Where rides become cycling art

I’m also working with Andy from SDS Graphics on some stickers you’ll be able to take home with you! SDS Graphics have been supplying vinyl graphics and designs in the motorsport industry for 25 years. His vinyl graphics can be seen on Formula 1 cars, British Touring Cars and many others. So you’ll have F1 standard stickers you can put on your bike, to remember that time you took part in a day full of women’s crit racing.

I’ll drop some other useful links below, but if you feel like you can’t keep up to date on social media with the event drop me an email at lifeandbikesblog@gmail.com and I’ll email you any updates!

Facebook Event Page

British Cycling Event Page (you can enter via this link!)

Marsh Tracks Website

If you’re a company who fancies getting involved with the event, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Well that escalated quickly…

What the HELL just happened?

Rolling out of bed at 8am this morning I was unsure whether to race or not. A road race last Sunday and two time trials this week…I wasn’t exactly sure my legs would have anything left. Especially when those races haven’t exactly gone to plan.

I also felt guilty for dragging Ryan along because the men’s race was a 3/4 and he’s a 2nd cat now.

But my quest for license points needed to continue. I wasn’t going to get points if I wasn’t racing.

Getting to sign on for 11am, it was another lunch time race but this time organised by Croston Velo.

It was hot…obviously…and I was shaking with nerves so much on the start line I struggled to clip in when the start whistle went.

Off we went, a field of around 20 girls were making their way around the 2ish miles loop. 38 miles ahead…it was going to be a tough one.

Being my second road race, I just sat on the back. The massive faux pas that it is, I just wanted to finish really after dropping off the bunch last week. Just not getting dropped would have been an improvement!

The more the bunch eased off I’d end up rolling on the outside of the bunch to too the front. Girls tried to break away or tire the group out, but for most of the race the bunch stuck together.

I was at the back because I was only at the race to gain experience. Road tactics are all new to me, so I just wanted to watch really and see what the norm is in a road race. I’m use to racing through forests on Singletrack after all…

I’m not sure at what exact point in the race it was, but one girl had managed to break away. So I pushed to get on the front of the bunch to try and pull the group back across so we were racing as a full bunch.

So there I am munching my pedals…I had been for a while…only to look back and notice the group wasn’t behind me. I’d somehow managed to break away…by accident!

The group were reluctant to pull her back and my ego was not on for dropping back to the group with its tails between its legs. I was now committed to bridging across whether I liked it or not.

Catching up to her was SO hard. I’m not even exaggerating. It was like a max effort sprint for what seemed like for ever! I kept looking at my heart rate being 180+ BPM…I had no idea if I could hold this.

When I finally got across I wanted to work with her, but my legs just didn’t have anything left. So thankfully she let me get my breath back and then we got into some sort of rhythm. I had no idea what was a good stint on the front, so I let her lead and move behind me when she wanted to. I did the best I could to keep the bunch behind us.

With one lap to go we got told the bunch were only 12 seconds behind us. We thought about waiting for them with how hard it was to keep them at bay, but we’d come this far we may as well give it a go and see where it gets us.

So we pushed….hard. I thought I’d dig deep last week after I got dropped, but oh no….this was a whole new level of deep I’ve never been to before…

My head was that mushed by this point I couldn’t even remember where the finish straight was.

When I got my bearings again we we on the finish straight and I could see number 18 looking at me to see if I was going to sprint.

I just couldn’t!

And stupidly I forgot he bunch were likely to sprint too. So number 18 went to take the win but I lost second place to the bunch. But somehow managed to hold top 10 with 9th…provisionally!

Thank you to Croston Velo for putting on such a good race. The iced water at the end helped no end. Thanks to all the girls that were racing too, it was a pretty epic afternoon!