Held at the Tameside circuit in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester these races are open to all categories of women racers.
Because I work on Sundays I have a 5.30 start in order to work from 6-9am and then quickly catch a lift over to Manchester in order to be there for around 10 for sign on and warm up.
I did a crit. race at Hog Hill last summer (post) on a day licence (and got dropped within 15 minutes :/ ) so Sunday’s race at Tameside was my first ‘proper’ race. After a lazy winter of focussing on Uni work and only a week and a half of actual training I wasn’t expecting too much. I went into this race hoping to start well and remain in the bunch for as long as possible (or for the whole race if possible). Experience is what I’m looking for – and collecting a few points of course :p
As a beginner, just starting a race is a bit exciting all the drama of clipping in etc. But I got away well and after a few laps everyone calmed down a bit anyway. I started off well, near the front, and generally kept my place, but after half an hour the little mistakes I kept making (such as being windward side of the bunch, or the outside-side of the bunch in corners) began to tell. I can do hard efforts and recover quickly, which is fine whilst I’m being economical and still within the bunch, but if I loose a few places or drop back a bit (thus working harder, in more of a pursuit style) I don’t yet have the correct type of fitness to survive many of those type of efforts. This is something Tom and I will be working on over the next few weeks.
Overall I was proud of my handling and being all squashed up between the other riders. I even survived a crash that happened right in front of me. Also I have doubled the amount of time I can spend with the bunch, compared with the race I did at Hog Hill – this time on less training, but more specific training.
Next Sunday I will hope to stay with the bunch for the entire race and get some experience of the last couple of laps and the sprint.
1 Rachael Bamford (Dirt Wheels Cycles)
2 Brit Tate (Dirt Wheels Cycles)
3 Hannah Layland (VC St Raphael)
4 Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh RC)
5 Lisa Daly (Sportcity Velo)
6 Iona Sewell (GB Cycles)
7 Frances White (Champion Systems/Maxgear RT)
8 Nikola Butler (Vivelo-Bikes/Inverse Cyclaim RT)
9 Nicky Shaw (Dinnington RC)
10 Joanne Blakeley (Seamons CC)
Today’s race started in a more relaxed manner with 23 girls at the start line. With a full turn out from Maxgear I expected the race to be controlled primarily by the lady’s team and this was the case. However a very early break of two riders from Dirt Wheels (Rachael Bamford and Brit Tate) got away and stayed away for the remainder of the race.
For some reason I found the first thirty minutes or so murderous. I was really near to getting dropped so many times but managed to hang on. Eventually I got more settled. Either the pace had fallen or I was just positioning myself better but I started to be able to cope with it better and get some recovery in on the straights and the swoop-y corner.
This week I felt the race was much more ordered. Maybe there were more experienced riders out numbering us less experienced riders which helped keep everyone relaxed as there was less unpredictable cornering or maneuvers. With Maxgear controlling the front of the main bunch the race preceded smoothly. As far as I could tell there were no crashes. Unfortunately Nicola Soden’s (Maxgear) crank broke during the race.
As I said last week, this week my plan was to really focus on staying with (and in) the bunch as much as possible. This worked out well and by the final few laps I felt brave enough to move up the bunch and get within the front 5 or so riders. This gave me a great chance to experience the final laps right at the cutting edge of the action. It got pretty fast – we were leaning a lot more in the corners now and I miscalculated at one point, dragging my inside pedal on the ground, but luckily it was okay. Coming out of the wider bend into the final wiggle and finishing straight the sprint really started. I wasn’t quite in the right gear but managed to remain right near the front of the bunch, sprinting against Rachel Armitage from London Dynamo for fifth place. She just pipped me!
With the lovely weather and great selection of girls riding, today was awesome – plus I got my first points!
We rounded off the trip to Manchester with a visit to Ikea where we had a yummy hot meal in the restaurant followed by a casual browse of the shop.
I think I need my bike to be mechanic-ed as I kept changing gear and not getting any movement from the mech…hmmmm.
1. Racheal Bamford, Dirtwheels Cycles 48:34:00
2. Brit Tate, Dirtwheels Cycles @ 5sec
3. Melissa Bury, Champion Systems/Maxgear @ 22sec
4. Vicky Annis, VC Bradford
5. Rachel Armitage, London Dynamo
6. Alice Miller, Look Mum No Hands
7. Frances White, Champion Systems/Maxgear
8. Liz Waterhouse, University of Manchester
9. Nikola Butler, Vivelo-Bikes/Inverse Cyclaim RT
10. Hayley Edwards, Champion Systems/Maxgear
Video by Simon Winston ( @simonwinston )
The final in this women’s set!
The day the clocks go back = a nasty early morning start for work - I had what felt like a 4.30 am start today :s But the money got earned and it was soon time to drive over to Manchester :)
Maxgear were mostly absent (I believe on a team training camp?) which left a field of eighteen, mostly individual, at the start line this morning.
Despite somehow managing to position myself right on the line, the race began rapidly and I am far to quick to give up my position, so almost immediately slipped halfway down the field. Although the race began quick and a few solid solo breaks went out but were brought back in by the bunch.
At one point a break formed as the bunch split from the high speed pressure being applied at the front. This looked like a solid break and had some strong riders in it, so I was keen to get with it. Unfortunately after killing myself to catch the front group, it became obvious people weren’t too keen to work together to keep ahead of the second group, and the bunch was all back together again very shortly.
Unlike the previous races, the pace was possibly slower, with some very sedate sections. This was a bit nervy, and served to build suspense for when the next move might occur, but allowed for a nice breather every now and again.
The final laps were very slow. Somehow I ended up on the front whilst everyone was conserving energy for the final sprint. I slightly miscalculated the remaining laps and was happy to stay on front as I planned to attempt an early break for the line. But there were more laps than I expected and I missed the moment when everyone accelerated so I was soon much further down the bunch than was optimum.
A last effort to move up the bunch was reasonably succesful, but I was still barely within the front ten riders. Then, in the last bend, a nasty crash took two girls out and gave the remainder of the bunch a flying obstacle to avoid. The front three girls were far away but I aimed for Adela (Hope Factory Racing) and sprinted for fifth position.
I am now one point away from becoming a third cat. rider, but more importantly I have had a great experience at these races and learnt lots. There are still many things to be worked on, but its the end of a four week training block and next week is set to be a lovely sunny rest week :)
1 Louise Borthwick (Edinburgh RC)
2 Rebecca Heath (VC St Raphael)
3 Hannah Leyland (VC St Raphael)
4 Adele Carter (Hope Factory Racing)
5 Alice Miller (Look Mum No Hands)
6 Nicky Shaw (Dinnington RC)
7 Nikola Butler (Vivelo Bikes-Inverse Cyclaim RT)
8 Liz Waterhouse (University of Manchester)
9 Phoebe Snedden (Mulebar Girls)
10 Catherine Wiggins (Liverpool Mercury CC)
A huge thanks goes to Jenny Gretton who organised the Tameside races and was completely lovely all round :)
Another great video of the race by Simon Winston