It’s been a month since I went down to Giant Docklands with the rest of the team to collect our lovely new bikes and our temporary kit (official kit arrives in the next week so keep an eye out for that!). In the last month there have been some massive lows but also some massive highs for me. The Sunday after the team get together I finished the final round of the Eastern cyclocross league with Lauren. I managed to pick up third junior in the overall after a very mixed season. Although I am not exactly a top cross rider I do love spending the winter riding round muddy fields, however I was glad to see the end of it for 6 months!
In the following days after meeting up with the other girls I fell ill with a lovely virus that left me bed bound for 5 days. I was still lying in bed on the Tuesday yet being me I was determined to be sat on the start line come Saturday. Saturday morning came and to my parents horror I was up and ready to race. It was a lovely E,1,2,3,4 which featured a couple of the country’s best riders. With only a small field there was nowhere to hide. Towards the final stages of the race the bunch split and I didn’t have the strength to go with the lead 5. I had to settle being in what I suppose you could call the second group with two other riders. Due to there still being points up for grabs I gave it everything in the sprint and discovered that Liv Envies rather like sprinting! I picked up my first road points of the year with a nice 6th and Issy did the same coming in 9th.
The following Tuesday I was racing again. This time in the Dulwich Paragon race series again at my home circuit of Lea Valley Velopark. It was an interesting race with a number of attacks that could never stay away. At about seven laps to go when being lapped by the men two of the other riders jumped on the back of the mens bunch being towed to far for the main women’s bunch to be able to get them back. That left the rest of the bunch fighting out for the remainder of the points. Now I have never exactly been a sprinter to put it mildly. I knew my chances of making the top 10 were very very slim. Last half of the last lap and I was sitting 5th wheel. I knew what I had to do (mostly thanks to the brilliant Wednesday night cluster sessions that I had been doing for the last few months). Coming into the last bend I went. Two other riders were now next to me the pulled away up the small ramp to the Finish but I managed to sprint out and take 3rd in the bunch sprint and 5th overall. I looked back after I had lunged for the line to see all the riders coming in after me. For the first time in my five years I had actually managed to not only not come last but actually be at the front of a bunch sprint.
The following weekend was a blank in the racing calendar. However I was doing an Eastern region cycling college session at the Dunton test track on the Saturday. Despite the snow and cold conditions I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
Despite the cyclocross season being over the cyclocross bike was pulled out of cellar again for a special trip to Reading. That Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a cyclocross session with one of my cycling icons Helen Wyman. It was a very surreal experience for a star struck 16 year old to be jumping around Palmer park looking like a frog working on her up mounts with one of the best cyclocross riders in the world. I learnt an awful lot thanks to Helen, Stef, Caroline and Amira and hopefully will be able to put it back into my cyclocross racing next season.
Round 3 of the Dulwich Pargon race series saw me in a bunch of majority 2nd cats. It was probably the hardest race I had ridden as the speed kept drastically changing though out. Despite having what up until the last lap was probably my best race so far the last lap had a turn for the worst. I was pushed towards the back and blocked in. Unfortunately me being me I decided I would drop back though the bunch and then jump up the nice gap on the outside. However as I was doing this the bunch surged forward. I was out in the wind and the rest is history. I managed to get back up to the middle of the bunch but it wasn’t enough for a top 10. Having said that it was my favourite race and I was pleased with how it went.
That weekend we had a fabulous team training session with the legend that is Huw Williams. We worked on a lot of important skills in order to help with the season ahead.
The final round of the Dulwich Pargon series, it was very similar to the weeks before round but significantly harder for me on junior gears with a nice tail wind causing me to spin out constantly. Not much to say really other than there were some massive attacks though out the race. I was right where I wanted to be on the last lap and right where I wanted to be until the last bend. Unfortunately on the last bend another rider managed to knock me onto the grass were for once cross did me a favour and I stayed up right. However this put me right out of contention. Although I was extremely cross and upset its very early season. In the next few weeks I am racing every weekend around London just gaining experience in women’s races. There is also a possibility that the first team trip to Belgium may be very soon!
Till next time!