The start of March 2018 will be remembered in the UK (and the rest of Europe) for the awful weather conditions that landed upon us. Freezing temperatures and plenty of snow forced most cycling to be cancelled. Even events that would normally expect riders to race in all conditions were cancelled for the safety of travelling to the venue.
But it wasn’t long before Admiral Liv AWOL riders were back on their bikes, and the first action was on Sunday, 4th March from Elizabeth Marvelly in the CTT Hainault Hilly Time Trial. The 31.1km course (E14/28) started near Navestock, down to the A113, looping around the Essex villages of Stapleford Tawney, Woodhatch, Toot Hill, Little End and then back to the finish near Kelvedon Hatch. This is definitely not a flat course, and Elizabeth finished in an impressive time of 1:24:03 at an average speed of 22.179mph. “My first TT of 2018 for Admiral Liv AWOL at the CTT Hainault Hilly!! Happy with 1st woman & 1st overall junior on such a tough course 🌟” Elizabeth tweeted after. Full results here.
Broxbourne Youth Awards were held on Friday, 9th March, and Lauren Higham was shortlisted for Youth Sports Personality. Lauren tweeted later that evening, “Thank you so much for my nomination for youth sports personality of the year. It’s great to be recognised for something I ❤ doing. Well done to the winner. It was tough competition.”.
More Time Trial action on the 10th up in North Yorkshire, with the Malton Wheelers Road Club hosting “The Sledmere Monuments” Time Trial. The course is a great early season tester for the legs. Starting from Tatton Sykes monument, South of Sledmere, the riders have an “easy” ride downhill to Fimber roundabout, where the return leg is mainly uphill. Of the women, Admiral Liv AWOL’s Hannah Bayes was fastest in 27.02 over the 10.5 mile course. The Scarborough-based 18-year-old being 21 seconds quicker than Jessica Kaye (Harrogate Nova CC). Full race report here, and result here.
On the same day, down south at the Milton Keynes Bowl March Criterium Series #2, the team had three riders racing, but things didn’t go quite to plan. As Zoe Brookes explained “Teammates do everything together right?? @teamMarvelly… Including riding into thorny hedges together mid-race 😬😬😂 Not how I planned on today going”. Zoe’s Dad quipped in response, “That’s a bit of a thorny issue. Hedging our bets it won’t happen again.” Elizabeth Marvelly, who finished alongside Zoe after their bushy adventure, had something positive to add. “Thank you CadoMotus for protecting my head during my get-down in today’s race! Message us (Admiral Liv AWOL contact) if want to buy one as new to the UK”.
Meanwhile, Connie Hayes avoided the incident and finished a very impressive 12th overall. This is what Pat Hayes (DS) had to say of the day. “Hard day. An early crash took out Elizabeth & Zoe. They both showed great character and finished despite being badly cut up. Some good attacks by Connie, though she was tightly marked and finished in the bunch sprint. Season proper getting underway at Milton Keynes with a good quality field including some of best juniors in the country. Big thanks to Series organisers Corley Cycles, Milton Keynes Cycling Club. E1234 on a decent circuit is what women’s cycling needs more of. Thank you.”
Connie added “First outing for CadoMotus helmets in the UK. After having all my moves marked, being badly pushed in the final sprint was far from ideal but maybe I actually have sprint legs 🤔 thanks to Epic Coaching for getting me to a point where I am attacking and actually being able to contest a large bunch sprint”.
Despite the crash at Milton Keynes, Zoe was in action again on the following day, Sunday 11th, alongside teammates Savannah Hewson, Hannah Graveney and Rosie Wallace, at the Crowhurst Women’s Spring Road Race in Kent. Zoe was the highest place of the team in 11th (out of a field of 43), with Hannah G close behind in 14th. Rosie and Savannah finished together at 20th and 21st respectively. Savannah tweeted “Loved it! First road race! Up the hills, avoided the spills. Chases, breaks and attacks! In it to contest the finale. It was great to ride with my Admiral Liv AWOL teammates Zoe, Rosie and Hannah.”
And believe it or not, the weekend wasn’t over for Zoe, as she went straight from the Crowhurst race finish and on to a 40-mile training ride, along with Youth Development rider Charlotte McGreevy and several other top female riders from the south-east! As Huw Williams (photographer and cycling coach) tweeted “Great performance from the juniors at the excellent SE Road Race Crowhurst today. Many in their first outing on the road. Their reward? An extra 40, hilly miles at the end (of the race) with the youths… 😍”
Connie Hayes was also out for a training ride the day after MK, along with Iona Moir, in the Essex countryside, and took the opportunity for some sponsor promotion. “Why not buy a car from Perkins Garages and insure it and your bike with Admiral UK . Two companies supporting women’s cycling make the perfect match”
Charlotte Broughton also had an exciting Sunday, with the delivery of her new team bike. She tweeted in excitement, “NEW BIKE ALERT 😝 This beautiful new Liv Envie shall be my weapon of choice for 2018! 🙌🏻 Full Di2 Ultegra aaaaaah 🤤 Fair to say my sponsors are awesome, thanks very much everyone, I really appreciate it! 💗 Here’s to the 2018 season and doing this beast some justice! 🤞🏻”
The bad weather had returned by the following weekend, but some races still went ahead. Connie and Admiral Liv AWOL’s two youth development road racers, Charlotte McGreevy and Harley Pell were in action at the Milton Keynes Bowl March Criterium Series #3 (sponsored by Team Milton Keynes). Connie finished a very creditable 9th out of 18. Pat Hayes (DS) said afterwards, “Horrible conditions at Milton Keynes for teammk race, but good quality field and lots of top juniors and u23 riders. Usual attacking performance from Connie for 9th at the finish with sleet the for whole race. Well done to our two youth riders Charlotte M and Harley on a nasty day … both finished in top ten in a strong field”. Charlotte and Harley were 6th and 7th respectively.
Meanwhile, Lauren was in a warming environment, picking up her team bike from sponsors Giant Docklands. “Finally got my new Liv (Envie) team bike today from Giant Docklands followed by a trip to Cyclefit, so I am now ready and raring to go. ”
Savannah Hewson was also out on the Saturday racing at West Drayton Specialized Crit Series, and finished in 4th place.
The following day, Sunday 18th March, Emily Bridson wrapped up an impressive run in the Jersey MTB XC Series with a clean sweep of wins this season. She tweeted “Nice to take a win in the Junior Girls and Ladies and 10th overall elite at the last round. Thanks to Jersey Cycling, CCC Jersey for the events 🇯🇪and Admiral Liv AWOL for the support”.
“Today was the coldest race I have ever done, my water bottle even froze up! Round 2 of MSGEast (Mud, Sweat and Gears XC Series 2018 at Henham Park). All was going well, staying with Charlotte M until I got a stick stuck in my gears on the last lap so had to stop to pull it.” said Harley Pell of her Sunday mountain bike racing. She still finished second, with Charlotte M (riding for WXC Racing at MTB XC) in first.
Some more good news came out on Twitter the following day, with an announcement from Wolves (Oaklands) Cycling Academy, an educational institution which includes a significant portion of the curriculum with bike training. “So far 9 talented youth A riders have been asked to join the Academy in September (2018) having trialled with us. We’ve 8 super strong boys from all over including the North of England, South Wales and even Spain and just the one girl, the super talented Harley Pell.” Admiral Liv AWOL rider Elizabeth Marvelly is currently a student there. Harley tweeted herself, “Really happy that 😃 I got into Oaklands Cycling Academy. Now time to concentrate on my GCSE’s.” Congratulations Harley for being selected.
More race news coming soon. And if the weather holds out, there will be several Admiral Liv AWOL riders racing at Castle Coombe on Good Friday (tomorrow).