Friday, 21 November 2014
Monday, 4 August 2014
European Junior Cycling Tour Assen
Stage 1 – Prologue
The first stage was a 1km prologue with a tricky 180 degree bend which, annoyingly, we weren’t allowed to recce before our timed attempt. My preparation leading up to my prologue wasn’t the best, as up until an hour before, I was lying in bed because I was ill. I still gave the prologue my best shot but my time wasn’t reflective of what I should have got if I was feeling well. So a bit of disappointing and annoying start to the week of racing by being ill.
Stage 2 - Criterium Goudkust Vredeveldseweg
Today’s crit race was fast and furious from the start. We had 22 laps of a 1.8 km course to do, which had a few tight corners and a section of road which was tiled. In this tour, they grid riders by a lucky dip of the second digit of the bib numbers, to each row at the start line. Today I was gridded around the middle and so in the first few laps I was able to move myself up into a good position in the top third of the peloton, trying to conserve my energy. Next though, there was a crash right in front of me which completely slowed me up and I had to chase back onto the peloton. By the time I got back into the peloton I definitely had begun to tire and I found myself at the back of the peloton for the next few laps, before eventually dropping off. I was quite surprised at the time that I had dropped off as I believed that I was in good form, so I assumed that having to chase on after the crash had completely drained me. After I was off the main group I found that I was still struggling to keep up with a group of other riders who had dropped off, this made me realize that there must be another problem. I stopped at the pits and yes I had a slow puncture on my back wheel. This explained why I had dropped off the main group as when I checked my inner tube the hole was sooo tiny that I must have had the slow puncture for the majority of the race as it was rather flat when I stopped. So today was annoying as I lost time on the GC but it taught me that I need to be much more aware of problems to do with my bike as if I had realized earlier, when I was in the main bunch, I would have most likely lasted the whole race in the main bunch! I hope, my teammate, Paige, you recover quickly from breaking collar bone on the final corner on the final lap!
Stage 3 – Klassieker
The Klassieker was a 40 mile road race, with a technical 4.4 km cobbled section to contend with! The cobbled section was 10 miles into the race and leading up to that the race pace was set high as everyone was moving around the bunch to get to the front of the peloton; the safest place to be leading into the cobbled section as you were less likely to be stuck behind splits within the peloton. Last year I really struggled with the cobbled section as it was very damp and I was scared. This time I had gone to recce the cobbles and so I was much more comfortable riding them at race pace. However it didn’t go to plan as I was caught behind a split in the peloton before the cobbles!. I went through the cobbled section pretty smoothly (!) with two other riders. On emerging from the cobbles, there was a group of riders between us and the main peloton, which we caught within a few kilometres. At this point there was still over 25 miles left of racing and as a group we worked very well together and were eventually able to catch the peloton. I managed then to move my way back into a good position in the middle to front of the peloton. Then, with 10 km to go, there was a crash in the middle of the peloton just ahead of me. I had to come to an abrupt stop causing the person behind me to bang into the back of me and my back wheel. I was in the middle of the crash scene, still upright, but with no easy way out and not much room to quickly untangle someone’s rear gear cable from my Garmin cadence sensor. So it took quite a while for me to get going again, but I had someone else with me and together we managed to chase back onto the peloton, though exerting lots of energy in that attempt. There wasn’t very long to recover as by that time there was only 5km to the finish, but I managed to move into a decent position with the main bunch and I finished 14th in the sprint finish! Definitely very pleased with that result, in such a tough race and especially as I had to use so much energy chasing onto the peloton with 10km to go.
Stage 4- Omloop Kostvlies
Today’s stage was early in the morning and I was also still very tired after yesterday’s tough stage. It was another fast race which was going well for me. I stayed in the main bunch, which was gradually getting smaller and smaller. Then, on the corner, with 1 lap to go, I was cut up going round outside of the corner and consequently pushed into a small ditch by the side of the road. By the time I got myself back onto the road the peloton was long gone and I had no energy left to chase on. This was very annoying as because it was just outside 3km to go I lost more time on the GC. I finished 28th as quite a lot of riders had already dropped off the main group. So another frustrating stage as I could have finished a lot higher if I had been there at the sprint finish. This has taught me to be a stronger rider, to stop the foreign riders from feeling as though they can push me off the road!
Stage 5- Criterium door het Asserbos
I was really looking forward to this last crit stage as I quite liked the course. It was another very fast race and I found myself towards the back of the group most of the time which wasn’t the best place to be as it meant that I felt the elastic band effect going round the corners. However, as it was a slightly shorter race and I was on good form I still had energy left at the end of the race. With 2 laps to go I moved up into the top 20 in the bunch and by the final corner on the last lap I was in at least the top 15, so in a good position to be competitive in the sprint. However, I didnt anticipate that the line I was taking round the corner was going to be my downfall .... as there was a crash at the front of the peloton, going round the final corner, with the riders sliding round the outside of the bend, directly in the line I was taking. I had to slow down to get through the small gap between the riders and the barrier. Unfortunately, this meant that all the riders who had taken the inside line went right past me! Well done to my teammate Lucy for taking the inside line and coming 4th J
Stage 6- Individual TT
After a long busy week of racing, today was the final stage, and unusually it ended on TT. Annoyingly for me the TT was very short (like the prologue) and was a total of 1.9 km. A longer TT would have suited me much better. Anyway, I managed to pace myself better than usual as normally I completely fade in the second half. I did better than I did in the prologue but short TT’s like this are something I really need to work on!
In the end I finished 35th in the General Classification with my best result being 14th in the Klassieker. All in all, I had a really great time racing in Assen. The races were much shorter than I was used to, but much faster as well. It has certainly given me a lot of experience and I hope to go back again next year and use what I’ve learnt to do even better. Well done to all my teammates!
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Essex Giro 2 Day- part of the National Women’s road race series
Unfortunately, my lead up to this race wasn’t what it normally was leading up to a major event, as the crash the week before meant I had over a week off the bike. Anyway, I went into the weekend with a positive attitude, excited for a tough weekend of racing with my teammates! J
The first stage was a 2 lap TT of the Redbridge circuit, which I found particularly difficult to pace myself as I had to go up the major hill 2 times. I started off well, but in hindsight I went too fast in the flatter sections. This meant that I had little energy left to go up the hill and so I lost a lot of time there. Not a good result in the TT, but I put it behind me and looked forward to the next stage as it would suit me better.
By the second stage, the sun was out and it was extremely hot!! I therefore had to ensure that I kept on drinking water constantly to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated before the race had even started! The race was really tough because of the hot conditions, but it was going well for me, sitting in the middle of the bunch, until I had some mechanical problems with my bike; my chain jammed solid so I couldn’t pedal! This happened twice and both times I had to quickly sort out the problem and chase on. I was successful chasing on, but the next lap there was a sudden increase of pace up the hill, which I was unable to keep up with because I’d used too much energy chasing back on and hadn’t fully recovered. I also made the mistake of being on a wheel of a rider who was dropping off and I didn’t have the energy to get around her. I then rode round the rest of the race at a steady pace, catching up with other people who had dropped off and then dropping them myself. Exhausted after the race and rather annoyed that mechanical issues hindered me.
The third stage was a 75 mile road race with a 7 mile neutralised section before that! So a very long race, the longest I’ve ever done by quite a distance and it was made even harder as it was a rather hilly course as well! The weather was completely contrasting to the day before, horribly rainy and it had caused flooding across the whole road at some sections. The race was fast from the start, and for the first lap of 4, I maintained a very good position within the bunch, always in the top 10, so having quite an active start of the race. For the next laps, I settled within the middle to front of the group, constantly finding that each hill and the race distance was really getting to my legs. The main group was certainly being whittled down, so with 1 lap to go there were just over 30 of us left. On the hill up to the finish line with 1 lap to go, my legs were sooo tired so I dropped off the main group. However, on the flat section after the hill, I put a lot of effort in and I managed to chase back onto the group; I then stayed comfortably in the group for the rest of the lap. In the sprint up the hill at the end, I had nothing left so I finished last in the main group, 32nd. However I am really pleased to have lasted 75 miles in the main group on a tough circuit in horrible conditions!
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Oakley Village Women’s Team Series Race
Today’s race was another round in the Women’s Team Series and it was a 51 mile race on a flat course which I knew would suit me very well. I made the mistake of having my tyres pumped to 120psi which certainly made it more difficult going round the bends once it started pouring down with rain. The race started off very well for me, I found the race pace very comfortable and I spent most of the time in the top 15 in the main group. The weather conditions however completely disrupted the race, the torrential rain made riding in the group very sketchy and gave the 2 riders off the front even more chance to stay away. I still maintained my good positioning within the group but unfortunately my race ended abruptly when I fell heavily off my bike. As there was lots of running water on the circuit, I couldn’t see quite a big pothole and therefore went straight into it at about 27mph! Because I hit the pothole with such force my hands went straight off my bars as they were wet and slippery. I was therefore thrown headfirst over my bike and onto the road, landing rather heavily, and then sliding because it was so wet. Thankfully though no broken bones, but the usual road rash, bad cuts and bruises. The 70 or so riders behind me in the group somehow managed to avoid me, so my crash could have been a lot worse. This was the end of my race as my bike had quite a lot of damage and I hit my knee very nastily so it had swollen up and was very bruised with a nasty cut which needed attention. Overall, it was not the best turn out for me today, and very disappointed. However, well done to the Bike Pure girls for a team win!! J
|Just before the rain!|
Win at Hillingdon Women’s Race 25th June
There was a decent turnout of 8 women for today’s race which overall was a well paced race with a number of attacks making it a quite interesting. I went on 2 attacks with Annabel, though neither of these stuck. Towards the end of the race, I rested within the group in order to get myself ready for the sprint finish. Jasmijn attacked up the hill on the last lap, with Annabel and me joining her. Annabel overtook Jasmijn, giving me a lead out on the final bend and I sprinted to win. Very happy to take the win with a strong sprint, and Annabel taking second J
Saturday, 21 June 2014
Wednesday 18th June- Eelmore men’s race
In order to get some practice in for fast crit-style racing, I decided it would be a good idea to do the men’s race at Eelmore. It was a fast, tough race from the off, with an average of 27mph for the hour long race. I was very pleased to stay in the main bunch for the whole race. I kept myself well positioned in the bunch which certainly helped reduce the elastic effect from coming out of the 2 tight corners. This circuit is really good for practice at attacking out of the corners and therefore it has been a very good training race for me. As a bonus, I was second of the ladies with Lucy Chittenden winning and only Lucy and I finishing in the bunch with the men.
Surf n’ Turf 2 Day National Women’s Roads Series Race
The level and quality of riders entered for this round of the National Women’s Road Series, far exceeds any other race I’ve entered; there were 2 Olympic Champions (Laura Trott and Dani King) and 1 Paralympic Champion (Sarah Storey) as well as other members of the GB Team Pursuit Team, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker!!! As expected, this made the racing faster and tougher and was a really great experience.
I really enjoyed the crit race, it was certainly fast from the go, but I felt comfortable riding in the main group. I even followed one of Katie Archibald’s attacks, maybe not the best idea as it took a few laps back inside the main group for me to recover from that effort. I was unfortunately rather unlucky in this race as I got stuck right behind a crash towards the end of the race. I had to break suddenly to a complete stop, immediately behind it. I was therefore one of the last riders to get around the crash and begin chasing back to the main bunch. The bunch seemed soooo far ahead but I put in a really big effort and somehow managed to catch up the bunch after 2 laps of chasing. I was one of few who actually managed this, so I was very pleased with that. It took me a while to recover from this effort and there weren’t many laps to the end now; so I wasn’t in the best position (literally within the bunch and physically) to be as competitive as I would have liked in the final sprint. I managed a decent 26th in the end which I’m very pleased about, because I was glad that I even made it back into the main group!
The road race the following day started off very fast from the go and there were lots of bends, twists and turns, so it didn’t help that I wasn’t in the best positon within the group. Due to being really tired after yesterday’s race, I unfortunately eventually dropped off and found myself with a group of 4 riders. We rode well together for the majority of the race but soon there were only 3 of us. After I recovered I did a lot of work on the front and found myself picking up the pace. I knew that Laura (in our group) was a couple of seconds ahead of me in the GC so I realised that it would be a good tactical move to drop Laura at some point so that I could move up a place in the GC. So with 6 miles to go I attacked just as Laura was finishing her turn up the drag hill. Laura dropped off our group so now there were only 2 of us. I then managed to win the sprint against the other woman at the end, so I came 1st out of our group. It was definitely a tough and long race and so I was relieved when it was over! A really great weekend though racing against lots of top riders!