Sunday 14 April 2013

The Perth Road Trip

After a long, wet, cold winter I was really looking forward to the first national of the year. Although not that enthusiastic about it being the start of a snowy April in Scotland!

Nicola picked me up on route to Perth, managing to get 2 bikes and 4 sets of wheels all in a 107! Squashed in ready for the three hour trip, it was then I went on a license hunt and having to repack the car for a second time.

Finally getting to Perth on the Friday afternoon, signed on, rode the circuit, had tea and got ready for the 9 o'clock start. Mentioning no names but one of the Maxgear girls did cable tie the spoke to the forks when attaching a transponder!
Race time. It started hard with riders getting shelled out of the back, up the climb there was quite a bit of gravel this caused two crashes at different points in the race luckily I squeezed up the inside and on the mud avoiding both incidents. Halfway through the race Jo appeared next to me, explaining she had shipped (dropped) her chain, stopped got it back on and then chased back on to the bunch, that showed real strength until her bottle dropped off and she looked for it, managing to chase back to the bunch for a second time, I was sat in seriously amazed!

With 3 laps to go the bunch started getting tighter making it more sketchy, suddenly there was a crash on the flatter section of the course. Unfortunately I was directly behind it and heavily braked, clipping out (pulling my hip in the process) limping around the accident I then had a small chase back to the bunch. Coming into the sprint finish there was two girls away therefore I decided to sit in, saving my legs for later races but still getting the bunch time on the General Classification.

Meeting up with Jo after the race I had a sudden panic that I had not seen Nicola and Frankie since the early crashes, luckily they were waiting for us at the head quarters and had only been separated from the bunch by the crashes.

Getting to my room I went to sleep, this was probably not the most ideal of things to do considering I still look asleep on the time trial pictures! The start of my time was at 7:30. The course was a short climb then very technical section with a dead turn, speed humps and a paved section, not suiting my strengths but being only 1.1Km in total and not loosing too much time to the leaders.
A quick brief for the Sunday's race it was time to go to bed. Sunday arrived too fast! It was raining as we (the Maxgear girls) walked a lap of the circuit looking at drain covers and pot holes, this wasn't filling me with too much confidence, but after warming up I was stood on the start line ready to go while wishing I'd worn long fingered gloves. As the whistle blew we were flying round the course with no time to think about pot holes and loosing my back wheel at one point on a grid. I was loving the course although I could not feel my fingers or toes and only thinking about staying with the riders in front. Finding it a tight circuit and being hard to move up the bunch, I was at the back unfortunately the girl ahead of me dropped the wheel and I couldn't get around her until it was too late, this only happened in the last lap which also meant I achieved 16th place in the criterium race.

After the race, Frankie (the brainy one to keep warm) gave me gloves as I shivered and struggled taking my numbers off. Getting to the car I was very muddy and shaking, where Nicola even rapped herself in a bike towel to keep warm, putting full heating on in the car we made it home where my mum had made a lovely curry. Overall I Finished 18th on the General Classification with Jo 24th and Nicola 30th it was a good weekend bike racing, now its back to work to afford it!

Love Eve

Saturday 3 November 2012

The ups and downs of bike racing

I've not Blogged for a while so I've put together a short blog on the a few moments in the past couple of months.

This year I have had a few disasters, getting tonsillitis, Naseby and crashing at Newport Nocturne! I really questioned whether bike racing was for me, but I've carried on riding my local race league and enjoying cycling. Out of cycling I have had more success in finishing my A-levels and getting a full time job as a trainee quantity surveyor.

I think my favourite moment this season has to have been in a 3rds/4ths Men’s race. I was unsure if I could race due to been a junior second cat women, so at signing on I asked if I could take part. This was met by some sniggering, although I was told it would be fine for me to race and as I left I realised I had forgotten my numbers! This caused another chuckle. The commissaire then said if I stayed in the bunch I would get £10 back at the end of the race. This was met with another laugh from all of the others. In the end I finished tenth overall and there was no chuckling when I received my £10!

More recently I have rode a few hill climbs for fun and would like to say a massive well done to Lynn Hammel yet again the National Hill Climb Champion as well as breaking her own record on the climb!

I’m starting back on winter training doing track league and preparing for 2013, so would like to leave you with a few pictures of the past season:

Made the selection in elite womens race in Belgium

Attacking up a typical cobbled climb in Belgium

On the attack again, Surf & Turf 2
day stage 3
Me and Anna Fischer off the front in the criterium - Surf
and Turf 2 day, stage 2

Scottish National Crit Champs
The Newport Nocturne, going well before my
big crash!

Climbing 'The Rake'

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Back to racing with a bang!

After finishing my exams on Friday, I felt very happy and couldn’t wait to get back to racing. I celebrated by doing the Lancaster town centre crit in the rain that evening! The poor conditions (torrential rain) meant there were only 30 racers and the field quickly split, there was no real peleton. So I spent most of the race alone, although I did manage a smile for the camera and finished the first lady. The only one crazy enough to turn up!

A week later I travelled to Belgium to meet Melissa, who had already been to a music festival out there (have a read of her blog). I was really excited to be competing again and did my first junior women’s race since my exams. It was daunting sat on the start line with three national champions, one silver world medallist and the regional champion! The national champion got a bouquet of flowers just for turning up!
Soon the race got underway, unable to see the lap board for spectators, I had to count down the 40 laps. I attacked just after the 70 euro prime (think I should have gone for the prime instead for 70 euros!). I got off the front and heard them all clicking gears to try to catch me. I was steadily getting brought back and there was a counter attack, I was thinking the chase was really going to develop, but it never did! Eventually the girl who counter attacked, was nowhere to be seen so we were all then racing for second. Hearing ‘lasta ronder’ (last lap) on the speakers, I started thinking about my position and moved to the front. I got swamped on the cobbled corner, (I later developed blisters on my hands from the cobbles) but managed to move up coming out the corner. On the last straight I managed to avoid the ‘ridge of death’ (a ditch in the middle of the road) then battled in the bunch to the line! I finished a respectable 12th. Not bad for my first women’s race back!

After the race I changed and watched the men’s derny crit (it looked mental) although I’d love to have a go!

Tired the next day Mel and Me trudged down to be beach to rest our legs and sunbathe – important preparation for my first ever Belgium women senior race, which started at 6 o’clock that night. Yet again the starting bunch was daunting with 50+ riders and teams represented were such as Top Sport, Rabobank and AA Drink. Somehow I managed to get a place on the start line although the girl next to me swerved, so I couldn’t get clipped in immediately. On the narrow roads I could barley see the front from the back of the bunch. Being in this position also meant I would nearly stop on each corner and then have to sprint to get back on! I moved up to Mel and it seemed easier at the front, although having to battle to keep my position wasn’t easy. It was taking me over a lap to move to the front but no time at all to get to the back. An average speed of 25 miles an hour and after the junior race, my legs were starting to feel the burn and the blisters were getting worse on the two cobbled sections. I was working through the pain and kept moving to the front where it felt easier on the legs but this meant elbow to elbow with others and jostling over place. With 3 laps to go and four women down the road, I was on the front of the peleton. I felt good and even managed to attack a couple of times and with a lap to go the break was still away although the main group were still racing like it was all to play for. We came into the bunch sprint, which was mayhem. I came 26th place, which I’m very pleased in a tough senior race.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Junior National Championships - my last race before A-Levels

Sitting near the front early on watching
for attacks (Guy Swarbrick/

Leading up to the Junior National Championships at Brynmawr, I was slightly worried because I had been ill before the Cheshire Classic (having to settle for just sitting in and finishing in the bunch). I didn’t want another cold so had been taking it easy, although still raced the Tuesday night crit at Salt Ayre (couldn’t resist), finishing 8th with the 2/3/4 men!

We were greeted on arrival with warm sunny weather – unbelievable! It was going to be the first race of the year in double figures..! We all went to get changed and realised Nic, Hayley and Lauren all had bright pink nails - totally unplanned. On the way to debrief with Nic we saw all the Maxgear lads with Wayne. Stopped for a chat, and a quick picture, the boys wished us luck and we set off!
As the race got underway, I decided to sit near the front as I knew that in the past few races that a break had got away. Myself and Nicola made a few attacks through the race but none getting very far.

Nicola off the front
(Guy Swarbrick/

With less than 15 miles to go I decided to go for a big attack. It was totally unplanned, but I got a gap of 10 seconds. I was gaining time, until one of the senior women decided to pull me back. She was able to out gear me on the very slight decent with only 6 miles to go. The finish was coming up fast, and I had just used up a lot of energy in the wind!

Crossing the finish line - 10th Junior
(Guy Swarbrick/
At the bottom of the 4km climb (5k to go) two seniors and a junior were away. I was on the front, but Nicola came round from the back to get me back up to the junior. As we reached the junior, Elinor Barker attacked and split the bunch in two. Unfortunatly due to the massive effort off the front, I couldn’t quite go with it and was stuck in no-man’s land with another girl. We started to gain on the lead bunch – containing all the favourites, but I got cramp and couldn’t make it (a lesson learned to drink more next time!!). I just about crawled over the finish line as 10th junior before anyone caught me.

An enjoyable race but not quite the result I was looking for. Unfortunately racing will take a back seat for a month now until all my A-Level exams are over.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Junior Brabantse Piljs

I got to the race circuit, which was near the centre of Brussels and rode down the hill (featured in the race) to the HQ. I was wondering how we were going to cope racing up that hill 13 times!

Before the race I decided to do a loop to test it out, while Melissa was on rollers. The start of the cobbled climb luckily had a non cobbled path up the side and the steepest part of the climb wasn't cobbled - not as bad as i'd thought.
When I got to the top of the climb I saw some riders waiting for the start, so I decided to ride back down to get Melissa. When I got to the bottom I realised she'd already set off to the top!

The climb
Being last to the start line ensured I was yet again at the very back! I decided pretty quickly that this bunch was definitely going to split, so I had to make my way quickly to the front.
On the first lap, the descent was mayhem. It had rained earlier and the surface was slightly slippy, so there were lots of crashes. Luckily I managed to avoid all of them although unfortunately Melissa got stuck behind one. After 3 laps the bunch had split and I had made selection being in a group of 20 away. The pace increased again as there were a few attacks on the hill. Ian (Mel's dad) kept shouting for me to move higher up the bunch at the bottom of the climb! I asked him how many laps to go - he said three, although it actually turned out to be eight! After lots of attacks, 4 riders eventually managed to break free. Another attacked with two to go. I saw it go, but had nothing left, so had to settle for sitting in and waiting for the sprint. The last time up the climb we took a right instead of a left and onto the finishing straight. The other girls were really going for it, but I dug deep and despite being rolled, managed to kick round another rider ahead to finish 7th.
Me next to the Champion-
System Lorry
The atmosphere was amazing, since we were a support race for the spring classic and going through the finishing straight with all the barriers was a brilliant experience.

After the race, it was time to head home back to England, saying bye to Melissa (she was staying till Sunday) and putting the bike in the car I noticed we were parked next to all the team lorries, and close by were all the Champion Systems lorries! I had to stop and have my photo taken with, which made me miss the Eurotunnel train!

I had a brilliant time racing in Belgium and can't wait till the Cheshire classic on Sunday.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Eagle RC Team Series Race – Hog Hill

I started the race at the very back of a bunch of 76 riders, not the place to be..! Fortunately I managed to make my way to the front in the first lap and tried an attack. This was brought back and a few more attacks went. The bunch stayed largely together, although the attacks made the race a bit harder – just my sort of race!
With 4 laps to go, a Mule Bar girl attacked and got away. I was in the middle of the bunch, so could not react myself and willed the others to chase, but it never materialised. She got a16 seconds on the bunch very quickly and coming into the last lap it seemed we were racing for second.  Unfortunately for the rider off the front, she punctured. I had moved up and was 4th wheel as the sprint opened out. I managed to sprint past two and hold off the others for 2nd place following Emily Barnes who took the win! Another good race for me (especially considering the problems I had on the course during the Essex Giro with punctures last year) and can't wait for our week in Holland/Belgium!

Tuesday 28 February 2012

The coal road challenge..

It was that time of year again this Sunday, where my dad thinks its a good idea to ride the coal road challenge. Setting off in the middle group, there was no easy start (you always get some fast men smashing it!). Unfortunately Dad got a puncture at the first big hill and told me to continue without him, never to be seen again till the finish...
The 'bunch' splintered as the speed was high and I managed to stay in the front few, a while further down the road I kept wavering on and off the back. Eventually I was alone. Unsure of directions and struggling against the wind, I even made up a song about being on my own! I was beginning to wonder why I was even doing the challenge. A while later some men caught me and I rode with them just to the feed station just getting a little breather.
Ugh, after the feed station the hill was bigger than I remember soon the gruelling extent of the climb started to cause me some pain... later I was on my own yet again (singing my lonely song) and a Mr speedy came flying past. I jumped on his wheel getting a small tow to some riders who I rode with back to the finish. I waited there to slowly clap my Dad in. 67 miles over one of the highest roads in Cumbria, partially alone. Somewhat character building... still, managed it 10 minutes quicker than last year (more than I can say for my poor Dad!).

First 'road race' of the year, done! Next up, March crits, Team series and Cheshire Classic.
Eve x