The road racing season is well upon us - yeaaauugh!!
Well, actually I've been quite enjoying it because I've been at a number of races and been getting to know the new names and faces in our region, as well as catching up with the old faces. I always enjoy the social aspect of women's cycle racing.
There have been quite a few women's races on, and also with the London Women's League taking off you keep meeting the same women on regular occasions and having almost identical duels.
Having such a league where there are regular ride-offs against one another to be at the top of the individual and team rankings is almost like the race for the Football Premiership title, or even like Formula 1 where there is an individual title and a constructor's competition.
We've had 4 rounds so far in the London Women's Cycle Racing League. All of the races have drawn record turn-outs, including the last round which was a time trial. The 25-mile time trial, organised by Addiscombe Cycling Club normally only gets a handful of women taking part. This year, as it was round 4 of the women's league, they had 23 women. I think the men must have thought Christmas had come! The competition was hotly contested too, with the seeded girls going to all lengths to be sure to stay in the top placings.
We've got a little break in proceedings before the next race takes place in mid-May.
So yeah, the league has gone well so far, and I'm very pleased about that.
I've been at quite a few races, but ugh - I haven't done much racing. All this co-ordination of league races and being women's captain in my cycling club takes me away from training and I don't always have the mind-set to compete or put on the gung ho instinct while racing. It's making me all soft! So, my races have been quite mediocre so far. This hasn't been helped by a bout of asthma, which I am sure has been spurred on by this mysterious ash cloud from Iceland that's hanging over the northern hemisphere.
So, I did Hog Hill a couple of weeks ago and absolutely suffered, I did the Windsor women's team series road race and thought I was going to faint off the bike after one lap. I did the Crystal Palace Road Race and conked out with an asthma attack. I chanced it with the Addiscombe time trial and got through with a fairly modest time. The way I was coughing and heaving at the start I wasn't sure I'd make it to the first roundabout! So I was glad of my time all the same.
Crystal Palace this week was the first race I did where I was trying vaguely to be competitive, and I actually felt good about it. I worked with Liz from London Phoenix and we shared the work as we raced around the tight circuit. Of course it all became a case of each one for herself in the closing laps, but we were really pleased about the way we'd raced - even if we were at the back end of proceedings! I even gained my first British Cycling point of the season! I look forward to getting out to more races, hopefully with more training under my belt. What I look forward to most is enjoying going to the races and feeling like I want to go back at the end of the day.
Photos by John Mullineaux (London CycleSport)