After the success of last year’s inaugural Cycling Development North West women’s road race league, I was approached by Carley Brierley, a female coach in Blackpool, to assist her with developing some women’s race training sessions for women in the New Year, which Huw Williams has instigated.
After an overwhelming response, and all three sessions being oversubscribed within a week of going live, I decided that it would be a good idea to try and ease the move into road racing for women by including a novice league within the women’s league, especially given that there seems to be less early season circuit races (in the North West at least) this year.
Last year, a guy called Sean Jackson, of Cucina Cycles in the North East, provided some sponsorship money which I used for the Most Improved Rider Award and the Most Tenacious Rider Award. This year, we will be scrapping these awards and, instead, the money will be used to provide for the leaders in the Novice League.
You might think that I have gone off on a tangent with this concept, however the women who took part in the CDNW women’s league last year really improved as road racers as the season progressed. The races were aimed at developing confidence whilst being encouraging, with 100% (yes, that’s right 100%) of the women who completed my end of survey said that they would definitely recommend the races to a friend, and with this in mind, some novice women racers might be put off about joining the league thinking they don’t have a chance. But by holding a separate “mini-league” I hope to reach out to those women so that they will have an opportunity for a race within a race. Ultimately, there aren’t enough women to hold two separate races, but I know from experience that racing with second and third category women is much better than racing with fourth category men!
So ladies, if you want to get into racing, here is your chance! You will need a full racing licence (as you are racing on the open road) however if you are thinking of racing anyway, a day licence costs at least £10, so if you plan on doing more than three races, you will save money by purchasing a full licence. For the record, I am not a sales person for British Cycling, I am just someone trying to persuade more women to have a go at the sport I enjoy.
If you haven’t bought BC membership yet, you can find more about it here: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership
If you like the thought of giving racing a go and would like to register for the league, as a woman you don’t need to be a member of an affiliated club – it costs £5 to register for the league and you have to agree to marshal a race (it can be one you are riding if you can find somebody to do the marshalling for you): https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/club/subscriptions?&club_id=6406