….Well maybe Queen of Richmond Park!
Today I rode out with the lovely Alicia Bamford, founder of Queen of the Mountains, a new women’s performance cycling brand launching via Kickstarter.
Queen of the Mountains is building a strong community of female cyclists, with regular rides on Tuesdays in Regents Park, Thursdays in Richmond Park and a variety of Sunday rides with brunch!
This morning’s ride was super social, with everyone chatting and enjoying the winter sun. The ethos of the rides is to welcome all women (and men), of all abilities. No one is left behind and the chat continues over coffee post ride.
Information about the rides can be found on the website where you can sign up for the newsletter for regular ride updates. A longer ride is planned for Mothers Day from Giro Cafe in Esher; what a perfect way for mums to get some me time!
Alicia told me they have adventurous plans for future cycling events to inspire women to challenge themselves.
“We want to inspire women to ride and to climb their own mountain, to set their own challenge and feel that sense of achievement on the way up, as well as at the summit. We’re introducing more women to the beauty, freedom and sense of achievement that comes with cycling.”
I got a sneak preview of the Spring/Summer collection, inspired by Mont Ventoux, which is available for pre-order on the Queen of the Mountains Kickstarter page. There is only 7 days left, so act swiftly if you are keen to be one of the first to wear this stunning kit.
The first range includes beautiful, technical jerseys, shorts, gilets, socks and more, all designed for women. Manufactured in Italy, using performance technical wicking fabrics, the kit is cut specifically for the female body shape in the riding position. It has well thought out features such as a waterproof zipped jersey pocket for your smart phone and no scratchy labels!
We are hoping to get some kit to try out on a ride soon so watch this space……
You can also find Queen of the Mountains on Facebook and Twitter
CyclingShorts.cc has championed women’s cycling at grass roots level and those involved in the sport who offer cyclists the opportunity to race and move to the next level for many years, whether that be gaining the confidence to ride a sportive or race as a professional. This year we are proud to be sponsors and the media partner for Team22 WRT and we continue to sponsor the unique work by the Racing Chance Foundation. Browsing the internet the other night I was pleased to see nominations are now open for the Women’s Sport Trust Awards also known as #BeAGameChanger Awards. The awards have been set up to recognise those individuals and organisations doing the most to progress women’s sport.
The Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger awards 2016 are supported by Microsoft and they showcase the irresistible nature of women’s sport and inspire others to take action (full details of the awards and categories at the bottom of this article).
With this in mind I’m going to take this opportunity to champion our very own Heather Bamforth who is often overlooked and regularly copied by those with higher profiles in the sport.
Heather reporting from the Cheshire Classic.
Heather has been a longstanding member of the CyclingShorts.cc writing team; covering international races like the Tour de France but also taking the majority of her time to write about and report on grass roots cycling and development – take a look at her extremely popular Women’s Guide to Racing which has been used by many a newcomer to the sport.
For those that don’t know already… since returning to the sport of cycling in 2011, Heather has been working behind the scenes to increase the number of opportunities for women in competitive cycling. In 2013, the inaugural North West Women’s Series was promoted by Heather, which featured groundbreaking road racing for women.
In 2014, along with three others, she established The Racing Chance Foundation, a registered charity which helps to provide women with a pathway in competitive cycling from novice to elite level.
In 2014 & 2015, Racing Chance coached over 200 women, and following Heather’s lead, other women around the country set up similar series to that in the North West. As a result of Heather’s original initiative and the subsequent additional series, British Cycling have seen an increase in female membership with a racing licence increasing from 800 in 2012 to over 1500.
©Daniel Styler 2015
Heather’s vision has enabled the sport of road racing in cycling to become more than just a dream for women. Without her there would be far fewer women racing, especially at the important grass roots level.
So, as many of you already know who have benefitted from Heather’s input/support she is going to cringe at this praise, but I think we all owe it to her to give her the props she’s due. Heather earns nothing from cycling, she has a totally unrelated full on full time career, but I can assure you every spare minute of the day and night she’s thinking of the next thing she can do to raise women’s cycling higher. I can attest to this with the many hours the two of us spend chatting through her plans… and trust me she has big plans in the pipeline!
Ladies, Heather has your back so lets return the favour give her the pat on the back she deserves and get her crowned as an Ambassador of Women’s Sport.
Let’s try and do this!!!
Nominations for the awards are now open across nine categories. Follow this link to nominate the athlete, team, organisation or individual who has made a positive contribution to women’s sport.
The categories are:
Ambassador of Women’s Sport
Journalist of the Year
Media Initiative of the Year
Inspiring Initiative – Local/Grassroots
Inspiring Initiative – National
National Governing Body of the Year
Sponsor Partnership of the Year
Sporting Role Model/s
Imagery of the Year
Closing date 21st February 2016 – so get your skates on!
To nominate someone click here: http://tammyparlour31119268.polldaddy.com/s/beagamechanger-nomination-form-2016?p=1
The Tour de Yorkshire, one of the most spectacular and well received events in the British sporting calendar, returns for a second year with new routes and new challenges. The huge crowds will be entertained by Race Ambassadors and a Tour de Yorkshire Caravan which will visit key points on the route before the race starts.
The route will take the 18 teams of eight riders to all four corners of Yorkshire, linking together the county’s sporting, historic, industrial and literary greats.
Stage One begins in Beverley, home to one of England’s finest Minsters, before the peloton races to Tadcaster and on to Knaresborough which was the scene of some of the biggest crowds for the Tour de France in 2014. Taking in some of the Grand Depart 2014 route, a series of climbs takes the riders past Brimham Rocks before a finish in Settle.
On Stage Two, men and women will face exactly the same stage which starts in Otley, home of the current women’s road World Champion Lizzie Armitstead. From Otley riders travel south, on roads not raced on in the Tour de France or Tour de Yorkshire, towards Conisbrough Castle and on to Doncaster.
Tour De Yorkshire 2015 | Scarborough to Bridlington – Stage 1 ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc
Stage Three will be familiar to those who raced in 2015, starting in Captain James Cook’s home town of Middlesbrough, then into Herriot Country before tackling the infamous Sutton Bank, the first of six King of the Mountain points in just one stage. Riders then head over the North York Moors and down towards Scarborough for what promises to be a thrilling finale and a race to the very end.
Riders joined host towns at a launch event in Otley, where Welcome to Yorkshire’s Sir Gary Verity and A.S.O.’s Christian Prudhomme unveiled the full route.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
“For next year’s race we’ve selected routes which showcase Yorkshire’s stunning scenery and will also deliver an excellent sporting event. Our first race was phenomenally successful, bringing 1.5 million spectators to the roadside, generating over £50million for the regional economy and being broadcast around the world – not many races can say that. The stages we’ve revealed today are eagerly anticipated by fans, riders and teams and we have all the ingredients for another spectacular race which will bring the crowds back out.”
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, said:
“I am always happy to be back in Yorkshire and today marks an important milestone for the race. Feedback from teams and riders last year was excellent and this year we have three stages which together create a race right to the end; the final King of the Mountain points are barely six kilometres from the final finish line.”
In addition to the professional races, the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride will give amateur cyclists the chance to ride many of the roads ridden by the pros in a newly designed sportive route, which will start and finish in Scarborough on Sunday 1 May. The sportive route will follow parts of Stage 3 of the men’s race whilst also taking in several alternative roads to allow for all 6000 participants to finish in their own time.
A highlight of the sportive will see amateur riders finishing with a 1km sea-front sprint finish and crossing the very same finish line as the professional riders with the same support from the waiting crowds. There will be three distances for riders to choose from; 40km, 85km and 115km. The sportive sold out in a matter of hours in 2015 and those hoping to secure a place in the 2016 ride can register their interest and be first to hear when this year’s event opens at letouryorkshire.com/sportive
Returning sponsors for the men’s race have also been confirmed, with Yorkshire Bank sponsoring the Sprint Jersey; Dimension Data sponsoring the Digital Vote / Most Aggressive Rider Jersey; and Mavic returning as the Official Supplier. Yorkshire Bank also sponsor the Tour de France legacy project – the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries – which have already helped over a thousand children in Yorkshire ride a bike for free.
So, here you have it, your full 2016 route for @letouryorkshire. It’s going to be epic. #TDYpic.twitter.com/y7sjftv5FO
Detailed stage profiles
Stage 1: Friday 29 April 2016: Beverley to Settle
- Total stage length: 184km
- 2 x sprint points (Bubwith, Giggleswick)
- 1 x King of the Mountain (Greenhow Hill)
- Total ascent: 1832m
The first stage will set off from Saturday Market in Beverley. The riders will parade around the town – which also played host to the race in 2015, then through North Bar before heading north west to the Official Start at Beverley Racecourse; Holme on the Wolds, Market Weighton (which also saw the race pass through in May 2015), and on westwards to a sprint point at Bubwith. From there, the peloton will race through North Duffield and west to Cawood – scene of Dick Turpin’s famous escape from York – and on to Tadcaster, famous for its breweries. After that, riders will visit Boston Spa, Wetherby, North Deighton and Knaresborough, home of the famous ‘spotty house’ from the Tour de France, decorated with the red spots of the King of the Mountains’ jersey. From there riders will travel to Ripley, home of the UK’s only Hotel du Ville rather than Town Hall, and on to Pateley Bridge where the first King of the Mountain will be won at Greenhow Hill. After that, it’s on to Grassington, then Threshfield and a return to some of the Tour de France roads, through Cracoe then Gargrave, the riders will then cross the finish line in Settle for the first time before a sprint at Giggleswick. They will complete a 12km loop back to the A65 and round to Settle town centre for an expected bunch finish in the town.
Stage 2: Saturday 30 April 2016: Otley to Doncaster
- Total stage length: 135.5km
- Same route for men and women
- 2 x sprint points (Scholes, Warmsworth)
- 3 x King/ Queen of the Mountain (Harewood Bank, East Rigton, Conisbrough Castle)
- Total ascent: 1110m
Stage Two marks an important milestone for the Tour de Yorkshire, as the women’s race will be held on exactly the same route as the men’s race. The women’s race will start in the morning and the men’s race will begin in the early afternoon. Full details of the women’s race will be released in the following weeks.
The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire race will be a full stage race, on 30 April, using the same course as Stage 2 #TDYpic.twitter.com/MKmgVL7Dw4
The route begins in Otley, home town of current women’s road World Champion Lizzie Armitstead. The Official Start is at Pool-in-Wharfedale, before the riders face an early King/ Queen of the Mountain challenge at Harewood Bank, before heading south east towards another King/ Queen of the Mountain at East Rigton, then to Thorner and a sprint at Scholes, then to Barwick in Elmet crossing the A1 at Aberford. Riders then go past Lotherton Hall, into Sherburn in Elmet, down to South Milford and Monk Fryston before swinging south to Birkin and Beal. The route then heads through Kellingley and on to Knottingley, Pontefract (home of liquorice) and Wentbridge, before North and South Elmsall, and on to hidden gem Hooton Pagnell. There is a sprint point at Warmsworth before a lap of, and King/ Queen of the Mountain, at 11th century Conisbrough Castle. The peloton will then head towards Tickhill and Bawtry before racing along the perimeter of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, past Doncaster Racecourse and onto a sprint finish on South Parade.
Stage 3: Sunday 1 May 2016: Middlesbrough to Scarborough
- Total stage length: 196km
- 2 x sprint points (Thirsk and Whitby Abbey)
- 6 x King of the Mountain (Sutton Bank, Blakey Ridge, Grosmont, Robin Hood’s Bay, Harwood Dale and Oliver’s Mount)
- Total ascent: 2593m
If Stages One and Two are for the sprinters, Stage Three will certainly appeal to the climbers. With an elevation of 2593 meters and six King of the Mountain classifications, the route begins in Middlesbrough, birth place of Captain James Cook, and takes the riders on a challenging and technical route through much of the stunning North York Moors National Park. From the start line at Middlesbrough’s MIMA Gallery, they travel south over the Official Start on the outskirts of Nunthorpe on the A172, through Great Ayton, home of the Captain Cook School Room, and on to Stokesley, Hutton Rudby, Winton and down to Northallerton, the county town of North Yorkshire. From there, the riders head to Thirsk’s market square where there will be a sprint point, before the infamous Sutton Bank and a King of the Mountain. Onwards to Helmsley, winner of Britain’s Best Market Town, then to Kirkbymoorside and heading north to Hutton le Hole and a King of the Mountain at Blakey Ridge. The peloton will recognise Castleton and many of the villages towards Whitby as the route is similar to that for the 2015 race. There will be a King of the Mountain at Grosmont, where in 2015 riders were welcomed by a steam salute by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and riders will pass through Sleights and Ruswarp before dipping down to Whitby. There is a sprint point at Whitby Abbey, before the race makes a visit to Hawkser. Next up is a battle over a King of the Mountain at Robin Hood’s Bay, before another King of the Mountain at Harwood Dale. From there it’s full speed to East Ayton and Irton, before a final King of the Mountain at Oliver’s Mount and a sprint finish in Scarborough’s North Bay.
We’re also excited that for the 2016 @letouryorkshire, there will be a Publicity Caravan running ahead of the cyclists. #TDY
Strava Launches Annual Achievements for 2015
Annual achievements brings new yearly trophies for segments and personal records
London, UK (1st January, 2015) — Strava, the online network for athletes, has launched new Annual Achievements trophies for segment leaderboards and personal records.
Today [1st January 2015] will see Annual Achievements trophies added to Strava. Cyclists and runners will now receive annual KOM [King of the Mountains], QOM [Queen of the Mountains] and CRs [Course Records] trophies.
Strava members are still able to filter to view yearly leaderboards, making it easier to see progress over a year and give everyone a chance to earn a spot on a segment leaderboard.
Previously earned KOM, QOM or CRs will live on as all-time records and badges of honour. They will still be viewable on profile pages or on the overall default leaderboard. All-time achievements will always supersede annual ones in segment results.
New icons have been added to coincide with the Annual Achievements launch. In the segment results section of an activity, you will see solid icons for all-time achievements and outlined icons for annual ones.
“We know that for many of our athletes on Strava, they plan goals and track improvements a year at a time,” explained Gareth Nettleton, Director of International Marketing at Strava. “The new Annual Achievements leaderboards give priority to yearly progress and give Strava members the chance to stake their claim in 2015, while still respecting the all-time achievements of Strava members.”
He added: “We’re thinking of this as honouring the world record holder in the marathon but also recognising the leaders each year.”
Strava encourages members to set goals for 2015 and tackle segments sensibly and safely as outlined in Stand With Us
, a few simple guidelines created to ensure that Strava’s impact is positive.
Strava is the online network that connects the global community of athletes. Founded in 2009, millions of athletes have joined Strava for the competition and camaraderie found in tracking and sharing their fitness activities.
Strava’s free mobile apps and website help members discover and plan workouts, record and share activities, and analyse and compare performance. Strava’s ability to connect athletes around the world makes fitness a more social experience, providing extra motivation even when training alone.
It’s always good to get out on a bright Autumn day.
I love this time of year as the Summer turns to Autumn, the leaves begin to turn some of the most amazing colours and winter gradually gets its claws into the land as the frosty mornings start cold and bright. However if I’m really honest I hate the cold dark dank days that also come in late autumn and winter. However on the bright side it is a great time to get out and play in the mud!
As many a great explorer has said “there is no such thing as bad weather just poor preparation” actually I’m not really sure who said that maybe not Scott! But seriously you can ride in any weather if you are wearing the correct clothing or have some of the top tips below to keep feet and hands warm.
So do not be afraid of the weather hug it tight and be a conquering hero of Autumn and Winter riding.
I noticed just this last week that the number of CX Sportives is on the increase and a quick trawl through the events list suggests that they are very popular in the South, come on you guys in the North make sure your events are publicised.
I rode my very first CX Sportive this year, the amazing Adventure X event based around Keswick. What an experience it was, don’t forget to read my review of the event elsewhere on this website.
So if you fancy trying a little bit of cyclocross but don’t have a CX bike, well don’t worry most events are open to wide range of bikes, pretty much anything will do, except perhaps your pride and joy the full carbon road bike!
From my experience riders will turn up on any bike from a full carbon CX bike, hardtail MTB, Full suspension MTB to a flat bar hybrid. The only thing I would recommend is that you check the ride profile and make sure you have a suitable range of gears for the event unless you are riding single speed! I got caught out on the Mini Monster Adventure X in Keswick.
CX Sportive (www.cxsportive.com) has several good rides available this season:
CX Sportives are the fantastic new mixed surface events that are combining the thrills of on and off-road riding into one awesome experience!
•Sportive style events on fast, mixed surface courses
•Courses from 40-80km
•Full sportive support and infrastructure
•Great for all kinds of bikes: CX, MTB, Hybrid, 29er, Singlespeed & even Road!*
Riding a mix of road and off road is so exhilarating.
Big challenge rides tend to come in two flavours; massive road sportives and hardcore MTB enduros. But why not mix it up, take on the best of both and spice up your riding?
CX Sportive is an exciting new ride format. It’s ideal for your cross bike, but equally suitable for your XC MTB or even road winter training bike, tweaked for a little rough stuff!* The course mixes back roads, interwoven with byways and a few short tougher off road links that will certainly bring on the heat!
Your choice of steed will define your ride. Will the versatility of a MTB offer the best performance over mixed terrain? Will the pure speed of your road bike make up for time lost on the short, occasional off road dismounts? Or will the CX bike give you the best return where it counts?
To prove a point (or just let you fly the flag for your tribe), they even include your bike choice in your results listing; so if you insist on tackling the route on your mum’s folding shopper, they’ll credit your lunacy!**
You’ll have a range of time targets to aim for, with age and gender adjustments; including full route marking, RFID timing, top notch catering and first class, friendly organisation and support.
*Not recommended for your beloved, super-light carbon road thoroughbred!
**Disclaimer: Don’t tackle the route on your mum’s folding shopper!
Ride X the Evan CX rides
The bike supermarket that is Evans have also added CX Sportives to their list of Ride It events this year. They might well be worth checking out if you live in the South (Evans Ride it CX Sportives).
For the Autumn/Winter season they’ve added 4 exciting mixed terrain routes to their existing Sportive offering. As with all of their road sportives, all routes will be fully way-marked with GPX files published pre-event. High5 sponsored feed stations will help you tackle a variety of riding surfaces (tarmac, mud, grass & more!) whilst clocking up some worthy mileage in this new format. The routes are best suited to cyclocross and adventure-road bikes that are up to some off-road exploring.
All rides include: Fully way-marked routes • Well stocked High5 feed stations • Mechanical support • GPS files published pre-event • Free High5 pack worth £10 when you sign up 8 weeks in advance • Free Garmin hire • Times published post-event
Cycling Weekly Adventure X Series
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for next years Adventure X series promoted and run by Cycling Weekly with the support of changing sponsors. The event I rode in October was amazing, one of the best challenges I have have ever taken part in (more details can be found in my report on Adventure X Lakeland Monster Miles)
With so much going on on the cyclocross sportive scene surely it must be time for you to ditch the winter rode bike and get yourself a CX bike and rise to the challenge. I did and I haven’t looked back :)
Stepping out into the heart of the Catalan town in the northern region of Spain after a 2 hour direct flight from a London airport, it’s not hard to see why Girona is considered home and chosen training ground to a number of professional cyclists. Hidden in the maze of medieval buildings of buzzing restaurants and bars lies Bike Breaks Girona, a bike rental, cycling holidays and guided cycling center which quickly became my home for the week of the Girona Gran Fondo festival.
Being lead-out into the moutains by Neil ©HayleyDavies
With three packages to choose from, there was plenty to get involved in throughout the week. Daily rides from the shop lead by Neil Martin, ex-professional and Olympian, otherwise known as “Dan Martin’s Dad”, welcome dinner, a nocturne, timed hill-climb, massage, pasta party and the concluding 125km Gran Fondo, the Gold group was clearly the place to be.
I can’t say Girona would have been my first cycling holiday of choice, however I was quickly shown why it should be. Within 5 -10 minutes of cycling out from the shop, we were onto quiet, pot-hole-free rolling roads into the countryside. Ask for a ‘flat ride’ and you’ll get an evil chuckle back. Nestled halfway between the Pyrenees and the beaches of the Costa Brava, flat doesn’t exist here. Not much of a climber, it took me a day or so to find my legs, but it wasn’t long before I too was enjoying the 10km climbs. I can’t thank the ride guides enough for the support throughout with local road knowledge (warnings of climbs or how long before a coffee stop), motor pacing me back on when I was dropped on climbs, and helping me make the most of the descents at speed.
On our second shop ride, we were treated to some special guests, local professional riders Marc de Maar (UHC), Sharon Laws (UHC), Lucy Martin (Estado de Mexico), Carlee Taylor (Orica-AIS) and Loren Rowney (Specialized Lululemon) who were happy to share their training route to the coast. This wasn’t the last time we would see them either, volunteering their time to marshal the nocturne and the Gran Fondo.
‘You will see the angel!’
‘You will see the Angel!’ ©HayleyDavies
Unlike many cycling holidays or training camps, the festival also allowed some competitive battles. The timed hill climb on Thursday morning was a tough 11km climb up to Els Angels. The hottest day of the week so far, the ascent of 404m was tough… for those competing (yes, I chickened out!). But with a Tag Heuer watch on offer, there was a lot to compete for. Setting off in 2 minute intervals, the men’s winner Raul Castello Garcia (Bike Esplugues) beat local favourite and bike lead Neil Martin by 32 sceonds, finishing in an astounding 22 minutes and 16 seconds. Adel Tyson-Bloor, English national rider for Mulebar-Girl Sigma Sport was pipped to gold by Katrina Grove in 26 minutes and 2 seconds. Was it worth the climb? For the pasta party at the top over-looking the Pyrenees and the coast, it certainly was.
The rescheduled on Thursday night nocturne (postponed on Tuesday night due to a storm – thankfully reducing the humidity), was quite possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ridden. Not your usual nocturne format, only 300m of the 2.5km course was timed. However, this 300m section also happened to have an average gradient of 7.4% (with a steeper section of 12%). And as if that wasn’t challenging enough, it was cobbled! With recovery between timed sections riders were able to take the 10 laps at their own pace, although it wasn’t long before I was lapped. This was truly a unique experience, not only for the cyclists who took part, but the locals too, who had all taken to the streets, including Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar to cheer us on, and Lucy Martin, Sharon Laws and Loren Rowney handing out water and energy products as well as words of encouragement at the top of each timed section. I don’t think I would have completed the 10 climbs if it hadn’t have been for the cheers!
Enjoying the views from another false-flat ©HayleyDavies
The week came to a close on Saturday, following Friday night pre-race drinks, with the Gran Fondo. Along with 200 other cyclists all wearing the commemorative jerseys, we really were treated to a tour of the region. We were sent out into the Garrotxa region, famous for its prehistoric volcanic activity – this says it all – climbing a total of 2000m over 125km, majority of which happened in the first 60km, making it a tough start to the day. Once we’d broken the ascending barrier however, we were treated to corn and sunflower fields, panoramic views, woodlands and some fantastic winding descents, accompanied and guided by our very own police escort. Although it was a challenging route, the beauty and serenity of the area made it worth the exertion. Rolling across the finish line with two others after 5h20 in the saddle (just under 2 hours behind the fastest man, Neil Martin), we were treated to well-deserved medals, a BBQ and beers.
This had been a truly unique week. It’s not often you’re ride-guided by professionals, treated to some fun competitive events with lucrative prizes and get to meet and mingle with so many other cyclists in what is truly a beautiful area perfect for cycling. And although I write this with 500km and 7200m of climbing in my legs, I can’t wait to get back there next year.
To find out more and to keep an eye on dates for next year, check out http://www.gironagranfondo.com/ or follow @bikebreaks.
With thanks to:
BikeBox Online Windsor for rental of a BikeBox Alan
The Windsor Bike Company for loan of a Garmin bike computer
Osmo Nutrition for fueling me through the week
Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!