….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
This was the response from @Jonhinio when I asked the Twittersphere what was important on a Winter/Spring Cycling Training Camp!
Not surprisingly the other answers revolved around food, sun and scenery with @SJcyclist feeding back “I loved Mallorca, quiet roads, great weather, sympathetic drivers and stunning scenery”
It is often hard to fit winter miles in around life, work and of course the variable UK weather, so a winter or spring training camp allows you clock up some serious mileage before your racing season or sportive season starts and get some much needed vitamin D!
Whatever your cycling goals the extra hours in the saddle early season will certainly help and if you are aiming for a big sportive like the Etape du Tour you will have the chance to ride climbs of similar length, which we just don’t have in the UK.
And yes the food is vitally important! If you have only been riding occasionally over winter then expecting your body to ride 4-6 days in succession is a big ask, and certainly not wise on calorie deficit!
David Butcher, Owner of 7hundred in Windsor and organiser of Training Camps in the Costa Blanca, says
“Motivation is the biggest driver. When it’s dark and miserable in the UK it can be difficult to find the motivation to ride, that can affect endorphin levels creating a negative feedback loop. The allure of different roads and warmer climes, even if only for a short period, can help restore motivation and reinvigorate your training.”
Hundreds of options exist for organised training camps where everything is done for you, the real pro experience! Just book a flight and pack your bike (or even hire one there) and everything else is taken care of.
45 Degrees North in Morzine, in the French Alps offer a luxury chalet with a hot tub, delicious food from a professional chef, a Level 3 Performance Coach, complimentary sports massage, a bike mechanic, homemade energy bars, laundry facility and a full support vehicle to carry extra layers, tools, food and drinks (and riders who fancy starting part way up the climb or a lift home at the end of the day!).
I asked Chris Sellings at 45 Degrees North how a rider should choose a training camp.
“This depends entirely on you, your budget, what you want to get out of your training camp and absolutely the time of year. For example, if you are looking for an early training camp in the mountains, you can rule out the Alps, but could find several in Mallorca, Andalucia or even South East Asia. This depends on your race calendar and targeted events. Generally, athletes will attend a training camp early in the season (February to May for UK) to improve their base fitness before the season really kicks in. Athletes targeting races later in the season (August to September) can absolutely benefit from a training boost mid-season (June to August).Some people go for camps run by big name coaches and for others it’s about taking the opportunity to explore a new location. There are a plethora of training camps out there to meet every budget and time restraint. The key is to think about your race season and whether you want to attend a training camp to lay base fitness or to peak for an important race. This determines the time of year to aim for. Next think about the type of fitness you need for your race. There is little point heading to the mountains if you are targeting flat, fast crit races and vice versa. Then it comes down to your budget. If you can afford to attend a training camp run by a famous coach and staying in luxury accommodation, then get in fast and book. Otherwise seek out a good quality camp that offers great value for money and the more beautiful the rides on offer the better!”
Often riders are concerned about their ability to participate or concerned they might be the slowest and hold the group up. David from 7hundred advises “choose your camp carefully, if in doubt don’t be afraid to ask questions and be honest about your abilities when discussing pace. Why not encourage those you ride with to join you? It’s not a race! It’s also easier to ride in a group you know”.
Chris agrees “We all have to start somewhere and any self-respecting training camp will recognise this and cater for weaker riders. There are a variety of ways to do this. Weaker riders will generally ride together with an experienced guide. For longer more challenging rides such as sportive routes, they may be set off before the faster groups and even from a point further along the route. There will be a no drop policy in place so you don’t need to fear being left behind and becoming lost. Sometimes vehicle support will be offered. This means, if you become too tired you can climb into the vehicle and be driven home. This said, you should have a reasonable level of fitness before attending a training camp and be able to comfortably meet the minimum requirements set by the training camp. If you are not sure, seek guidance either from a club coach or the training camp operator prior to booking.”
Most training camps will offer a variety of riding groups, with the distance and speed of each ride varying accordingly. Helen from Twickenham Cycling Club, who make an annual pilgrimage to Majorca for Legro’s Training Camp, feels “setting expectation of the groups, advising people which group they should be in and having enough group leaders to ride with the slower riders and allowing those who up the pace unnecessarily to go off on their own” is key to a successful week.
At Hotel Dory in Riccione, Italy, the 4 routes for the following day are posted up on the notice board in the bar with the distance, speed, profile and estimated time. Riders sign up for the one they would like to complete the following day and the hotel allocates the appropriate number of ride leaders to each group. The convenience of having the lists in the bar means that should you find yourself still in the bar at midnight with another glass of Italian red then you can quickly cross your name out on the 150km mountainous ride and swap to the 40km flat tourist ride!
Alternatively, how about a DIY training camp with your friends, you can then choose everything yourselves and decide your own schedules and rides, but you may miss out on the support, structure and local knowledge of an organised trip.
There are also plenty of cycling holidays to choose from the difference according to David from 7hundred being “A training camp is more focused, concentrating on building an aerobic base and while a cycling holiday may be guided and cover the same ground, it might not be as beneficial for those looking to improve. Cycling holidays are generally more relaxed and an excellent way to explore new terrain without the pressure to perform. Decide what your goals are for the year, if you intend to race or you’re targeting some big sportives then a training camp will be beneficial. If you’re simply looking for motivation to get back on the bike and rediscover your cycling mojo, or purely for enjoyment of being on the bike, a cycling holiday is the way forward.”
Just booking a training camp can be the incentive to get out and train in the winter, it gives you something to work towards and look forward to when you are slogging it out in the gloomy UK winter. It will reinvigorate your training, boost your fitness and up your motivation levels, what’s not to like!
Level 3 British Cycling Coach
All images ©www.cyclingshorts.cc | www.chrismaher.co.uk
Giant Sheffield Women’s Elite ½ Cat Race
Gabriella Shaw (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) sprinted to victory in the third Giant Sheffield Women’s Elite, 1st and 2nd Cat circuit race.
The race built into a dramatic bunch sprint in the final few laps with former winner Tanya Griffiths trying to break free in a repeat of last years race.
The front of the race had been hotly contested through-out the sixty-minute circuit race, with Corley Cycles Drops RT driving the race along in the early stages.
Amy Gornall (Corley Cycles Drops RT) had escaped the pack, only to-be neutralized whilst the emergency services accessed part of the circuit.
The race re-started after the circuit had been cleared with Corley Cycles once again setting the pace.
Team Jadan’s Henrietta Colbourne rode aggressively on the front of the race, but was unable to forge ahead with counter moves from Charlotte Broughton (Corley Cycles), Rebecca Womersly (Corley Cycles) , Amy Gornall and Annasley Park (Team Giordana-Triton).
Annasley Park began the first move of the race initially, quickly marshaled by Rebecca Carter (Team WNT) and Hannah Walker (Team WNT).
After the re-start, Rebecca Womersly took-up the pace, before Annasley once-more found herself driving the race along.
The lead group whittled down to a manageable fifteen riders, as the girls looked amongst themselves to see who would try and break-free next.
With good representation from Corley Cycles Drops RT and Les Filles Racing Team whom had both fired riders off the front through-out, any move though soon got counteracted. The pace remained high as the final few laps grew close.
Womersley, then Gornall, then Womersley once more led the race. The bell lap was looming.
Gornall was joined by Tamara Davenne (Oxford University CC), then they were brought back together for the final lap and inevitable bunch sprint.
Elite/1/2 Women Results
1 Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours Intl 58.13
2 Henrietta Colborne Team Jadan “”
3 Charlotte Broughton Corley Cycles – Drops RT “”
4 Elizabeth-Jane Harris Army Cycling Union “”
5 Annasley Park Team Giordana- Triton “”
6 Jennifer George Les Filles Racing Team “”
7 Rebecca Womersley Corley Cycles – Drops RT “”
8 Elizabeth Stedman University of Sheffield CC 00.03
9 Delia Beddis Les Filles Racing Team “”
10 Tamara Davenne Oxford University Cycling Club “”
11 Laura Greenhalgh Les Filles Racing Team “”
12 Melissa Lowther Matrix Fitness “”
13 Amy Gornall Corley Cycles – Drops RT 00.07
14 Tanya Griffiths Velosure Starley Primal 00.08
15 Nicole Oh Les Filles Racing Team
16 Rebecca Carter Team WNT
17 Lucy Shaw Matrix Fitness Development
18 Sophie Lankford Team WNT
19 Hetty Niblett Team Velosport
20 Sian Botteley Velosure Starley Primal
21 Ellie Russell Sportcity Velo
22 Hannah Walker Team WNT
23 Charmaine Porter Army Cycling Union
24 Clover Murray Corley Cycles – Drops RT
25 Rebecca Rimmington
26 Jenny Holl Stirling Bike Club
27 Julia Van Campen Sheffrec CC
28 Melissa Brand IKON – Mazda
29 Laura Cheesman Velosure Starley Primal
30 Nicola Moore Squadra RT
31 Tracy Best Zappis Racing Team
32 Samantha Verrill Speedflex Race Team
33 Nikki Metcalfe Team WattCycle
34 Fiona Hunter Johnston Onit Cycles WRT
35 Karen Poole Team WattCycle
36 Sophie Black Elitevelo Kalas Sportswear CRT
Yesss Electrical – BikeBoxAlan Elite 1/2 Men’s Race
1 Christopher Lawless Team Wiggins
2 Graham Briggs JLT Condor
3 Jake Hales Spirit Bikes Racing Team
4 Connor Swift Polypipe Cycling Team
5 Adam Kenway SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
6 Tom Mazzone Polypipe Cycling Team
7 Simon Wilson Polypipe Cycling Team
8 Oliver Peckover Sherwood Pines Cycles SRAM RT
9 Alastair Hepworth Team Envelopemaster/Bikeboxalan
10 Richard Hepworth SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
11 Jacob Hennessy Spirit Bikes Racing Team
12 Samuel Williams One Pro Cycling
13 Kieran Simcox Bike Box Alan/Envelopemaster
14 Elliot Jones Paramount CRT
15 Alex Minting Neon-Velo Cycling Team
16 Ryan Davis SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
17 Edward Clemens Spirit Bikes Racing Team
18 Max Williamson Bike Box Alan/Whiston Velo
19 Buauna Ball Zappis Racing Team
20 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Junior Cycling Team
21 Michael Thompson Team Wiggins
22 Matthew Nowell Kuota – Spinergy – GSG
23 Thomas Traviss-Pollard Polypipe Cycling Team
24 James Hill Team Envelopemaster/Bikeboxalan
25 Joseph Clark Team Envelopemaster/Bikeboxalan
26 Adam Turner Andy Moore Autocentres Racing
27 Calum Lawson Broom Wagon Racing Team
28 Ashley Marshall Achieve Northside Skinnergate
29 David Clarke Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT
30 Jake Beach Knottingley Velo
31 Liam Davies Broom Wagon Racing Team
32 Cameron Jeffers Bill Nickson Cycles RT
33 Jacob Trotter Team Envelopemaster/Bikeboxalan
34 David Bates Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT
35 Luc Hall Team Wiggins
36 Alexander Colman Arrow Cycles
37 Andy Bishop Andy Moore Autocentres Racing
38 Matthew Hindmarsh Dinnington Racing Club
39 William Lewis High Peak Cycles RT
40 Liam Gilpin NFTO Race Club