Star-studded line-up for the Cheshire Classic on Sunday 26th April
Olympic gold medallists Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness Vulpine), Elinor Barker (Matrix Fitness Vulpine), Joanna Rowsell (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) join multi-paralympic gold medalist Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) and 2014’s winner, and current World & European gold medalist, Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) for a star-studded line up for the 2015 edition of the Cheshire Classic.
The Cheshire Classic, the longest running event on the British Cycling National Series calendar and organised by Weaver Valley Cycling Club, takes place on Sunday 26th April in Northwich, Cheshire. Racing starting at 9.30am. Previous winners read as a “who is who” of Women’s cycling with riders including Lizzie Armitstead, Sarah Storey, Nicole Cooke, Lucy Garner and Mandy Jones.
Riders will be competing for an increased prize fund of £3000 which includes the Delamere Dairy Sprint, Advanced Medical Solutions Team Prize and Your Sports Therapist Most Aggressive Rider competitions. Race sponsors also include housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, Wates Construction and LG Joinery who are all working on new development projects in Northwich. Delamere Dairy will also be handing out free samples on the day.
Race organiser Andy Wood commented “It is an amazing line-up however I’m most proud of the prize fund we have available. 3 years ago the total prize fund was £500; thanks to our amazing sponsors we have been able to destroy that. I’m delighted that once again the race has set the benchmark in raising standards for Women’s cycling”.
INTRODUCTION OF ‘THE SUFFER PRIZE’ TELLS STORIES
OF EPIC SUFFERING IN EACH ROUND OF WORLD CUP
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is pleased to announce that The Sufferfest will be the Official Sponsor of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup in 2015.
A leading producer of indoor training videos, The Sufferfest has been a sponsor of the UCI since 2010 and of the UCI Women Road World Cup since 2014. It produces highly effective and engaging training videos using footage of professional races, including UCI events.
This year, the UCI and The Sufferfest will step up their collaboration by introducing a unique, new award for the UCI Women’s Road World Cup. At the end of each round of the World Cup, The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest will be awarded to the rider who demonstrated particular determination, courage and suffering to help a teammate, to animate the race or simply to get to the finish line against the odds.
The judging panel will be made up of the TV production team, the Chief Commissaire, the Race Director and the UCI. The concept was extremely well received by riders and team representatives at the UCI Women’s Teams seminar in early March.
“This award is not necessarily about winning the race, but about the Sufferlandrian values of pushing yourself beyond what you thought yourself capable of,” explained The Sufferfest’s Chief Suffering Officer, David McQuillen. He added: “Women’s professional racing is incredibly difficult and tells inspiring stories of effort, sacrifice and resilience. We want to share these stories and The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest is our way of showing how outstanding these athletes are.”
At the end of the season, The Sufferlandrian community will have the chance to vote for the Epic Moment of Suffering experienced by one of the winners of the Suffer Prize. The final winner will receive a $1,000 USD cash prize.
UCI President Brian Cookson commented: “The UCI Women’s Road World Cup is a magnificent showcase for women’s cycling, and I am delighted that The Sufferfest will again be supporting the series in 2015 with this incredibly unique prize. This is a demonstration of their esteem for this exciting and increasingly popular discipline.”
UCI Vice-President, Tracey Gaudry also welcomed the news: “As a former professional cyclist I have witnessed many inspiring demonstrations of courage and gritty determination within the professional women’s peloton. I am delighted that, together with The Sufferfest, we will be able to highlight some of these amazing stories.”
Winners of The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest will be communicated via social media (@UCIWomenCycling & @TheSufferfest). In addition, news and highlights of the races – including an interview with The Suffer Prize presented by The Sufferfest winner – will also be available on the UCI YouTube channel (www.tv.uci.ch) throughout the season.
As the UCI Official Sponsor of the 2015 Women Road World Cup, the Sufferfest will enjoy visibility throughout the season, having kicked off with the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe in Holland. The winner of The Suffer Prize on that occasion was Orica-AIS rider Lizzie Williams (pictured above), who crashed twice, chased back to the pack twice and then broke her rear derailleur and had to give up, having no further spare bike.
WINNER OF THE FIRST
SUFFER PRIZE PRESENTED BY THE SUFFERFEST
Williams crashed twice and had twomechanicals. She twice battled her way back from the caravan to the bunch before ultimately withdrawing because she was out of bikes to ride. Not only that, after she completed her interview for The Suffer Prize, she discovered that her team had left without her and shewas forced to find her own way home.”It was probably the worst day on the bike that I’ve ever had, but you have to take the good with the bad in this sport. I had a bad day and hopefully tomorrow will be sunshine and no crashes. You’ve got to get back. You can’t give up. If you’re going to give up, you might as well not be here. I’ve come all the way from Australia. I’m not going to give up just because I have a tumble. I got to the front and hit the cobbles tenth wheel, feeling really positive, and 500 metres later myderallieur broke off and snapped into my back wheel. That was the end of my day. I had no bikes left. I had two bikes and they were both broken.”
Once you have got a few circuit races under your belt, you might like to have a go at road racing, after all, it’s what many people believe that cycling is all about! However, there a few differences between road racing and circuit racing, so I thought it would be useful to explain them here.
The Open Road
Yes, that’s right, the majority of road racing in this country, whether you are male or female, is on the open road. That means that you are on the public highway and therefore have to abide by the rules of the road – for those of you who aren’t sure what I mean by this (and I have raced with a few (men and women) who don’t appear to be aware of this), it means that you stay on the left hand side of the road, because in the UK we drive on the left. With the races being on the open road, this means that you have to be aware of other road users, including cars and lorries that come in the opposite direction. If somebody goes on to the wrong side of the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle it can have horrific consequences, so you MUST be aware AT ALL TIMES that you have a duty to yourself and your fellow competitors to ride sensibly. Have a look at my Dance Space article about giving yourself room.
(c) Martin Holden Photography
Races are longer
This seems like I am stating the obvious but I will do anyway. The races are longer (generally between 30 and 60 miles for both men and women) which means that the pace tends to be a bit more consistent than in a circuit race, helped by the fact that you probably won’t be sprinting out of a corner every 10 seconds like you sometimes end up doing in a circuit race. Field sizes are generally larger as road races are more expensive to run and therefore need to have bigger fields, but that helps with the race distance as you get more shelter (in theory at least). As the races are longer, you also need to have more stamina and endurance than you would in a circuit race, and need to ensure that you carry food with you for eating during the race (see my Practice! Practice! Practice! article for advice in this respect). This can also mean that those riders who are great in circuit races may not be as good at longer road races and vice versa, so if you don’t think that the flat circuit races are for you, why not have a go at road racing?!
(c) Martin Holden Photography
There’s different terrain
One of the limiting factors of circuit races is that they tend to be pan flat (there are exceptions, especially where town centre circuit races are concerned) and usually finish in a bunch sprint, so it can become a bit demoralising if you aren’t keen on being a sprinter. However, road race circuits come in all manner of shapes and sizes, from shorter “kermesse” style races to longer circuits with a couple of climbs and descents in them. Don’t expect to be great at everything, but certainly try and have a go at different circuits to see what suits you best.
Start at the right level
The good news is that road races can be a lot easier for novices than circuit races, especially those road races that are aimed at 2/3/4 category women, due to the length of the race and there being less corners. The average speed for regional level races tends to be anywhere between 22 mph and 24 mph depending on the weather and the circuit and more often than not the pace eases up significantly, allowing you to have a bit of a breather.
Staying with the bunch is the key to success
This sounds really easy but it can be a bit of a nightmare when you are new to racing. Many people will happily let the other riders go up the road if the pace goes up a bit, never to see the bunch again, but the road race that you entered then becomes a time trial, and you don’t get the same enjoyment for spending 35 miles of a 40 mile race off the back of the bunch. Trust me, it may seem like really hard work at times when you are riding at a pace which you don’t feel comfortable with, however nine times out of ten the pace will ease off slightly and you get an opportunity to recover before the pace increases again. Road racing is supposed to be hard and difficult, where your legs and lungs are burning as you try to keep up with people who are slightly fitter and faster than you, but the feeling at the end is worth it!
Be true to yourself
By this, I mean “don’t let other riders bully you in to doing something that you don’t want to do”. There will be many occasions in races where more experienced riders will shout at you to do some work. You don’t have to do what they tell you to – it’s your entry fee and your race – but sometimes they might be saying it for good reason. Keep your common sense in tow and do what you think is right – if you’re about to blow up, don’t feel as if you have to do a turn on the front, sit in the wheels, get your breath back and you might be somewhere when it comes to the finish.
Road racing is fun, but it is hard work and is supposed to hurt your legs, so don’t give up as soon as they start hurting – battle through that pain for a couple of minutes at least (unless it is pain in relation to an injury when you should stop immediately) and you never know, you might surprise yourself!
The growth in women’s cycling over the last few years has been phenomenal however there is still no clear structure in place for women who want to start competing and progress up the ranks. No-one can deny that there is now more television coverage of women’s cycling thanks to events such as the Johnson’s Health Tech Grand Prix Series and now The Women’s Tour, but there is no clear pathway for women who aspire to compete in such events.
Heather Bamforth talks through bike set up with riders.
The Racing Chance Foundation is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation so it has to remain transparent. It has been registered as a charity with the Charity Commission (charity number 1156835) and has four trustees – Heather Bamforth, Alan Gornall, Colin Batchelor and Carley Brierley. The charity’s intention is to provide a performance pathway for female cyclists in the UK who currently fall outside the existing track-based national programmes. As such, the focus for the Foundation (for the time being at least) will be based on the road. Membership of the Racing Chance Foundation costs just £5 per year and gives cyclists exclusive access to races, events, a club shop, and a wealth of cycling knowledge & information.
The Foundation is currently developing sessions for all levels, from novice to elite, to help those riders who wish to develop their competitive cycling careers, with the first sessions planned for January 2015. The aim is to provide assistance to riders by offering sessions that they can attend which will help develop their skills as competitive cyclists. In addition, rather than providing grants to specific riders, one of the Foundation’s ultimate ambitions is to invite riders (at both a development and elite level) to compete in races as the Racing Chance Foundation, both in the UK and abroad, which will be funded by the Foundation.
We will be releasing details shortly regarding criteria for our elite and development squads. What we can say in advance is that there won’t be a minimum number of licence points as a requirement.
The Foundation is affiliated to British Cycling and Cycling Time Trials and club membership is available to anybody (male or female) over the age of 16 (with parent/guardian permission if under the age of 18). We don’t believe in solely trying to attract female membership; indeed the first races that we are organising in 2015 are two men’s events on the tough Bole Hill circuit in the Peak District.
As charity, the Racing Chance Foundation relies on donations to keep it going. They already have kit designed by Bioracer which is available to order, with profits going into the charity and, once established, RCF hope to be able to sell branded items in their online shop. If you feel that you may be able to assist with the Foundation by supplying branded items, please email: [email protected]
The Trustees would like to thank Andrew Middleton of Towns Needham LLP for his invaluable assistance in registering the Foundation with the Charity Commission and Anna Magrath of Cycling Shorts for her assistance with the design and maintenace of the Foundation’s website and media management.
As the popularity of cycling has risen, so to have the number of cycling books to hit our selves. From the art and beauty of the bike, essential maintenance, the must-ride climbs and biographies from the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Get On Your Bike is a handy, almost pocket sized guide to cycling as an exercise. Written by three well known people in the industry, Rebecca Charlton (as seen on our TV screens), Robert Hicks (Cycling Weekly, Cycling Fitness and Cycling Active writer) and Hannah Reynolds (Editor at Cycling Weekly), GOYB sets out to help define why cycling is great exercise and how to find the happy medium with your bike, regardless of what type it may be.
Who’s the book for?
Unlike most ‘cycling as fitness’ books, Get On Your Bike clearly states from the outset it isn’t a traditional fitness manual – there are no standard dietary plans or fitness regimes. Instead, it sets out to identify ways of losing weight and keeping fit through our love of riding the bike in every day situations, perfect for those just starting out, or as the intersecting case studies demonstrate, those that have found their way back to the bike after illness, injury or life getting in the way.
What will you learn?
The first third of the book sets out to identify how to buy the right bike and gear for you, from how to set up your position on the bike, the type of shoes and cleats to suit you, as well as exploring the best ways to find local cycle routes.
The middle section covers the safety essentials of cycling, key maintenance and tips on riding to work.
Whilst the latter part of the book moves onto fitness focus, starting with weight loss and nutrition, mental stability, health and finally how to manage injury.
I think it’s easy to forget that we were all new to cycling at one point. I remember clearly how lost I was when I first got my road bike, searching YouTube videos on how to set up the cleats on my shoes, or even how to simply work the gears on my new toy! I was a little clueless, as I’m sure many who are picking up a new hobby are.
Built on short sections, it’s an easy to read guide. And new to cycling or not, it’s a great reminder that we’re not alone and why we all love to cycle. Would make a great Christmas Stocking filler for any budding cyclist in the family.
Rating: 75% out of 100
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! Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk
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