Women’s Cycling – Opportunity Knocks

Ryedale Women's Grand Prix 2014 inc BC Junior Nat WRR Championsh

Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

I read something recently about how women’s cycling is in excellent health in the UK and I have to say that I was very surprised by that statement. Yes, there has been an increase in the number of races available, but there have also been a few races which have been cancelled due to low rider numbers and other races practically begging riders to support events (I am guilty of the latter), so you may be able to see why I am surprised.

At the beginning of this year, I was one of three coaches who saw nearly 100 female riders attend novice race training sessions in the North West and North Wales. My aim was to inspire at least 20% of those attending to try road racing, which kind of worked with the first event that I am involved in having 74 entries in advance, nearly doubling the number of entries for the same event the year earlier.

However, as the season progressed, there came the inevitable drop off in numbers, and now I have two events in August which have just 17 and 15 riders entered in advance at present.  These are the CDNW events at Oakenclough on 10 August and Great Budworth on 23 August.  These are events which are restricted to second, third and fourth category riders, there is an overall league and a league for those who started this year as fourth category riders (currently unique in the UK, I believe, and something that I devised to try and encourage women to have a go at road racing without having to worry about more experienced riders in the race).

Back in May this year, prompted by another article about women’s cycling, I wrote about the sport from a grassroots’ perspective where I urged female riders to enter in advance to show the organiser that his/her race was being supported to prevent them being cancelled, especially where road racing was concerned due to the cost of putting an event on.  Unfortunately, there now seems to be a few issues which are making cancellations more prevalent:

  1. There are more races being held which leads to a dilution in rider numbers;
  2. Women don’t seem to support road races, for a variety of reasons, possibly because they are more expensive, harder to win licence points and tend to lead to riders having to take a leap of faith to try something different;
  3. There is still a massive issue with rider retention – of the 70 women who registered for the CDNW league last year, only around 40 of them have registered this season, with even less actively taking part;
  4. Racing is expensive, especially when you find yourself in a crash;
  5. Cycling is actually a hard sport, which leads to many riders becoming disillusioned early on and then giving up practically straight away because “it isn’t for them”.
JadanPressWomensCircuitRace14_2083A

Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / Cycling Shorts.cc

I have to say that organisers don’t help sometimes. There seems to be a misconception that there are similar numbers of men and women racing, which is totally untrue. Mid-week races are especially difficult for women as there are probably less than 100 women who race regularly in the UK and have the time, money and inclination to travel to all of the races, but as the majority of these have to take time off work to attend, there are only so many days’ holiday you can afford to take to use to attend a bike race. Many organisers then complain that their races aren’t being supported by the riders, and those who do support events then get irritated because it is the same people attending the events, and the riders then feel like they are being treated unfairly just because they don’t have the time or money available to attend.

Prize money can sometimes hinder race entry numbers too, unfortunately. If there is a significant cash prize for the winner, the race tends to attract the better riders (who may not have as many commitments as other riders), so those riders who end up making the numbers up never get a look in for prize money and are less likely to enter just so someone who is practically a full time rider can win the race. Which makes sense to me – I have a career (outside of cycling) and I often don’t have time to do any training during the week, so I don’t need to pay £20 to enter a race to be dropped on the start line because I am still recovering from working, when others in the race are as fresh as a daisy. That may seem like a negative comment to make, but it’s a reality that many female riders face, I’m afraid.

Having said that, Tickhill Grand Prix on 24 August is leading the way by having an elite women’s race (E/1/2/3) and a women’s support race (3/4 categories only), both of which have sponsorship from Giant Sheffield, so if there are any readers out there who want to have a go at town centre racing but want to do it without racing against the top domestic riders, why not enter the support race, which you can do by clicking here.

I always try to be positive and look for solutions to resolve issues rather than just complaining about the problem and doing nothing about it. British Cycling is now looking at women’s cycling in an attempt to resolve the position, but even I am struggling at the moment to see how the sport can move forward. Only with more opportunities can the sport of women’s cycling in the UK hope to develop properly, but there does seem to be a fair few people who don’t want the sport to progress. There are good points to social media, but just because you get 40 re-tweets to a link to a website doesn’t mean that you will get any more entries.  Neither does complaining about riders not entering an event – they’re even less likely to support an event if they feel that they are being coerced into riding.

DoncasterCycleFestival2014_1071B

Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / Cyclingshorts.cc

Women’s cycling is still years away from achieving equality with the men’s sport; how can it when the numbers participating are nowhere near to the number of men racing? Sport should be aspirational, a means for people to achieve outside of their everyday lives, but women’s cycling is anything but that at the moment. Most domestic races are run by local clubs who have to have an event break even as they don’t have reserves to fall back on, so it usually means that in order for a race to go ahead, there will be a minimum number of riders required to meet the costs of running it. Unfortunately, road racing has additional costs to circuit races, especially if you have accredited marshals, which means that you tend to need at least 20 entrants in order for an event to go ahead, and that’s without prize money. If a race is lucky enough to have a sponsor, then the organiser will want to protect the sponsor’s investment by ensuring that there is a decent field – it doesn’t look good if somebody has put up £1000 in prize money and then 10 people turn up, so if you find yourself being annoyed that an organiser of a sponsored event is complaining about the lack of entries, think twice before making a comment.

I guess in conclusion there are a few things that everybody needs to bear in mind about women’s cycling – there is a long way to go before it can be described as being in excellent condition, it needs rider support to develop and, I am afraid ladies, that if you want businesses to sponsor an event that you are riding in, then you need to enter in advance to support the organiser’s attempts to offer as near to equal opportunity as he/she can provide.

 

CDNW Surf & Turf – 2 Day Women’s Road Race 2014 Report

Images ©chrismaher.co.uk/Cycling Shorts – photos are regularly updated on flicker.com

 
Round Four in the Women’s Road Race Series was held in Lancashire. Over a two day period the race was split into three events. A one mile individual time trial prologue, A fourty-five minute criterium and an eighty-one kilometre circuit race.

Wiggle Honda’s Laura Trott won both the individual time trial and the criterium to hold the blue leaders jersey over-night. Pearl Izumi’s Katie Archibald was a close second, followed by RST Racing Team’s Grace Garner in third.

A damp start to the final event brought an early end for several riders in the first couple of circuits. This didn’t affect the top placed girls, and a couple of attacks by Archibald, Storey and Dani King split the peleton into three groups. A mechanical for Storey, saw her drop back from a leading group of around thirty girls by lap five.

The main group remained together for a couple of laps, with Storey maintaining her deficit at around two-twenty, but unable to re-join the leaders.

A chat the evening before amongst the Wiggle girls, had come up with a plan to make a surprise attack from within the group. Mid way through the race, the girls found themselves stuck in the middle, with no-one wanting to attack. So with this game plan in mind they launched a drive up the “Little Rise” on the course. Trott, then King, then Elinor Barker went away from the bunch and this was the decisive move that shaped the final out-come.

Talking to Laura after the race, she said about their game plan, “This is the perfect situation”. “I looked behind an it was just the three of us. I looked behind again and Katie had joined us”. “We just worked then as a Team Pursuit”. “With Dani and Elinor counter attacking (Archibald) all the way to the end, I just got a free ride to the finish”.

The Wiggle Girls then led the race leader into the final sprint for the line, with Archibald chasing them down. Trott had the freshest legs to follow, then lunged for the line, beating Archibald for the third successive time.

 

Surf & Turf 2Day Final overall.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 03:00:53

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:00:12

3 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:00:23

4 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:00:31

5 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:02:21

6 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:27

7 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:02:28

8 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:29

9 Megan Barker M and D Cycles/Scimitar Sports/ Fusion Sports RT 00:02:29

10 Rebecca Womersley WyndyMilla – Reynolds 00:02:30

11 Emily Nelson Fusion Development Racing Team 00:02:30

12 Elizabeth Malins Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Science 00:02:30

13 Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:31

14 Abigail Dentus Team De ver 00:02:31

15 Melissa Lowther Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:31

16 Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:32

17 Lucy Shaw Solihull CC 00:02:32

18 Rebecca Rimmington Merlin Cycles 00:02:33

19 Eve Dixon Team 22 00:02:34

20 Jane Barr Velocity 44 Stirling 00:02:34

 

 

Stage two 81 Kms or 13 laps of 6.2 Kms.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 02:07:08

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 02:07:08

3 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 02:07:10

4 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 02:07:13

5 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 02:09:08

6 Megan Barker M and D Cycles/Scimitar Sports/ Fusion Sports RT 02:09:08

7 Nicola Juniper Private Member 02:09:08

8 Rebecca Womersley WyndyMilla – Reynolds 02:09:08

9 Abigail Dentus Team De ver 02:09:08

10 Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 02:09:08

 

 

Stage one 45 min Criterium.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 00:51:50

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:51:55

3 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:51:57

4 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:52:00

5 Dame Sarah Storey Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:52:00

6 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:52:00

7 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:52:00

8 Claire Thomas Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:52:00

9 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:52:00

10 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:52:00

 

 

Prologue Time Trial 1.6Kms.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 00:02:05

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:07

3 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:02:09

4 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:02:09

5 Dame Sarah Storey Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:10

6 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:02:11

7 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:12

8 Claire Thomas Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:13

9 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:02:13

10 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:14

 

 

Results by British Cycling

Women’s Road Race Standings TBC

 

The next round of the Women’s Road Race Series in the Curlew Cup is in Northumberland on Sunday 22nd June.

 

Laura Trott talks 2014 CDNW Surf & Turf Tactics

Laura Trott talks to Chris Maher about team tactics at the 2014 CDNW Surf & Turf.

 

Surf & Turf 2Day Final overall.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 03:00:53

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:00:12

3 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:00:23

4 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:00:31

5 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:02:21

6 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:27

7 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:02:28

8 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:29

9 Megan Barker M and D Cycles/Scimitar Sports/ Fusion Sports RT 00:02:29

10 Rebecca Womersley WyndyMilla – Reynolds 00:02:30

11 Emily Nelson Fusion Development Racing Team 00:02:30

12 Elizabeth Malins Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Science 00:02:30

13 Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:31

14 Abigail Dentus Team De ver 00:02:31

15 Melissa Lowther Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:31

16 Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:32

17 Lucy Shaw Solihull CC 00:02:32

18 Rebecca Rimmington Merlin Cycles 00:02:33

19 Eve Dixon Team 22 00:02:34

20 Jane Barr Velocity 44 Stirling 00:02:34

 

 

Stage two 81 Kms or 13 laps of 6.2 Kms.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 02:07:08

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 02:07:08

3 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 02:07:10

4 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 02:07:13

5 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 02:09:08

6 Megan Barker M and D Cycles/Scimitar Sports/ Fusion Sports RT 02:09:08

7 Nicola Juniper Private Member 02:09:08

8 Rebecca Womersley WyndyMilla – Reynolds 02:09:08

9 Abigail Dentus Team De ver 02:09:08

10 Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 02:09:08

 

 

Stage one 45 min Criterium.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 00:51:50

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:51:55

3 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:51:57

4 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:52:00

5 Dame Sarah Storey Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:52:00

6 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:52:00

7 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:52:00

8 Claire Thomas Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:52:00

9 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:52:00

10 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:52:00

 

 

Prologue Time Trial 1.6Kms.

1 Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 00:02:05

2 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:07

3 Grace Garner RST Racing Team 00:02:09

4 Danielle King Wiggle Honda 00:02:09

5 Dame Sarah Storey Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 00:02:10

6 Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 00:02:11

7 Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:12

8 Claire Thomas Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 00:02:13

9 Nicola Juniper Private Member 00:02:13

10 Jo Tindley Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 00:02:14

 

 

Results by British Cycling

Women’s Road Race Standings TBC

 

The next round of the Women’s Road Race Series in the Curlew Cup is in Northumberland on Sunday 22nd June.

 

The #partyontheroad comes to Yorkshire!


(c)  http://martinholdenphotography.com/

Last year, the CDNW women’s league, open only to 2nd, 3rd and 4th category riders, was thought by everybody involved to be a resounding success – an average of 40 women at each race, with 70 women registered for the league.  I was approached by Victoria Hood as she loved the concept and wanted to bring something similar to the women of Yorkshire.

After numerous conversations with BC Yorkshire, it was agreed that we would try and bring the same level of racing to Yorkshire.

Organising a women’s road race has historically been a massive risk to organisers, especially when it is the sole event, so persuading some organisers to assist us in our quest was key.  Pete Sutton, the Regional Events Officer for Yorkshire, has been a star, and he even spent the afternoon with Victoria and I going through all of the potential dates to ensure that there were no clashes with existing similar events in the North West.

This year, I have been trying to build a community atmosphere for women who want to have a go at racing by using the #partyontheroad hashtag.  It is hopefully working – 68 women took to the start line on Sunday, at an industrial estate in Skelmersdale, with rain threatening.  64 of those women finished.  The race next Sunday already has 51 entrants, with more due to enter on the day.

As the time is NOW to keep building on the momentum in women’s cycling, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to bring you the Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series – these are all linked via the Series on British Cycling’s website here:https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events?series_id=380  The Series is being supported by Jadan Press, from Hull, so there will be an overall series winner – with cash!!!

It isn’t a league, like the CDNW women’s league, which means that we will need volunteers to assist at each race as there isn’t a league where you register and have to marshal (it was £92 to register the league, whereas a series is free).  Any offers of assistance will be greatly appreciated, even if you bring a mate with you to watch the race!  It is the #partyontheroad after all!

(c)  http://martinholdenphotography.com/

So without further ado, here are the details for the first three events to be included in the Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series:

1. Sheffrec CC Spring Road Race – 13 April 2014

This race is organised by Marc Etches.  Marc organises the Sheffield Grand Prix, which has been a fixture in the National Women’s Series for many years.  Marc’s club, Sheffrec CC, organise a Spring Road Race, and he offered to run a women’s race in the morning, before the men’s event in the afternoon.

You can enter the race here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/106353/Sheffrec-Spring-Road-Race#entry

This is a great starting event, being only 35 miles in length.  For anyone from down South who has entered the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir, why not enter the Sheffrec race too?

The circuit is on Strava – link here: http://app.strava.com/segments/1234074 and this video also gives you a great idea of what to expect:

Entry closes on 27 March 2014 – remember you don’t need to register for the series, you will be automatically entered into it if you ride.

2. Team Swift RR – 11 May 2014

The next event in the series is organised by Cliff Beldon, of Team Swift.  You can enter the race here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/104997/Teamswift-Road-Races#entry

The circuit is on Strava –  link here: http://www.strava.com/segments/1445730 – I absolutely love this circuit, although I have only ridden around it the opposite way around!

 

3. Albarosa CC  Road Race – 15 June 2014

Currently  being finalised – I will update you when it goes live, but for now hold the date!

 

4. PH-Mas Road Race –  3 August 2014

Amy attackThis race is also in the process of being finalised.  Once it goes live I will add the date, so just keep it in your diaries for the time being!

The course is being fun on the Seacroft Wheelers RR circuit at Bishopwood, near Selby, and the circuit is here: 

http://www.strava.com/segments/1132910

 

5. Selby CC Road Race

Stuart Davies is the organiser for the final round of the Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series, and further information can be found here:  https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/107690/Selby-CC-Road-Race#entry

This event is going to be held on a new circuit, which is first being used on the 15 May 2014, so I’m afraid I don’t have any segment details for you just yet!

 

Food for thought…

There aren’t many events where you can win hard cash for no entry fee.  That and the fact that the #partyontheroad is coming to Yorkshire, why wouldn’t you want to get involved?

Hopefully I will see some of you there…

 

http://martinholdenphotography.com

My thanks to Martin Holden Photography for use of the photos, as well as to all of the organisers of both the CDNW Women’s League and the Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series.  Without organisers, we have no races…

 

Novice League for Women

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.

CDNW Great Budworth

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!

(c) Ed Rollason Photography

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

 

The Surf and Turf 2 Day Returns to Blackpool

Cycling Development North West (“CDNW”) are hosting a round of the National Women’s Road Series on 15 & 16 June 2013.  The presence of the event, which starts at Blackpool’s Palatine Circuit on 15 June, is a continuation of the event that ran as a two day for the first time last year, as a development of the Blackpool Grand Prix des Dames which had held a place in the Women’s National Road Series for a number of years.

In addition to the main event, there is a round of the local CDNW Youth Series, held on the Saturday (15 June 2013), with a Regional B supporting men’s event over the two days, making the Saturday a day out for all of the family!

© Ed Rollason Photography

© Ed Rollason Photography

For the women’s event, there will be a one lap time trial at Saturday lunchtime (covering approximately 1 km) followed by a circuit race of 45 minutes later in the afternoon.  The supporting men’s event will be held after the women’s circuit race and will start at 5:30pm for one hour.

Sunday sees the event move to the Pilling/Nateby course for the first time, with a departure from the Bashall Eaves circuit used last year.  The course has proved popular already this season, with the second round of the CDNW’s inaugural women’s road race league for second, third and fourth category riders being held on the circuit, as well as the men’s North West Regional Road Race Championships due to be held on the circuit on 19 May 2013.

© Ed Rollason Photography

© Ed Rollason Photography

 http://www.cdnw.org/surf&turf_stage_races.htmlFor further information on the event itself, head to CDNW’s website at:

Entry for both the men’s Regional B event and the Women’s National Series event is £34.40 plus 60p for online entry – visit British Cycling’s website at:

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/84627/Surf-&-Turf-Weekend#entry

For those of you on Twitter make sure you check out our dedicated Twitter page at https://twitter.com/SurfandTurf2Day

We hope to be tweeting live during the event, using the race’s official Twitter feed @SurfandTurf2Day with the official hash tag #sat2day2013 and we will be tweeting in the lead up to the event too, so make sure all you Twitter folk follow the event to keep up to date with all the announcements!

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