A Woman’s Guide to Racing – Part 1
Where do I start?
You may or may not be aware that I am helping Cycling Development North West (“CDNW”) to promote a new women’s road race league aimed at second, third and fourth category riders, specifically for helping women to develop their racing skills in a competitive environment and providing a platform for women who are new to the sport and who would like to venture out on to the open road in a road race format.
So, with that in mind, I have decided to do a series of articles aimed at those women who may be looking to compete for the first time, to help them with what to expect, including some tips from coaches about what type of training will help, and the things that nobody will probably tell you, including what you need to do to enter a road race.
So, without further ado, here is my first instalment:
Where do I start?
The first thing any organiser will tell you is that in order to ride in a British Cycling road race, you will need to be a member of British Cycling, with at least the silver package. You will also need a racing licence. Some organisers will let you buy a day licence, however some organisers may prefer you to have a full racing licence. There is a cost implication to this, however if you decide that you are going to enter 5 races, it would probably work out cheaper to buy the full racing licence rather than having to buy one at every race. In addition, if you do well and finish in the top 10 (for example), you would be able to keep the licence points you will have earned, which then helps you move up the category system (see next paragraph). For further information on British Cycling membership, go to http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membership
The Category System
All new members are automatically given fourth category status. There are five categories: 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and elite. Once you have earned 12 licence points as a fourth category rider, you become a third category rider. Once you are a third category rider, you are eligible to enter the National Series Road Races, and a third category rider needs 40 points before achieving second category status. If you start the year as a second category rider, you only need 25 licence points to retain your second category licence; if not, you will go back to third category status. Once you are a third category rider, you will never be downgraded to fourth category again.
In order to progress to first category status, you need to obtain 200 licence points whilst riding as a second category rider. If you achieve those points and enter the season as a first category rider, you will need to gain 100 licence points to retain your status as a first category rider.
Finally, in order to achieve and retain your elite category status, you will need to gain 300 points in a season.
For further information check out http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/article/roadst_Road-Categories_Classifications
The number of licence points you can win depends on what type of race you have entered. Most circuit races are either Band 4 or Band 5, which means points are given to the top 10 finishers, with winners of Band 4 races earning 15 points and winners of Band 5 races earning 10 points, with 1 point being given to 10th in both instances.
The CDNW women’s road race league events are Band 3, with 30 points for the winner and points going down to 15th place, with 15th earning 1 licence point. National Series Road Race events are Band 2, with 60 points going to the winner and points down to 20th place, with 20th earning 1 point.
For the breakdown of how points are given, visit http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/article/roadst_National_Regional_Rankings_Explained
Ladies should note that women don’t appear to receive regional rankings as yet, just national rankings.
Races – the different types
You may have heard other cyclists talk about crits, testing, road races, but what does it all mean?
Well, a “crit” is short for “criterium” and is the same thing as a circuit race. The course is usually either a purpose built closed circuit or round a town centre, where the roads are closed to traffic. An example of a crit are the Tour Series events, which are all held around various town centres and are shown on ITV4. These also include the Johnson Healthtech Grand Prix events for women, which Cycling Shorts’ very own Annie Simpson won last year. Many riders start out racing on closed circuits because they don’t have to worry about traffic and there are usually lots of different races available nationwide.
Road races are exactly that – races held on the open road. The road is usually open to traffic, so you will encounter oncoming traffic. Having said that, you encounter traffic when you go out on your bike, so it isn’t anything to be worried about. Some road race organisers utilise British Cycling’s National Escort Group (“NEG”), who are motorbike marshals which help to regulate the oncoming traffic. Road races are organised by British Cycling, The League International (“TLI”) and the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (“LVRC”).
“Testing” is another name for time trials. The majority of time trials are governed by Cycling Time Trials (“CTT”), and you don’t need a licence, however you do need to be a member of an affiliated cycling club. The CTT time trials are generally over 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles or 12 or 24 hours. For more information visit http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Beginners/BeginnersGeneralInfo/tabid/81/Default.aspx
Stage races are usually organised by promoters of British Cycling events and can range from two stages in one day to a number of stages over 3 weeks (such as the Tour de France). Generally, as a woman racing on a domestic level, the longest stage race you will find is probably the Bedford 3 Day, which is part of the Team Series. This event covers 5 stages, including an individual time trial, a team time trial and three road stages.
So, hopefully my first instalment has given you some insight into how the British Cycling road scene works. Tune in for my next instalment in a few days’ time.
Click below to read:
Part Two – What Do I Enter?
Part Three – What training should I do?
Part Four – Practice! Practice! Practice!
Part Five – Are You Ready To Race?
Part Six – Race Day
Part Seven – Circuit Racing
BikeTreks Racing Team – New Signings and Sponsors for 2013 Season
Established 2 years ago, Biketreks Racing Team has grown steadily towards its goal to be one of the UK’s leading cycling development teams. Our second season in operation has been a successful one. We have reached our goals to progress riders through the racing categories and for them to gain entry and exposure to Premier calendar racing, the pinnacle of domestic Road Racing. For 2013, the team will be focusing further on its rider development goals and will therefore be looking to provide the best of breed structure to three squads of 5 riders for a full Premier Calendar Series and National Junior Series, National Women Series, the new CDNW Women’s league and the National track champs.
James Dunlop, Jonny Cregeen, Sandy Lockett, Tom Bracegirdle
Jake Cowen, Matt Flynn, Fabio Close, Rob Richardson, Jack Sadler
Heather Bamforth (rider/manager & Cycling Shorts writer), Nicola Fox, Nicky Shaw, Lizzie Waterhouse, Ruth Taylor
The two squads will be supported by Nic Bertrand (Team owner/principal), Simon Deeley (Team Manager), Jon Taylor (Coach and Sports Massage, Bike&Body), Graham Theobald of the Body Rehab (Sports therapy and Physiological Testing as well as state of the art altitude training facilities at his Staveley clinic) as well as a Phil Leigh as directeur sportif who has with years of experience running teams at international level.
We also welcome the following additional sponsors for 2013, Sihelcycling.com who will be supplying quality race wheels from Czech Republic’s Remerx, Glanford Ltd, UK Distributors of UdderlySmooth chamois Cream, Ed Rollason Photography (Ed is also joining Cycling Shorts this week), Bike and Body and TorQ Energy.
We believe we have created a fantastic resource for young cyclists based in the North West of England to become the best cyclists they can be and have their best shot at being talent spotted by larger UCI Teams.
Successful sponsorship in sport is one of the main reasons for successful performance. This is especially the case in cycling. No team can survive without sponsors and even the world’s best athletes depend on companies to be able to compete and achieve those goals they are striving for.
Applications from companies that will complement our loyal set of sponsors to become a co-title sponsor are welcome to contact the Team Owner, Nicolas Bertrand, [email protected].
We are adamant that co-sponsor’s resources combined with dedication and performance on our behalf will result in victory for all parties.
We would like to thank our sponsors for 2013:
– Biketreks Ambleside
– Specialized UK
– SihelCycling.com / Remerx Wheels
– Soigneur Embrocation
– Bike and Body
– The Body Rehab
– Ed Rollason Photography
– The Sufferfest Training Videos
– CDC Solutions
– Cycling Holiday Spain
Revolution Series 10 | Revolution 38 – Emily Kay takes on the Champions LtoR: Any Pieters, Emily Kay, Lizzie Armistead – Image © www.ChrisMaher.co.uk
During Revolution 38, I caught up with Emily Kay, last year’s winner of the DHL Future Stars competition, to find out how she is was finding it mixing it up with the Olympic and Senior World Champions on the track.
Emily on the podium at the beginning of her run as DHL Future Stars Champion – ©2010 Anna Magrath/Cycling Shorts.
DHL Future Stars Process
Emily has been a part of the DHL process right from the start. “I started off with the DHL Sprint School,” she explains, “then moved up to the DHL Future Stars, and now I’m riding with the best riders in the world. So, I suppose that’s proof that the system works. It’s great to get the opportunity to race against the likes of Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead too.”
The Elimination Race
“I usually prefer to ride the elimination race from the front, riding at my own pace, but tonight was totally different. I found it slower than I was expecting, but it meant that I had to try different tactics than I’d use normally. But obviously
Revolution 36 – Emily graduates – final podium as a DHL Future Stars after three years domination – speaking to Hugh Porter – ©2012 Anna Magrath/Cycling Shorts.
this is a good stage to try things out on.”
Her tactics obviously worked, with a seventh in the Elimination Race.
The Scratch Race
Emily had said at the outset of the night that her main aim was to sit on Marianne Vos’s wheel at some point. In actual fact, during the Scratch race, Vos was sat on Emily’s wheel during the scratch race. Katie Colclough went off the front with a few laps to go, and it wasn’t until about two laps to go that Vos tried to close the gap, although Colclough held her off to take the win. Emily Kay stayed with Vos and tried to outsprint her on the line for second, eventually coming a close third to Vos’s second.
The Points Race
I asked Emily how the racing compared to the DHL Future Stars events. “Riding the domestic events, you find that you race against the same people all of the time and you tend to use the same tactics,” she said. “Riding at the Junior World Championships you get to ride with other people who you wouldn’t necessarily get to compete against ordinarily, this is just a step up from that. I’m really enjoying it though”.
Emily stayed with the bunch over the course of the points race, placing in one of the sprints. Ellen Van Dyck was the eventual winner, with Vos third.
With a new title sponsor on board in the British Cycling women’s network, Breeze, an updated website (www.cheshireclassic.co.uk) and a Twitter campaign (@cheshireclassic), together with the race being pushed back to the second event in the National Women’s Road Race Series, it is all change in 2013.
Andy Wood, the event’s organiser on behalf of Weaver Valley Cycling Club, has forwarded the press release to me for sharing to our readers:
“Breeze supports new look 2013 Cheshire Classic
“After an incredible summer of women’s cycling, the Cheshire Classic Women’s Road Race launched its 2013 campaign by announcing that British Cycling’s Breeze network is to be an event partner.
“With cycling becoming more and more popular in the UK the Cheshire Classic wants to make the most of the opportunity to encourage more women to ride their bikes. Funded by the National Lottery via Sport England, Breeze is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun.
“The Cheshire Classic takes place a week later than usual this year on Sunday 28th April in Northwich, and is organised by Weaver Valley Cycling Club. Last year’s edition was won by Paralympic superstar Sarah Storey with previous winners including Olympic Silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead, Nicole Cooke and two time Junior World Champion Lucy Garner.
Network Manager at Breeze, Natalie Justice replied “our partnership with the Cheshire Classic was a no brainer; a reputable race with great heritage to inspire more women to get out on their bike, at whatever level. The race is a fantastic way to raise awareness on a National level”.
Organiser Andy Wood commented “the potential growth of Women’s cycling is huge. There is a lot to think about from which bike to get, to what clothing, to getting fit to join a club – it can all be quite intimidating. A major goal for me is to use the race to help people out, we’re bringing on board partners to help us provide advice and Breeze was the perfect fit”.
“The race also sees a brand new identity alongside a redeveloped website which includes a dedicated area with tips and advice from Sarah Storey, Lucy Garner & Hannah Walker. The area offers support to riders from grass roots to those wanting to start racing.
“We are hoping that 2013 will be the best yet, some of the most exciting racing at the Olympics was in the Women’s races and we want to build on the back of that. We are looking to add new features and more prize money to the race, every single penny raised is invested back into the race”.
As part of their new strategy you can follow the build up to the Cheshire Classic on Twitter (@cheshireclassic) and Facebook. Race entries are now open to riders.”
If you feel that racing is a step too far at the moment, you can find more about the Breeze network below:
British Cycling’s Breeze is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun. Our aim is to help thousands more women feel confident and comfortable about going on a ride. Breeze is part of British Cycling’s programme of free bike rides, information and support designed to help and inspire women of all ages and abilities to re-discover the fun of bike riding. It has never been easier to get back on a bike as the Breeze network offers some great information, advice and support on a wide range of topics including access to cycle hire, someone to ride with and safe routes in their local area.
To join a Breeze bike ride in your area, register at www.breezebikerides.com or contact the Breeze network at British Cycling on 0161 274 2117.