2015 Epic Cycles Women’s Race Team

In a big step for Women’s Cycling, Epic Cycles-Scott Women’s Race Team announced yesterday their plans to help move the sport and their team forward. Here’s what’s in store for 2015:

Over the past three seasons Epic Cycles and Scott Sports have been the two main sponsors for the successful Epic Cycles-Scott Women’s Race Team. Going into 2015 we will see one or two changes in sponsorship, but with the same team management and owners. A new team name will also be announced soon.

One feature of the team over the past three years has been its evolving terms of reference – in years one and two the emphasis was very much on the development of junior riders, while in year three the focus has been on bringing together a balanced and talented group of senior riders with the aim of riding together as a cohesive team, rather than as a collection of individuals.

This evolution will continue in year four, with renewed focus on rider development and a primary aim to act as a path into the professional ranks and/or competing in UCI races for those with ambitions to do so.

To support this aim we are working closely with the newly announced Matrix-Vulpine UCI Team. Our joint expectation is that a number of our riders will have the opportunity through this relationship to ride with the Matrix team as stagiaires in UCI races during the 2015 season, offering them the chance both to race in the pro peloton and to demonstrate what they could offer to a UCI pro team.

We also aim to build on our successes in the area of team work, and will be targeting key events in the UK domestic road racing scene, with a view to building on our list of 2014 victories and podium places.

The team will, as in 2014, be managed in a professional manner and we hope to further contribute to raising the standard of women’s race team management in the UK.

Key Aims

  • To provide team environment and structure in which riders can develop and progress, either to riding at a higher level within the UK scene or to a career as a professional cyclist.
  • To build on the number of podium places achieved in key UK races during 2014.
  • To provide opportunities to take part in UCI races and gain exposure within the pro peloton.
  • To raise the profile of our riders, team, and sponsors.

The Team

While we anticipate that some of this year’s line-up will be moving on to new teams, we are hoping to retain a number of our existing riders for 2015.

In signing new riders we are aiming, as in 2014, to assemble a strong and ambitious team who have complementary strengths and skills, so that we are able to enter races with different leaders and tactics according to the nature and timing of each race.

As in previous years, the team will not been built around a single star rider or to specialise in a particular type of race. Instead, we will aim to perform consistently well in all types of road racing, throughout the entire season.

Our planned team size of around 10 riders should provide sufficient cover for key events, while maximising the opportunity for individual riders to participate in a full programme of races without too many occasions where we have more riders than places available.

Our preference is for the team to be made up of a mix of over and under 23 seniors, but we do not have a rigid age or experience profile in mind. It is anticipated that most/all will be in some form of employment or education – full time availability to race is not a requirement.

A track record of participation and progression in road racing is essential. Previous race success (in terms of podium spots) is secondary to a positive attitude and a commitment to team work.

Epic Cycles-Scott Women’s Race Team

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

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

‘One for the Girls!’ – Falling Short

Devoted to helping female customers make the most of winter riding, the first in the series of women specific shopping events was held last night at Evans Cycles’ central London Store on Mortimer Street.

Arriving promptly at 6pm in the hope of gaining a free goody-bag packed with cycling essentials, I was greeted by 50 other girls with the same intention – the last bag handed to the girl in front of me – bugger, this event is popular! It wasn’t the end of the world though. As my Brompton was whisked from me to be stored safely in the workshop, a glass of Prosecco filled my now empty hand as I was guided through the store to join the introduction.

Aiming to cater for new and experienced riders alike, the ‘One for the Girls!’ events held across the country over the coming month, will provide women with a private shopping and Q&A session.

Michelle Arthurs, Social Media Specialist at Evans Cycles, explains “We’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of women buying bikes and we are really excited to see so many more women out cycling.”

One for the Girls

One for theGirls! product demo

“We know that British Cycling are doing a lot to encourage female participation in the sport, and we are keen to do everything we can to cater for this growing audience.”

A cyclist herself, Michelle says:

“I’m aware that there are times when the sport can seem very male dominated, these events are a chance for women who ride to get together, meet each other, and even plan rides if they want to. We hosted a similar series of One for the Girls events over the summer in London, Cardiff and Manchester, and they were a great success – if these go well, we would like to look at rolling them out to more stores.”

I got chatting to a couple of other ladies on arrival, one of whom had only started cycling 3 weeks prior after purchasing a hybrid following a brief stint living in cycling-fuelled Finland and keen to ask some questions about her new hobby. Whilst another, a keen road cyclist looked for a bargain, wishing to use her 20% off accessories offer for the night.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear much of the intro or the first talk – crammed into one of the smallest parts of this very large store, the small voice of the manager was swallowed by those who’d gathered around her to absorb her knowledge on performance wear.

Everyone else busy with the talk or shopping, I decided to grab another member of staff and ask what women’s specific road bikes they had in store. Not once, but twice I was told to ‘look online’ in answer to my queries… I can’t tell you how much this frustrates me considering I was stood in front of the sales person, in the store!

Shopping for bikes is never easy for me, especially at a pint sized 5’2”. However, I was hoping this event would prove that experience different. I proceeded to ask the sales guy to show me what bikes I could possibly try for size that evening, coming up short (no pun intended) with x1 carbon frame (of a low end brand and entry model) in a suitable size. ‘You could try the larger size’ he claims… ‘erm, somehow I think I’d be wasting my time’ I responded, a little miffed at the lack of knowledge. Although, to be fair, he was only doing the best he could in light of the lack of products to play with. I guess I’ll just have to ‘look online’.

Different definition to 'stacking it!'

Different definition to ‘stacking it!’

On paper, what sounds like a great event and clearly draws the crowds, fell short in a number of places for me. Maybe I had high expectations, but after chatting to some other attendees I wasn’t alone.

The women’s bikes were packed tight, were limited in brand and size (apparently Evans only stock ‘popular’ brands – although I’m not sure I’d count Jamis as one of those, yet that was the only brand available in my size that evening). They weren’t easily accessible to look at (chained to the stand), to find out more about or even try.

Their women’s specific brand section was small in comparison to the store (let’s say 1/10th) and there was no effort to demonstrate further the products. I was baffled as to why they hadn’t ordered in additional stock or brands for the evening; after all, this was a women’s specific shopping event.

The product talk was orientated at the performance cyclist, and it appeared to be the only talk of its kind at the very start of the evening. There also didn’t seem to be much opportunity seized on the community aspect of 60+ female cyclists gathered in one central place.

I’m a tough customer, I know that – I know what I want, and I know my size, but I was also expecting a lot more of a women’s specific cyling event. However, as Michelle had earlier pointed out, this is a step in the right direction, and hopefully they can only get better.

One for the Girls! will be at the following stores over the next coming weeks – let us know how you get on if you attend:

Guildford, Monday 18th, 6-8pm
Wimbledon, Tuesday 19th, 6-8pm
Reading, Wednesday 20th, 6-8pm
Trafford, Thursday 21st, 6-8pm

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

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

British Cycling Women’s Development Sessions

Back in July, British Cycling announced their initiative to inspire one million more women to get on their bikes. The Rider Development Sessions for Women and Girls from Go-Ride, aim to build confidence and teach new cycling techniques in a relaxed and informal setting, in closed road venues. Sessions include track, CX, BMX, and road. And over the past 2 weekends I’ve had the opportunity to attend 2 of them….

Last Sunday, the weather a little stormy, I headed over to Burgess Park BMX Track in London, with 10 other fearless ladies for an afternoon of BMXing. As a teen, I had no interest in my brother’s BMX bike, but it seems I wasn’t the only one who’d found a new want to try something different. And different it was!

The session, aimed at women familiar to cycling (most of us road and track cyclists), started with an introduction to ‘what’ a BMX bike is, the difference in handling to our typical 700c bikes and an hour of getting used to being on our toes and using our bodies to control these small rental bikes. Even before we’d put on the smelly helmets, we were all itching to get on the pump-track; and it wasn’t long before we were let loose on sections, slowly building our confidence, speed and pumping action to complete full runs of the track, including use of the start gate and mini races of 3 riders towards the end. We went from being complete novices to race-ready in 2 hours. Not bad going I say!

Today, 50 lady cyclists of different ages and abilities gathered for the first of 4, 4-hour road specific development sessions in the South region. Rather different to an introduction to something completely new, today’s session was with the aim of growing bike handling skills for road cyclists and the main goal of racing; with a Go-Ride race in the final session in December.

British Cycling Women's Development Session

Riding round a rather soggy and windy  track at Kempton Park, we progressed from group riding, chain-ganging, speedy cornering to finishing with an elimination race, or survival of those with speed and good bike handling skills! (Yes, you read that right. And you’re guessing right too – a questionable decision for road racing with a group of ladies only just getting used to the idea of being bumped and squeezed in a group!). It was great to see so many eager ladies keen to learn and determined not to let the weather ruin it. For me, it wasn’t as fun or exciting as giving something new a go (cycling around a 1 mile course 40 times gets a little tiring), but with intention of racing next season, I hope to build on some skills and if anything, check out what I’m up against.

Having spent the past 2 weekends at two very different events, I can highly recommend giving it a go – whether it’s something completely new, or something you wish to build on. Well done British Cycling for investing the time and money – I’ll be sure to renew my membership next year.

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

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

South West Women’s Race Series – Race 2 – Ilton

The SWWRS Race 2 went off with a bang, or a metaphorical bang of speed if you like. There was no messing around today!

The race was the first crit in the series, held in the sunshine at Merryfield Airfield near Ilton; it’s a cracking little 5km circuit and there’s not a hill in sight, but the wind up there does plenty to make for an interesting race. We had a good turn out with 17 riders signing on from far and wide, with a bit of team representation from VC St Raphael and Exeter Wheelers, both with four riders.  The race was 40 mins plus lap, which worked out as 6 laps at an average speed of 35 km/h. And have I mentioned- the sun was out (intermittently)!

17 of us rolling out from the start- Katie Curtis (far right) is not hanging around.

17 of us rolling out from the start- Katie Curtis (far right) is not hanging around.

 

So there we were riding like bats out of hell when what should happen- the lead girls took the wrong turn! I hate to say it, but you know…I told you so!  Everything calmed down a bit while everyone got back together, but that didn’t last long.  Soon enough the attacks started going off the front, with the VC St Raphael riders invariably involved.  There was also a strong showing from Vittoria Bossi (Zippi’s Ladies) , Katie Curtis, Adele Martin (Hope Factory) and Louise Benn (Exeter Wheelers).

Jenny Hudson and Katie Curtis on the attack.

Jenny Hudson and Katie Curtis on the attack.

 

However whilst some of these attacks looked like they could be trouble, none of them stuck for more than a lap, with various people doing the work to chase them down. By our 4th or 5th lap Ayse Vahiboglu (Exeter Wheelers) was driving the pace up and stringing out the field. This stopped the attacks going for a short while, which was a nice relief. The field was now getting  pretty twitchy and nervous coming into the bell lap.

In the final lap Marianne Britten (VC St Raphael) went on the attack, with Katie Curtis bridging across to her about a third of the way round. These girls looked for all the world like they might stay away- gaining 200m or so on the main field. However there seemed to be enough people in the group who wanted it to come down to a sprint. With about half a lap to go the main field started to put the hammer down, and with about 400m to go and going into the final corner a last ditched push from Claire Elworthy (Exeter Wheelers) all but closed the gap.

By this point the sprinters were all moving up the group, myself included. The sprint started straight out of the final corner, with about 250m to the line.  I could pretend I knew what happened, but I wont! All I know is Adele Martin came past at some point, and there a was a bunch of four just behind me so I had to keep the foot down!

The finish- Adele Martin takes the win, myself in 2nd, Laura Clode 3rd and Katie Curtis in 4th.

The finish- Adele Martin takes the win, myself in 2nd, Laura Clode 3rd and Katie Curtis in 4th.

 

So there we have it, the 2nd race of the series finished with Adele Martin (Hope Factory) taking the line honours, myself (Elena Bremer – Exeter Wheelers) in 2nd and Laura Clode (VC St Raphael) in 3rd.

Thanks to our sponsors Greens of Devon and the Bike Shed for providing the wonderful prizes of Flowers for the winner, Chef’s Garnish Boxes and Bontranger R4, R3 and R2 tyres for the top three. Thanks also to race organisers Somerset Road Club, and to the series supporters Alpha Vae SolarVelo Brands and the Handmade Cyclist.  Sign up to the series here for your chance to win some great prizes from these guys- it wont cost you a penny!

Also thanks to Ian Derbridge and Ivan Jordan for the photos!

More photos available on Flickr (Click here to view) from Ann and Richard Owens, thank you both!  

The next series event is the Div Champs on 19th May, hopefully see you there! See the bottom of the post for full results- if you spot an error please do correct me!

SWWRS

 

If you want to see the video of the finish it’s available on Facebook by clicking here.

 

1  Adele Martin Hope Factory
2  Elena Bremer Exeter Wheelers
3  Laura Clode VC St Raphael
4  Katie Curtis
5  Ellie Gilham VC St Raphael
6  Alex Sheehan One & All
7  Jenny Hudson VC St Raphael
8  Claire Elworthy Exeter Wheelers
9  Jess Hill Cardiff Ajax
10  Emma Sainsbury-Munn VC Bristol
11 Vittoria Bossi Zippis Ladies
12 Louise Benn Exeter Wheelers
13 Sally Edney North Devon Wheelers
14 Marianne Britten VC St Raphael
15 Mary Mcfadzean CS Dynamo
16 Sorrelle Johnston RU Training Today
DNF Ayse Vahiboglu Exeter Wheelers

 

 

 

Marianne Vos talks to Cycling Shorts

L to R: Heather, Marianne Vos & Annie - Revolution 38

L to R: Heather, Marianne Vos & Annie – Revolution 38 – © Cycling Shorts.

Click play button to listen.

Heather and Annie chat to all conquering World and Olympic Champion Marianne Vos at Revolution 38 where she faced off against Lizzie Armistead.

Related links:
Follow Marianne on Twitter
Visit Marianne’s official website
Cycling Shorts Revolution 38 Report
Revolution Series website
Enter our howies Revolution Series T-Shirt Competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Emily Nelson & Paige Milward at Revolution 38

Emily & Paige on the track with their Revolution team mates - ©Guy Swarbrick

Emily & Paige on the track with their Revolution team mates – ©Guy Swarbrick

Click play button to listen.

Heather catches up with DHL Future Stars; Emily Nelson and Paige Milward at Revolution 38.

Related links:
Follow Paige Milward on Twitter
Follow Emily Nelson on Twitter
Paige Milward’s British Cycling Results
Emily Nelson’s British Cycling Results
Emily Nelson Lloyds TSB Local Hero Facebook Page
Cycling Shorts Revolution 38 Report
Revolution Series website
Enter our howies Revolution Series T-Shirt Competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

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