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!
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
This 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:
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…
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…
No matter what type of sporting discipline you participate in, it is always important to review your season once you have stopped racing.
For those of you who read my beginners’ guide to racing earlier this year, you may remember that I talked about the importance of having goals to aim for during the season (and also beyond), in order to achieve what you want to achieve – it is incredibly difficult to feel satisfied and contented if you don’t know what you want out of the season.
So for those of you who set goals this season, whether those were distance related, time related, or just getting on your bike more, it is important to revisit the aims that you set yourself at the beginning of the season and to compare them to what you did actually achieve.
Original Goals – Realistic or Unattainable?
At the start of the season, you would have had an idea, whether you wrote it down or not, as to what you wanted to achieve. Nobody can tell what the future holds and nobody can tell you that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve, as everybody has to have a dream, but it is important to be true to yourself. This means that you have to be honest with yourself too. For example, there is nothing wrong with wanting to win a Premier Calendar or a National Series event this season, but if you only started racing this season and were a fourth category rider at the start of the season, the likelihood is that you will struggle to get a ride in a National Series event, and if you are a male fourth category rider, then you can’t even enter a Premier Calendar. Don’t get me wrong, being honest with yourself is not easy – everybody wants to feel that they are better than they are, it’s only natural, but you have to have a reality check at some point, if only for your own sanity. Otherwise you will spend your spare time dwelling on the fact that you have failed in your mission, wondering where you went wrong and basically mentally beating yourself up.
If you achieved your targets, congratulations! And, if so, the next port of call for you is to ask yourself how you can build on what you have achieved this season, and whether you feel that you pushed yourself in achieving those goals, so that you set some more SMART goals for next season.
Missing Targets Is Not The End of the World
Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you get ill. For the majority of people (and that will include most readers of this article), cycling (or any sport in actual fact) is a hobby that you do in your spare time. It is important that you remember that fact. Cycling is fun, a way of keeping healthy and fit and making friends. Even if you are competing, you still should always remember that you are doing it because you enjoy it, not because your life depends on it. And if you feel that it is the latter, and your whole sense of being in life is dependent on the results you get, then you need to have a word with yourself, my friend, because getting depressed about what you haven’t achieved is not healthy. And if your “team mates” are not supportive enough, you do not have to stay with that team or club. Your mental well-being is paramount – without that basis you cannot prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that life throws at you.
Evaluating the Season
If you haven’t achieved what you thought were reasonable goals, ask yourself why that might be. Maybe you have had a stressful time at work, or a member of your family has been ill, or you just haven’t had the spare time to dedicate to training. Some things are out of our control and as an adult you just have to accept that fact and move on. Instead, look at what you have achieved this season in spite of all the other issues you have had to deal with and take those achievements as a positive. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting the results that you thought you were capable of, but use them as a stepping stone for what you want to achieve next season. Don’t underestimate the British weather either – if you wanted to go under the hour on a 25 mile time trial but every single time you rode an event it was horrendously windy, that is something out of your control, so just deal with it and move on.
If you have missed some of your targets this season, do yourself a favour and list the goals that you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season in one column, then in a second column list how you did in reality – you will probably find that you were not too far wide of the target, and if there were things that appear to be out of reach, think about why that might be and how you might be able to change things to achieve those goals next season. If you use a training diary, or an on-line tool such as Garmin Connect or Strava, have a look back at all of that data you will have created and try and evaluate it to see whether you might have done too much leading up to the event where you didn’t hit the target, or you might have not done enough.
In the grand scheme of things, life is incredibly short. This isn’t a dress rehearsal and you have to take the best out of the challenges that life throws at you. Be honest with yourself, think about what you could have done to make things better and then you can start thinking about what you might want to achieve next season!
So until next time, enjoy riding and keep safe!