Women’s Cycling – Planning Ahead

Now that the Women’s National Road Series is over for another year, many people will be thinking about what team they want to be riding for next season, so given that the better teams tend to be sorted by August, I thought it would be helpful to give those of you who might not have gone through the process before some guidance.

Where do I start?

Firstly, a good starting point is to think about what you actually want to achieve next season and whether you have all the “tools” available to you to be able to do so.  For example, it might be something relatively simple like a need to improve on your base fitness over winter to help you be more competitive in the higher level races, or it might be something more difficult, like a lack of time and/or money.

Many people (male and female) make the mistake of applying a scatter gun approach to racing at the start of the season (a large factor being a plethora of races, on the most part circuit races, at the beginning of the season, which peter out later in the year), which doesn’t necessarily help with your fitness or your bank balance!

British Cycling National Road Race Championships 2015

BC National Road Race Championships 2015 – Image ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

So, what do you need to think about?

Time you have available

If you are at school, college, work or have kids, you will have other commitments other than riding your bike.  That also means that you are likely to have a finite number of holidays available too – so think about what you intend to do in those holidays, and how many you are prepared to spend at bike races (everybody needs a break from work otherwise you get burn out).

You also need to think about how many hours a week you can dedicate to riding a bike – if you have a training plan that involves 20 hours a week on the bike, is it reasonable to think that you can achieve that?  Or is 6 hours a week more likely?  You can still achieve results on the latter, you just have to make sure that you are doing quality training.

Matrix Fitness GP 2015 | Motherwell - Round 2

Matrix Fitness GP 2015 | Motherwell – Round 2 – Image ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Cost of racing

Every time you race, you pay an entry fee.  If you are keen to do more road races than anything else, these tend to be more expensive due to the nature of the infrastructure required for the race to go ahead.  If you are likely to be tight on cash (which most people are), and you have to cover the costs of your own entry fee, decide in advance which races  you intend to target (the cost of races disappears once the event has happened but if you earmark £30 for each National Series event, and £20 – £25 for every other event, you won’t be far off), how much you will need to spend to get there (including travelling, accommodation and food) and make those events your “target events”, you will go some way to making sure you budget for them accordingly.

Once you’ve earmarked how much it is going to cost you to get to the most important events in your calendar, then work backwards based on how much cash you think you are going to have available and look at local events first, then further afield.  Remember, you don’t have to enter all women’s races if there isn’t one available.  You can enter men’s events, but you have to be pretty quick because they fill up rather fast.

Women's Tour De Yorkshire 2015 - ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Women’s Tour De Yorkshire 2015 – ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Your Location

If you live in a region where there isn’t much racing available for women, you have two choices: you either do something about it (by persuading organisers of men’s events to host a women’s race at the same time) or you have to travel.  Most people have to travel at some point because races tend to be in the middle of nowhere.  If you don’t have access to a car, the likelihood is that you will struggle to get to races unless you team up with someone else to get there or you get there using public transport, which might involve a stay over.  If you’re not overly keen on those two options, you will need to look at the racing on offer in your locality and amend your season’s objectives accordingly.

Cheshire Classic 2015 - BC Women's Road Series Rnd 2

Cheshire Classic 2015 – BC Women’s Road Series Rnd2 – Image ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Do you need to be on a team?

The short answer is “no”.  However, some riders prefer to be on a team, so it’s each to their own.  But, having said that, if you do want to be on a sponsored team, and you are considering applying to teams, make sure that you are honest with yourself about what you can give.  Being on a team is a privileged position to be in, especially those where it includes the provision of clothing and equipment.  You need to ensure that you can do justice to yourself and your potential sponsors before applying.  You also need to think about the commitment level (see above) as if you’re limited on the number of holidays that you have, only you will know whether riding every Tour Series or driving the length of the country for National Series races is the best use of your time.

Notwithstanding the above, Tanya Griffiths wrote an article for us last year about applying for a team place, which you can access here.

Alexandra Women's Tour Of The Reservoir 2015 - Women's Tour Seri

Alexandra Women’s Tour Of The Reservoir 2015 – Image ©www.ChrisMaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

Perspective is important

Ultimately, the majority of racing cyclists in this country participate because it’s their hobby.  That means it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable (although it is hard work too).  Focus on what you want to achieve, make sure your objectives or goals are SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and just enjoy riding your bike.

If you do decide to go ahead with applying to sponsored teams next season, we wish you the very best of luck and hope that everything works out for you.

 

Check out Heathers previous guides:

Race Tactics – It’s More Than Just A Lead Out

 

Click below to read:
Part One – Where Do I Start?
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

 

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 Round 2 – Motherwell

All images ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

 

Local girl Katie Archibald rode off the front of the bunch, to win round two of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.

Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International’s Katie Archibald made her move after the first Sprint in Motherwell. Team-mate Gabby Shaw had begun to stretch the peloton out in the early laps of the race.

Race leader by default, Nikki Juniper had won the Sprint Jersey in Round one. So Jessie Walker (RST Racing Team) will wear the Sprint Jersey in Motherwell.

With round one winner Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness) not present, meant Juniper was the next placed highest rider to wear the Leaders Jersey.

Juniper, Walker and Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda) made the uphill sprint towards the line for the first three places, with Shaw taking fourth place.

Archibald didn’t contest the sprint, and this gave her the advantage of riding off the front for the bunch as they all recovered from that effort.

Gaining twenty to thirty meters along the top flatter part of the course, Archibald, a supreme pursuiter, rode steadily away. Roe & Juniper were unable to match her pace.

Archibald took the next set of Points, with Emily Nelson (Team USN) and Annasley Park (Team Giordana Triton) taking second and third.

As Archibald approached the finish line, the chasing bunch of eighteen girls where almost a lap down.

Riding over the line with ease, the main bunch where left to sprint it out for the remaining positions.

In a big bunch Sprint, Nikki Juniper took second place with Eileen Roe third. Lydia Boylan (Team WNT) took fourth and Katie Curtis (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, fifth.

Nikki Junipers Reaction: “We were only going to attain the Sprints Jersey”, “and we got the first prime”. “But no one heard the klaxon for the next prime”. “We knew Katie had probably got the next one”. “There was a bit of confusion on the Points Jersey”. “But apparently I’m still in it”.

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 leader – Round 2 – Nikki Juniper by Cycling Shorts

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Results: Motherwell

1: Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 0:39:33.541

2: Nikki Juniper Team Giordana Triton 0:41:02.815

3: Eileen Roe Wiggle Honda

4: Lydia Boylan Team WNT

5: Katie Curtis Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

6: Jessie Walker RST Racing Team

7: Emily Kay Team USN

8: Annasley Park Team Giordana Triton

9: Lucy Martin Matrix Fitness

10: Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

11: Henrietta Colborne Team Jadan

12: Rebecca Nixon Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Science

13: Jennifer George Les Filles

14: Charline Joiner Team WNT

15: Hannah Walker Team WNT

16: Manon Lloyd Team USN

17: Genevieve Whitson WV Avanti

18: Mel Lowther Matrix Fitness

19: Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

20: Emily Nelson Team USN

 

Overall after Round Two

1 Nikki Juniper 37 Team Giordana Triton

2 Katie Archibald 36 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

3 Lydia Boylan 31 Team WNT

4 Jessie Walker 30 RST Racing Team

5 Annasley Park 24 Team Giordana Triton

6 Laura Trott 20 Matrix Fitness

7 Charline Joiner 19 Team WNT

8 Dani King 19 Wiggle Honda

9 Eileen Roe 18 Wiggle Honda

10 Manon Lloyd 18 Team USN

 

Team Rankings after Round 2

1 Team Giordana Triton 78

2 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 72

3 Team WNT 56

4 Matrix Fitness 45

5 Team USN 33

6 Team Jadan 18

7 IKON Mazda 8

 

Sprint Rankings after Round 2

1 Nikki Juniper 14 Team Giordana Triton

2 Jessie Walker 12 RST Racing Team

3 Katie Archibald 7 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

4 Elinor Barker 4 Matrix Fitness

4 Emily Nelson 4 Team USN

 

Next race in the Matrix Fitness GP Series is on June 02nd in Croydon.

Matrix Fitness GP Series leader Nikki Juniper Chats

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 leader – Round 2 – Nikki Juniper by Cycling Shorts

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Read the race report here.

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