With the recent announcements that Maxgear RT’s women’s squad (the Maxgearettes) have made recently, I thought it would be a good idea to catch up with the girls to find out what has been happening in their world. The riders for next season are Nicola Soden, Melissa Bury, Lauryn Therin, Frankie White, Eve Dixon and Jo Blakeley, together with the Team Manager, Ian Bury
The Maxgearettes line up has changed slightly ready for next season. Have you changed your targets as a team for next season?
N (@nicolasoden) – As a team, the targets will be broadly similar to last year – National Road Race Series, Team Series, Tour Series and Track Nationals although the way in which they are targeted will change. The team will use a planned approach to each race based on differing courses and rider strengths. Each rider also has personal objectives within each race. There are a couple of stage races some of us would like to ride in Ireland and Jersey (Lauryn’s home turf) and we plan to make a few trips over to Belgium again.
M (@smelissabury) – This year we are aiming to have more of a presence as a team at the national series and team series races. This will hopefully enable us to get to know each other well and get to know each others riding styles so we can work to every ones strengths.
L (@lauryntherin) – From our initial team meetings we have all agreed that our targets for the coming season are to be process focused not outcome focused. A strong team ethic and developing as a group of riders who support one another is an integral part of this process. From this, we see our team developing significantly and it’s something we are all very much looking forward to.
J (@jo_blakeley) – This season we have both team and individual targets which will no doubt develop over the winter and racing season as we learn what each others strengths are and how we can work together. I think its important to allow both focuses to maximise the team potential.
You’ve brought some new riders into the fold, how do you think they will fit within the team’s dynamic?
I (@rugbyleague1) – We are delighted to have both Jo and Lauryn on board, they both bubble enthusiasm and bring new things to the team. Lauryn has an extremely exciting sporting background including world class Bobsleigh and has proved in the National Track Champs this year that she is a particularly good sprinter! Jo is very strong at Time Trial, so both riders will add new strengths to the team which should allow us to target more race types. The new team mates also means that five of our six riders are now based in Manchester within 5miles of each other, which should allow us to socialise and train better as a team, rather than just meeting up at races.
F (@frankiewhite7) – They are fitting in perfectly already! I went out with Jo on the MTB last weekend and we had great fun!
E (@eve_dixon) – We all get on really well and enjoy cycling together rather than cycling as individuals, I also think it is the strongest line up we’ve had in Maxgear in the three years I’ve been on the team!
M – After a couple of team meetings I am very excited about the new riders for next year. It will bring and open up new and different opportunities for races, as each of our riders have different strengths.
L – Being one of the new riders myself, I can see already that each individual brings something exciting to the dynamic of the team. And the best bit is, we haven’t even been out on our bikes yet!
J – I’d like to think I fit quite well into the team dynamic!! We all get on well and work/study in a variety of different areas so we all bring something a little different to the table. We also all want to
ride as a team – which I believe is one of the most important things.
E – no but there has been a rise in interest to join the team
M – We have seen an increased level of interest this year, however many seemed to be seasoned riders, so I am not sure if it was the Olympic/Paralympics that triggered this.
L – From discussions with Ian, I am aware that a number of girls contacted him displaying their interest and this was certainly more than previous years. For this reason, it is all the more important that I work hard to prove to the squad I was the right rider to choose.
How do you expect the season to unfold next year? There are new races on the calendar in the North West, how do you expect this to impact on your team?
N – It is great to see the development of a new women’s league as part of the CDNW series limited to 2/3/4 category women. It is a brilliant step forward in womens cycling in the UK as there is currently only racing available at National Level, sometimes against some of the countries or even worlds best riders. The alternative are short criteriums on closed circuits and not much in between. This new series fills this gap, offering road racing more in line with the mens split E/1/2, 3/4 system. The series will be extremely beneficial to our team as it will allow our riders to practice team tactics, build confidence and try things they may not get chance to in a National level race.
E – All new races are good for the whole of the country I think there will be women prepared to travel if they are well run events rather than just cyclists in the North West.
F – We’re really excited about the CDNW 2W/3W/4W series mainly because it should give us an opportunity to be able to dominate races as a team but also because they are local it means our family and friends can come watch.
M – I am very pleased that there are more races being put on in the North West, as I am at Manchester University so it makes getting to races a lot easier! Also a lot of the team have work commitments, so being able to get to and from a race in a day is a massive help both financially and time wise.
L – As a team we have already planned an idea of what we would like our season to look like. The North West based races is something we will target and we are confident about our team working hard for one another.
J – It’s great there’s some events close by. It’s the nature of women’s racing at the moment that races are few and far apart. To have a set of races that are close to home is great news. I’m looking
forward to them.
How would you like domestic women’s cycling to evolve?
F – Personally I would like to see even greater advancements on those made with the entry level CDNW 2W/3W/4W series this year. When I first had a go at racing 18 months ago there didn’t seem to be a great deal out there for those unable to keep with an elite women’s bunch. Jenny Gretton has done a brilliant job with season starter crits at Tameside and Palatine Circuit, but these don’t last the whole season. Things are obviously changing, though until a hoard more ladies turn up, beginners will only continue to try and hang on to the super speedy for much of the season.
E – I would like it to become more feasible for the women to be the best they can and get a wider range of cycling in Britain rather than just an elitist sport with very few individuals getting the support.
M – As I race in Belgium a lot, I would love to see closed roads in Women’s racing. This seems to increase the quality of racing as the riders don’t have to worry about cars, and closed roads just seem to make the event more impressive.
J – I’d like to see more women taking cycling further and more publicity for womens’ cycling. This has definitely grown recently with the Olympics but there’s still a lot of people who don’t realise about the cycling groups/activities that are available around the corner. I didn’t know until just after I started cycling that there was a grass track at the park which we often went to – there’s so many different types of cycling and not enough people who know about them.
There are a number of new networks that have popped up on facebook for of regional groups for women’s cycling, so this should help massively.