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

 

 

 

Interview with Marianne Britten – Elite Women top British Cycling points scorer

Marianne Britten

Interview with the Team Captain of VC St Raphael Women’s Team and lead British Cycling points scorer for Elite Women in 2010 and 2011.

 

How did you get into cycling?
As a youngster I grew up riding horses and used to compete in tetrathlon, that’s swimming, running, horse-riding and shooting at Pony Club. That ends when you reach 21 so I was looking for another sport similar so ended up trying triathlon. I quickly realised that cycling was the most fun out of all the disciplines and so started to focus on that with a local bike club. I quickly fell in love with the whole sport and so here I am. I never tire of striving to achieve more, cycling is a great leveller so you never quite feel like you’ve conquered everything, leaving you thirsty for more.

You work full time but still manage to be successful on the bike – how do you manage your time?
Managing my time is very difficult. Some years I have reduce my hours over the season to give myself a break but then it’s still not easy and I have raced the last 2 seasons having worked full time. I’m very lucky to work for such an understanding group of people as they are very flexible with me allowing me to work from home and flex my hours so that I can train and race. I love my job and it’s the reason why I have never tried to be a full-time bike rider, for me I have to have other things in my life other than riding the bike. My partner Jason also helps me out a great deal and is often ferrying me around to races…allowing me to sleep on the way!

You’ve won many races and have a number of National Champion jerseys – which would you say is your proudest achievement and why?
The Masters titles I have won mean a great deal to me but my proudest moments have come this year taking the sprinters jersey at the Bedford 2-day and getting on the podium at the Hillingdon GP, finally perhaps putting myself on the radar as a sprinter. I always take pleasure in doing the best I can and if a result comes from that then that’s a bonus.

What would you say to anybody who is thinking of starting racing, especially as it can be daunting getting on a start line for the first time? Any top tips?
First of all I can’t stress how important it is to develop your bunch riding skills before attempting to race, going out with a local bike club is a good way to learn some of these skills and gain confidence of riding with people around you and at speeds you wouldn’t by yourself. There are also a few Women’s training sessions that you can attend which are excellent. Then when you are confident, try to pick races that are within your reach to start with, perhaps local women’s races, don’t try to take on too much too soon as you can easily find yourself out of your depth both in terms of speed and technique. Always be realistic about your ability and recognise your strengths, some riders are better over hilly terrain and some are better at sprinting. Recognising these and targeting races to suit you will mean you will have positive experiences and enjoy the sport more. Don’t be swayed to do every race on the calendar just because everyone else is, be confident in your own training and race plan and stick with it. Most importantly it’s about your sport being fun.

Is there any advice in particular that you have been given over the years which has helped you to succeed that you could share with us?
I read a book once by Lance Armstrong, one of his quotes was that “pain is in the moment but failure is forever”. That’s something that has stayed with me and I try to remember when I am racing. Being the best that I can be is what I strive for so I train hard to save myself from disappointment.

Do you have any sporting heroes? Do you see anything in them that you could model yourself on?
I did a bike race a few years ago where a certain Lizzie Armistead rode and lapped the field twice. I witnessed first hand something special that day and hopefully she will pull on a rainbow jersey one day. I’d like to think like her I have some steely determination and a bit of a sprint at the end….just a little less of her talent!

Do you have a favourite event or circuit? What about the event/circuit do you like so much?
My favourite circuit has to be one local to me, at Thruxton Motor circuit. I love the circuit because it’s tough with the rise before the finish and can be very fast in places. When I heard that the National Master Road Race was being held there instead of the original road circuit I knew I was in with a chance at winning the title I’d been after for 4years, which I did and was delighted.

You have recently become the official Team Captain to the VC St Raphael Women’s Team, which in itself is one of the new kids on the block. How do you see the team evolving?
I’m excited and honoured at taking on that role, other teams have asked me to captain them over the last few years but I’ve not felt ready until now. I hope that I can lead the team to work together and get results. We now have a strong mix of riders covering track, road and time trials. It is a great mix of youth and experience and we have some exciting new talent joining the team as well as the hard core from last year. Having had 2 excellent training weekends over the winter I think we are ready to test our legs and get working together as a team, Cheshire Classic will be our first event.

Do you have any aspirations for the 2012 season?
Mainly I want the team to get some results and work together, a result for a teammate means just as much. I’d like to defend my National titles and perhaps the sprinters jersey at Bedford 2-day again.

Where would you like to be in two years’ time?
I’d like to be still riding my bike and enjoying it, perhaps with a World or European Masters title to my name.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Back on the bike

I have ridden my bike since I was 14 years old. I was on the National Development Squad in the late 1990s, and won many medals at the BUSC championships whilst I was a student at the University of Manchester, mainly in the Track Championships and Hill Climb Championships. I also won the Manchester Regional Track League (Premier Division) on a number of occasions, as well as the Manchester & District Ladies Junior Time Trial Championships. I stopped racing in 2001 after I finished university and started to work full time as I struggled to manage the full days with training on top.

I decided to start racing again in 2011 after I was asked to join VC St Raphael. I was suffering from chronic fatigue on top of the epilepsy that I have always suffered from and I found it difficult to train whilst still working full time. However, I took the decision to swap medication (which I had been on since I was 18) and on Christmas Eve I came off the old medication completely – 15 years is a long time to be on any medication. Since being on the new medication, the chronic fatigue symptoms have lessened and my epilepsy remains under control (touch wood!). I have started training properly again and I am feeling stronger than ever before.

In 2013, I will be riding and managing a women’s team for Biketreks Racing Academy.

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