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…
Ok, I’ve used a fair bit of creative license with this blog title. Just humour me…
Some of you will have heard of Filles a Velo, some may even have followed it from its beginnings in 2010 as a blog about British women’s cycling. Some supported and contributed content and interviews and some publicly berated me via social media when I decided to stop the blog at the start of last year.
In a nutshell, I had to pause for thought. I was a one woman band. Just an impassioned fan. I got busy working on other time consuming cycling projects and events. It became a straight up choice between spending what free time I had with my family (husband & kids) or on Filles a Velo. No contest.
Women’s cycling had suddenly become the “in thing” since the 2012 Olympics. Overnight the internet was awash with “experts”. New websites dedicated to women’s cycling popped up. Helping to raise the profile of the sport, culture and lifestyle. Women’s cycling was finally getting coverage. Yes, it was still woefully inadequate for women in comparison to men, but it was getting better. The tide was turning slowly.
However, I had no plans to completely step away. Throughout 2013 I was involved in the organising and delivery of women’s cycling events and initiatives for Scottish Cycling. This led on to many discussions and the shape shifting bit…
In December 2013 Filles a Velo was relaunched as Filles a Velo Cycling Club. A National Cycling Club and Network for Women across Scotland. (affiliated to both Scottish Cycling and CTC Scotland).
2013 Women’s Road Academy
Filles a Velo CC is an initiative led by a group of women who saw the need for an increased level of support for women’s cycle sport in Scotland.
It was set up to provide a badly needed framework of support to the growing number of female cyclists from all cycling disciplines in Scotland.
Cycling provides opportunities for increasing social interaction in both urban and rural areas, improving physical and mental wellbeing, increasing confidence and skills.
Building on the success of last years women’s road academy and track school we will be working in partnership with local cycling clubs, regional cycling associations, Scottish Cycling and other relevant organisations to organise and deliver a series of women only coach led cycling events for novice and intermediate level on the road (closed circuits) and track (indoor and outdoor).
Online entry is now open for the first events – further details can be found here!
The time is now for women’s cycling globally and nationally. Get involved and help us get more women on their bikes more often across Scotland!
2013 Women’s Track School
For more information on Filles a Velo CC and to book onto an event check out the club’s twitter, facebook and website.
Today we can announce that the legendary cycling event The Milk Race is to return again in 2014 after a triumphant comeback last year.
The event, which was brought back in 2013 by The Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum after a 20 year hiatus, will take place for the second year running in Nottingham on Sunday 25 May as a major city centre race.
For 2014, The Milk Race will once again be a key event in the British sporting calendar and will constitute both an elite women’s race and an elite men’s race on the same day, alongside a full day’s festival of cycling for all the family.
Last year, 60,000 spectators saw Olympic gold medalist Dani King and Rapha Condor JLT’s Felix English join The Milk Race’s Hall of Fame by becoming victorious in the women’s and men’s elite events.
Already confirmed for this year’s race is multi gold medal Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, along with her team The Madison Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Team. On taking part in 2014, Dame Sarah said: “I am very excited to see The Milk Race return to Nottingham for 2014. It was a superb event in 2013 recapturing the excitement of the event from its previous format. This year I am excited to be riding with my new road team and I look forward to seeing the amazing crowds that watched the event in 2013. A huge thanks to everyone who has worked to bring us this superb event again.”
Also confirmed for 2014 is last year’s Milk Race men’s elite champion, Felix English. On returning again this year, Felix said: “As the current men’s Milk Race champion, it’s brilliant that the event is returning again in May. The atmosphere last year in Nottingham was fantastic so I can’t wait to race the circuit once again.”
The 2014 elite races will once again be directed by former world champion Tony Doyle MBE, who was also a founder of the Tour of Britain in 1994 and was President of the British Cycling Federation in 1996.
On his involvement with this year’s Milk Race, Tony said: “I am delighted to be involved in 2014’s event. Last year was a great success and a brilliant addition to the cycling calendar. It’s a very exciting time for cycling and with the heritage of The Milk Race, combined with its new city centre format, I’m sure it’ll once again prove to be a big hit with cyclists and supporters alike.”
Nottingham was chosen as the location of The Milk Race for the second year running as it played a huge part in the success of last year’s event. The city also has a long standing heritage in cycling – it houses the headquarters of leading brand Raleigh – and maintains an outstanding commitment to community cycling.
Further information about the 2014 Milk Race can be found at www.themilkrace.com and additional details of the event will be unveiled over the coming weeks. Registration for family and advanced rides will open mid March.
The History of The Milk Race
- Between 1958 and 1993, The Milk Race was the most prestigious cycling event in the British calendar, and the (now disbanded) Milk Marketing Board’s sponsorship remains the longest association that the sport has ever had.
- The multistage race of old was conducted over a number of day races – across a number of locations – and was contested by some of the most successful ever road cyclists.
- Previous Milk Race winners include Shane Sutton – a current part of British Cycling’s coaching set-up – and Malcolm Elliott, the team manager of the Node4-Giordana professional team.
- In 2013, The Milk Race returned after 20 years and was held in Nottingham city centre – attended by over 60,000 people. Dani King and Felix English won the women’s elite race and the men’s elite race respectively.
Angela before the off – Image ©Mel MacRae
Over 600, (Wowee!) turned up at Scone Palace today in pouring rain and howling gales for Scotland’s only Cycletta sportive. It was an impressive sight!. After doing the Applecross Duathlon yesterday I didn’t think my legs would manage but my hardy pal, Angela, had headed down from Inverness for the day’s event and convinced me that it would be a good idea so I got my stuff together!
…and we’re off! – Image ©Mel Macrae
We turned up to Scone Palace in the morning to a throng of cyclists getting ready for the off. After getting our bikes sorted; labelled with our numbers and stickers for the timing chip, we headed down to the start line. We were grouped in bunches of around 20 and given a safety briefing for the day. Then we were off, pedaling out of Scone Palace grounds to start our Cycletta adventure.
There was a lot of familiar faces which was great to see. Within the first few miles I spotted fellow cycle coach Kirsteen Torrance, working with a group of girls on some ‘on through and off’ technique. Group riding is such a great experience and with practice can save you so much energy.
We bumped into Debbie (not literally), from Perth Road Runners. She won a place after entering a competition through the local radio station, Tay FM. She had looked at Cycletta’s website before but was trying to decide between it and the Stirling 10k. Winning the competition made the decision for her.
Cycling on a bit more we came across the girls from the Glasgow Green Cycle Club, a cycle club which this time last year had only 3 female members. Today there must have been at least 10 working together in a team to push on up the road.
Glasgow Green Cycle Club Ladies – Image ©Mel MacRae
Things have really taken off for them this year. Amongst them was another cycling coach Elizabeth O’Donnell, we managed a quick catch up about the club and what she has been up to recently before heading on up the road into the rain. Also out were some of the ladies from my favourite club, the East Sutherland Wheelers. They now have over 100 female members in one of the most northerly cycle clubs in the UK.
Blowing us in the right direction
It was cold and wet that’s true but once we had warmed up it didn’t really matter at all. The wind was strong but this also had the advantage of giving us a nice tailwind for some parts of the ride which we most definitely took advantage of. We stopped briefly to refill the water bottles and devour a
East Sutherland Wheelers Ladies – Image ©Mel MacRae
couple of jelly babies at one of the well-stocked food stops provided for us along the way.
This was Angela’s first cycle event. She got into cycling when she took on the Barra to Butt challenge to raise money for a Zambian charity some years ago. Earlier this year, Angela took part in some women’s specific cycle coaching sessions run by East Sutherland Wheelers. She enjoyed the sessions so much she went out and bought herself a nice new road bike. Since then, she has been on her bike getting addicted to Strava and training to tackle the Bealach climb in Wester Ross, which showed today, with her classy climbing up the Gallowhill ..twice!
Sprint for the finish
63km later we were back at Scone palace and had enough in our legs to manage a sprint over the line. There was a good buzz at the finish line and everyone we spoke to said they had really enjoyed it and were already talking about registering for next year. There was massage available for tired muscles, hot food to warm us up and cool women’s cycle wear for sale too! The event was well marshaled and had a really friendly atmosphere and for me, it was fantastic to be cycling with 600 ladies on the roads around Perth. This Cycletta demonstrated the popularity and strength of women’s cycling in Scotland today… very exciting!