Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Madison presents Boot Out Breast Cancer Womens Cycling Team

As previously announced, shared, tweeted and retweeted over the last few days I am proud to write about my new team for 2014; Madison presents Boot Out Breast Cancer Womens Cycling Team.
Managed through the guidance of newly crowned World Masters Pursuit Champion, Barney Storey MBE, we have 9 riders who'll each bring a number of skills to the table. These skills and strengths will be put to the test individually at times, with many a strong time-trialist on the team. However they will also be tested when working alongside each other, whether it be on the road, in the middle of a town centre crit or on the boards! Piecing the jigsaw together may take a little time but the experiences ahead and the personalities forming collectedly is definitely something I look forward to. We'd all like to be at the top step of the podium at some point in our careers but there is also no greater feeling than seeing a team mate with their hands up in the air, showing off their team jersey and sponsors they owe so much to!
In regards to sponsors, myself and the team will be supported by Madison, riding Shimano equipped Ridley bikes, racing in Pearl Izumi clothing with Lazer helmets existing in the ever expanding package. Another title sponsor for the team is Boot Out Breast Cancer where we hope to promote the work of this charity with a magnificent cause. A link to the Boot Out Breast Cancer website can be found below along with websites and twitter accounts related to the team.

Please stay tuned in with my blog as in the coming months I will have more details on the team's first cycling camp together and ultimately the official team launch taking place next March. Eek! The word exciting doesn't do the above justice :))

Team Website (team webpage live within a few weeks):

Like on Facebook:

Follow on Twitter:

Detailed Team Release:

Tally Ho!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Done and Dusted!!

After my 7th place at the Johnson Health Tech Womens Westminster GP my feelings were of happiness, a little frustration but most of all, relief.
Experiencing a fast start and riders dropping likes flies the frustration came at the end of the race, fluffing up my final sprint, kicking up to 3rd/4th spot before leaving it too late to kick again. Doh! Jumping in a few breaks proved unsuccessful earlier on in the race so I made the decision part way through that I'd leave it to the sprint as I was a lone but monitored rider. Watching the replay on the TV made me even more aware of my mistakes, like I was watching it in slow motion, when actually the sprint won comfortably by Hannah Barnes was over in seconds! On the day, seventh was still something to be proud of but evidently my competitive mind can't help but always tick over ;)
As the minutes and hours passed by after my race in London, the emotion of relief settled in. Knowing that my final race of the season was complete, my mind and body could relax. Constant prepping, travelling, psyching up and racing takes its toll and only becomes apparent when the chance is given to step back. This is that time and being the lively, outgoing person I am, I shall embrace it. Time will be spent with my family and friends that I so often neglect through the racing season. No doubt I'll be back on the blog soon with some news that may be rather interesting :D

Laters Alligators.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

And so it wasn't to be...

Going into the Ras na m'Ban this year I had high hopes of picking up the county jersey or at least aiming for it. Being unsure of how my team could support me and the addition of a team time trial meant I was likely to rule out the top GC spots. However I knew the form I was in, using training and racing markers in the weeks previous to remove any doubt of achieving top fives and tens throughout the week. Unfortunately neither were to be and again on Irish soil my perseverance was tested through a crash on stage one and illness on stage two. Both situations eventually left me to make a sensible decision to DNF from the race so not to risk my own safety and that of others. No bones were broken and the root of my fainting episodes has since been easily sussed so its now time to move on and take the positives from the first stage. Fighting my lonesome way back to the main bunch after a heavy fall and bike change took some going into a headwind with a broken cleat at this point meaning I was unable to move out of the saddle, riding in fear of causing more damage if I took such action. An inefficient seated sprint at the end of the stage led to a pretty pleasing 24th spot from a group of nearly 70 and a further 30 plus starters.

Anyway like I said, moving on :) ... a time where I will be looking to use my sprint is this weekend in the Womens Westminster Grand Prix. Running off the back of  the Tour of Britain organisers, the race will start at 10.30am on Sunday morning, lasting for 60 minutes around an impressive sightseeing circuit ;) . As I did at the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, plenty of the capital's sights will be passed, taking in the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament Square this time around!  Being a race I look forward to for numerous reasons, I will certainly keep the blog updated and be right back next week with how it all went. Excitingggg!!!

Toodle Pip.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Ras na m'Ban, Sponsors, Bits and Bobs!!

This time next week I shall be half way through what now seems a regular occurrence in my cycling schedule. The Ras na m'Ban of course! If you didn't already know about it you sure will in the next few years as it gets bigger and bigger. A five day, six stage, race for women in Ireland. The last two years where I competed under the Irish National Team were held in Co. Kerry and the south west of Ireland certainly did deliver. First year out under the team, everything was pretty new to me under the guidance of Gillian McDarby and the mighty Olivia Dillon who went on to win the race with me finishing up 11th. The second time round felt more settled, especially after a turbulent year on and off the bike. Egos' were at rest on our team but unfortunately during the last couple of days my stomach wasn't!! Along with quite a few other riders I managed to catch a bug out of the blue, affecting me pretty quickly and finding myself desperately hanging onto 5th position during the fifth stage. However it wasn't to be, cramping up every time I bent over on the bike and eventually becoming a DNF on the result sheet. This wasn't ideal with three of our team in the top 10 but the others still fought on, making sure that our girl Lydia kept her second place :) In 2013, a reserve is the closest I will get to being on the Irish National Squad for the Ras na m'Ban. I haven't found myself disheartened, knowing that time is on my side, hopefully having many years to come in the sport. Instead I shall be racing under the Joe Daly Cycles outfit who are based out of Dundrum, Dublin. The team will be led from the new race headquarters in Ennis, Co. Clare by Brian McArdle and David Hendron. The inaugural set up in Ennis means a few more hilly roads to get used to and more competition to tackle too. With the form I returned with from the US I can only look forward to the week ahead. Woop woop!

And this week in other news... :D

I would like to happily mention the support I have received from two new sponsors. Skatterbox/Hat Boxes Ltd and Udderly Smooth both have bases not too far from my hometown of Birmingham with each company offering to support me and aid me in my development as a racing cyclist. A little more about both of the businesses can be found below so please give them a click and check them out as burdens have certainly been eased by this guys.

Hat Boxes Ltd are a UK based Hat Box and Garment Box Manufacturer situated in Shenstone, Staffordshire. Their products are known nationwide and can be purchased either online or over the phone.

Udderly Smooth offer a range of moisturising creams used to relieve dry skin. Developed in the US, Udderly Smooth is now available in the UK through Magrath Pharmacy, Tamworth.

Udderly Smooth's Chamois Cream is one of their products I can definitely vouch for being brilliant! For someone that spends a lot of time in the saddle it certainly does the job. A scentless odour and thick consistency make this inexpensive chamois cream stand out from the rest whether it be an hour or 4 hour ride. In my opinion Udderly Smooth's Chamois Cream and a good pair of shorts can make rides/races a lot more comfortable :)

Ciao for now.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Twitter Bandwagon, Check! Blog Bandwagon, Getting There...

Yes I'm here. Another blog, about another cyclist with another load of trials and tribulations to tell about training and racing!! This year, for those who don't know me, included a nip over the pond to the beautiful state of Wisconsin in the USA. We'll touch on that enlightening experience at some point but first I guess a little about this 'blogger' :)

A girl always involved in sport, certainly. However up until a few years ago my love for all things active shall we say, took a couple of slightly different forms...

For many years I was a swimmer with a lot of my childhood memories formed in the essence of chlorine.. niceee!  From the age of eight to fifteen I swam competitively at county and regional level meaning galas and open meets filled many a weekend. We didn't half travel a bit, my mom and I. No reliance on the Sat Nav back in the early noughties that was for sure! In those early years sweets and a Red Bull was the energy fuel of choice. Sport was so simple ;) Years before quitting swimming in my late teens I used to run at a local athletics club where by senior school I was made to choose between athletics or swimming nationally in a development squad. Between the ages of eleven and fourteen I competed for the squad, swimming some mad hours each week at a silly time most mornings before school. As a result I did qualify for the national championships but unfortunately at the time I never actually took part in them, managing to become over-trained and contracting glandular fever. Priorities changed from then on with me starting out in events with peculiar names such as aquathlon and triathlon. This change in direction brought around quite a few successes regionally and landed me a fifth ranked spot nationally during my time as a youth athlete. However there was something niggling in the back of brain telling me that even as a triathlete, all this swimming was becoming a bit of bane. By this point, I'd already dabbled in a bit of cycling, gaining myself a silver at a national event in a discipline I never knew existed the year beforehand! (hint hint, image below) From 2011 I called myself a fully fledged cyclist and have never looked back since...

L to R: Me, Hannah Barnes, Penny Rowson, National Cyclo Cross Championships 2010.
 Junior Women, Sutton Park.