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.