Hi Folks, This will be my first post so I’ll just start it by saying thanks to everyone who contributes their time, effort or pounds to the fund for supporting me this year. I really do appreciate it.
Some of you may know that I was a supported rider as a youth when I had sprint ambitions and was chasing a place on the GB, Olympic Development Programme. I didn’t make it onto the programme mainly due to a bout of anaemia during the selection process that also forced me to take time out for a year to fully recover.
Well, I got back into it around mid 2010 but was unfortunately too late to gain qualification for Delhi. I did get a few results though and was once again catching the attention of Scottish Cycling. I applied for a place on the senior / elite athlete programme for 2011 and was told that I would be given a supported opportunity to gain a full time Road / Track Endurance place for 2012 towards Glasgow 2014 based on how I developed in 2011...
I had a very frank discussion with SC’s Graeme Herd and Allister Watson from my club, City of Edinburgh and I soon realised that while I am a pretty good sprinter, I was going to find it difficult to reach international level on the track. It was time for change! I was to spend 2011 in a sort of transition from riding fast short stuff to fast long stuff and would continue to race track events with a much increased training volume going on. Trying to find speed was hard at times and I was pretty fatigued at most of my races but I coped with it and still managed to get some good results. In fact, I managed to ride a number of PB times at the British Track Champs and even partnered my team mate Jenny Davis (who has an awesome first lap) to a silver medal and Scottish Women’s fastest ever time in the team sprint against Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish who are full time GB pro’s.
To cut a long story short, I made the required progress and won my place on the Scottish Programme for 2012 going towards Glasgow. I have since been taken on by the Scottish Institute of Sport and am benefiting greatly from being coached by Graeme Herd. So, that’s who I am and where I’m at right now!
Like many others my training for season 2012 started at the end of October 2011 and I can honestly say I have put in some serious miles since then with my best week at the 500mile mark. I can’t say I have enjoyed them all. At times it has been a real slog but I am sure I will see the benefit of it soon and when the season really kicks off and I’m really looking forward to it.
I am still very much in training mode at the moment and this is now beginning to include a bit of racing. I had my first outing at ‘the Gifford’ recently and had a bit of a stutter there! I think there were about 80 or so riders in the B race, nearly all men. It was my first road race and I was dressed up in track jackets gloves thermal leggings and things. I was crushed into a bunch of guys and it just seemed so far removed from racing as I know it. I went round the first lap and could not switch on my racing head. There were no tactics to think about, no one to test, no one to push on the drags, no sprint finish to prepare for. It was cold miserable and boring. All about just hanging on a male riders wheel, anyone’s wheel! It felt nothing like a race to me and I felt really disappointed. I was getting nothing out of it and I pulled up after the first lap. My legs were fine but my head said ‘why are you here? This is not racing’
I am sure everyone else enjoyed it. It was a very well organised race in a nice location. No disrespect to organisers or event intended. It’s Just how I felt on the day.
After being convinced that there was much more to be had from women’s road racing than hanging off a wheel in a field of 80 men..I saddled up and got out again the following week. This time it was the Louden Hilly TT over twelve and a half miles and an APR held over the same hilly course the following day. I did the TT on a standard road bike and finished as first woman with a respectable time and a good reading on the powertap at the end, which was the goal. I was also first placed woman in the APR the following day and It was good to measure myself against some of the stronger male riders too.
My next race was the Lake APR Feminine. This was a women’s race with three groups. I found myself in the ‘Scratch’ group with seven others. We worked hard to make up the twelve minutes and two minutes time difference the other groups had on us. We got to within a minute and a half of the winner and closer than that to the other nine riders who just stayed ahead of us. I had my own goals for the race and I was pretty happy with the ride. I was quickest round the course on the day, first finisher from the ‘scratch’ group and felt comfortable on the drags and strong in the sprint finish despite a heavy training week.
Last weekend, I travelled to Newport Velodrome for the British Universities and Colleges Sports Track Championships. This was the first time I had raced properly on the track since the British Champs and I have not started any sort of track specific training yet. I haven’t even bothered about track league yet, so I really wasn’t sure how it would go. There were 26 female riders from all over the country and I knew a few of them including Corrine Hall, a British Champion and Cara Horne, Irish Champion, who are top quality national level riders who have both been track training and racing to world cup standard just recently . I thought they would be strong and I was right. They were my main opposition throughout the competition which had a 500m TT, Scratch, Individual Pursuit and Sprint. I had a PB time in my pursuit, a near PB in the 500 and got into a break with Corrine and Cara that saw the three of us working very hard to eventually lap the field in the scratch. Great weekend and it sure did wake up old track legs.
Thanks for reading.