Iona at Peterborough Crit

Iona at Peterborough Crit

Friday, 28 June 2013

Malta Road National Championships Round-up

Photo courtesy of Kevin Mifsud
There are 3 Races in the Road National Championships. This year they took place in San Martin, Nadur (Gozo) and Zurrieq. After winning the first round at San Martin I placed second in the next round at Nadur. And therefore entering the third and final race, saw MarieClaire Aquilina from Team Greens and myself with even points and Caroline Zammit in 3rd place. So going into the last race the championship was still wide open. They set us off as usual with the elite male, 40 and 50 plus categories. The pace was steady from the start and as predicted the race came down to a sprint finish. With 3 laps to go there was a crash. Luckily I braked and went round it but unfortunately some riders could not avoid it. MarieClaire was involved but luckily it didn't take her long to get back to the group. As predicted the race came down to a sprint finish. I had a chat with Pierre Borg (Agones CC rider) just before the race where he talked me through the sprint finish. I followed his suggestion, gave it all I had to cross the finish line 1st, with MarieClaire in 2nd place and team mate Caroline Zammit (Agones CC rider) in 3rd place who sprinted to finish ahead of Hannah Pace (The Cyclist CC). 

I would like to thank all the Agones Club riders and backup team for their support throughout these championships, to Steve Wright for continuing to coach me to the best of my abilities, and to RDRitalia for creating my new marvellous racing machine. 

Thanks to all the GB cycling team for their support, and to Zipvit and Specialized our team sponsors.

I now look forward to join my team mates in the UK and finish off the season racing for GB Cycles Ladies Racing Team.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Surf and turf 2 day national series

The surf and turf 2 day event started off with a 1 lap sprint around a 1k lap. Last year I came 7th in this and I got dropped in the crit showing how unfit I was last year yet I still had a good sprint so I knew I could get a good result in the sprint this year considering I've improved my fitness. This turned out to be the case as I manage to take 8th in the sprint. This set me up for the rest of the weekend really as I had a very poor crit. I put this down to taking a weeks recovery prior to the race to rest an on going tendonitis issue I have with my knee which made the fast pace very tough on my lungs and as a consequence I got a poor position in the crit but finished with the main bunch so kept my place in GC.  The RR the next day was flat! An actual road race that didn't have a bloody hill in it! I knew this meant I would stay with the main bunch and it would be unlikely that a break would stay away as we set a high pace which helped my pre race nerves. Again this was the case with one attack managing to stay out for afew laps before the bunch decided to pull her back in. I didn't realise that I had kept my place in GC in the crit as I got such a rubbish result and same again in the RR I finished just in the main bunch again so it was a big surprise when I was called up to take some prize money in the presentation for 8th overall GC. Chuffed!



After the previous nights excitement at the London nocturne crit Karen and myself turned up to the Hillingdon GP. Knowing the circuit suited me I wanted to ride aggressively in the race and try and turn some heads which I never get chance to do as I'm always clinging on for dear life! This lead me to go for pretty much all the primes in the race getting out sprinted every time by Amy Hill to come 2nd in my attempts! It was rather frustrating but I felt please to have been able to attacked and recovery every time quick enough to not suffer the rest of the race. Karen also had a good race showing some good attacks to get the field moving initially. After many primes sprints and not many successful attacks from the other riders it was a bunch sprint into the finish. Me and Karen found ourselves in the worst position, at the back! Being boxed in we had nowhere to go and with lots of dodgy riding in the final lap which caused me to nearly crash twice I was just pleased to finish on my bike and not on the Tarmac. A disappointing result for a race which I felt strong enough to get a top 10 but happy to have featured in the sprints and show the national riders I'm not just some chopper on a nice bike! Brit

London nocturne

Arriving at the london nocturne crit, I was immediately excited by the atmosphere which was continually growing as it grew closer to the main elite races of the evening. Watching the fold up bike race followed by the penny farthing race I was getting more and more excited about racing the elite criterium full knowing I was going to be completely blow out of the water as there was 3 Olympic champions, a world champion RR, a European cyclocross champion and the 4 time winner of the last 4 London nocturnes riding. Karen arrived in plenty of time and we began our warm up.
Standing on the start line the main hitters of the race were called up to take front row of the  crit before the rest of us mere mortals surged forwards to try and get as near as the front as possible. The horn sounded and that was it we set off at about a million miles per hour which only increased in speed as the race went on. Heart beat pumping out my chest , my adrenaline levels were only increased by a girl crashing hard into the barriers on the first lap, certainly dramatic! I can't quite say how long I managed to stay in before I was dropped as it was such a blur but soon enough I found myself in the 3rd group back and raced around until the whole field apart from the top 6 break away riders were lapped at which point I retired having thoroughly enjoyed myself. Karen had a rough start with her clip in but raced hard and I think she also enjoyed the race. I can honestly say although it may have been my shortest ever race it was definitely the best I ever been to in terms of crowd and the atmosphere and I will definitely be back and abit more prepared for the speed next time! Thanks to Steve ' o Steve for coming on the tube to watch and also Our very own sponsor Mr Stephen D for coming and supporting us also.


Monday, 17 June 2013

York Crit 11th June

There were 4 of us for the Women's race on the first evening race at the new York Sport cycle circuit.    The race was handicapped, with myself and Brit against two York Uni Cycling girls.  The York uni girls were given 3/4 of a lap head start, then myself and Brit we're set off.  I couldn't help laughing as we watched the two girls get further and further around the 1 km circuit, waiting to be set off.  This was going to be a two up team time trial of a race, just simply to catch the two ahead.

We set off hard and didn't seem to be making very slow progress on catching the two ahead, they we're working well together early on.  The first 15 minutes we're the hardest and then after that their lead started to tumble a lot more.  By about half distance of the 40 minute race we caught them.  They sat in the wheels as soon as we caught them.  Few more laps and we hit them hard again, attacking one after the other, then try to continue the as hard a pace we could to get rid of our tag along companions.  One dropped off the pace pretty quickly, the second rider hung on well for a lot longer.

After a few more digs and the remaining York Uni girl still hung on.  I attacked again out of the last corner before the drag up to the line.  This being the best place, for if anyone who might have lost some ground coming out of the corner.  Still she hung on, nothing for it attack again on the next lap same place.  This time it worked we had a gap!  'Come on lets keep it going', make it impossible to close the gap again, it worked she was gone.

Now it was just a matter of counting down the laps.  A lap to go, and we decided we'd cross the line together.  And with that make sure we test out the photo finish, and it was just that, it was called as a dead heat!

A team time trial of a race but a good new circuit and good race.  All we need now is a few more women to come along and race on a Tuesday evening, York Sport @ 19.15hrs:)

I then went on to race the men's 2,3,4 cat race that followed on form the women's race.  Jamie Sharp went off the front of the bunch form the gun and wasn't seen again until he lapped the field.
The bunch split and i decide on do or die approach and jumped off the front to try bridge the gap.  I made if half way before being reeled in!  That was it the next couple of attacks put me out the back.  I was dropped off the bunch and waited to be lapped.  Jamie came around like a Steam train, I kicked to get a brief tow, around two corners, before my leg cramped up completely and I couldn't pedal, ahhh!

Jumped back on bunch again, only for a few laps later a rider to crash on the bend in front of me and me get put out the back again!
In no man's land again and Jamie lap's me again, I kick again and this time it's cramp in the other leg, so i eased off sooner this time and managed to avoid complete loss of pedalling efficiency!

Last time I jump back in again with bunch and this time stay with them till finish.  Once in bunch the pace was pretty steady away.  So next week it's try to hang on for longer and maybe sit in a bit more early on.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Holme Valley Wheelers, Stage Race, 8th June

While the rest of the team we're down in London riding the Nocturne and Hillingdon GP this weekend, myself and Jo, (our team's guest rider this season) were riding the Holme Valley Wheelers stage race.  2 stages over one day, a individual 10 mile TT and a 30 mile road stage.

Stage 1 the TT.  Now never having just ridden a 10 TT, I had no idea what sort of time to expect.  The course was hilly, well very up and down, if you call them hill's, out and back on a main road, to a roundabout.  There was no rule about not being allowed TT bikes, so like for Malta I rode Steve's TT bike.  I was hoping for a top 10 result, so when the results came out I was slightly disappointed to finish 11th in a time of 27:23, I would have liked to do sub 27 time!  I came to the conclusion that given the nature of the course I might have been quicker on my road bike, give it was slightly lighter and it was the hill's where I struggled with the TT bike.  Jo finished in 9th place with a time of 26:53.

On to the road race, 3 laps of a tough and interesting course.  There's no let up in this course it's rolling and up and down the whole way around!  Makes for much more interesting racing rather than the usual, wait for the hill, attack, wait for the hill oh yep there goes the another attack!
1st lap, we went down the fast decent, trying very hard to avoid the pot holes!  And the straight into the first little kick of the hill, I came to the front and rode hard into the bottom of the hill.  I kept it going for as long as I could, but just holding back a little waiting for the counter attack to come, and so it did.  One of the Scott Contessa Girls jumped past me, I was straight on her wheel, but then let it go as she just sped away from the rest of the bunch (she was like a mountain goat, the way she went up there!)  We left her dangling out front for about a 1/4 of a lap, before she was brought back.
I managed to stay up front fairly easily, working form time to time on the front, Jo too doing her share.  Delia Beddis, the Dirt Wheels rider tried a fair few times to split things up.  We'd get a small gap on the decent but then it all seemed to come back together again fairly quickly.

Second lap and the pace was pushed a bit higher.  Up the two drags and rises of small climbs and then over the top of one the pace was kept on and I felt myself loosing contact with the bunch, the bunch split in 2, Jo being behind me got caught the wrong side of the split!  I had nothing left.  There were 7 of us in a small chase group, trying to get back to the main bunch.  Up the main road, of the most notable hill, and I was hanging on.  We we're almost at the top when I was dropped completely!  Annoying for one thing, as sounds like the pace dropped after that.  For the final lap Jo and chase group managed to make contact once again with the main bunch.

Jo came in to finish 17th and I think, I came in 22nd but losing my place on GC.
Overall a super ride by Jo to finish 8th on GC and me in 22nd!  Now I know how Brit felt last weekend at Banbury, I just had nothing left, I seemed to crawl around the last lap!
Anyway I'll move onto the next race, and hopefully a better result!