It’s been a busy few weeks for all of us, making it a great feeling to be back in the comforts of home and having time to reflect upon the last races which lead us up to the National Championships next weekend. Firstly Matrix Fitness – Prendas aimed for the team title in the Johnson Health tech GP series because riding as a team is something we do best; therefore an event which recognises this is perfect for us to show our strengths. Also with the fantastic coverage from ITV4/Century TV it was important for encouraging more opportunities in women’s cycling as this is a great starting point for recognising women’s cycling in a positive light and encouraging new sponsorship.
Behind the scenes DS Stef was the driving force behind the team….. Literally; he drove me to and from Belgium between the tour series races for great training races mixing it up with professional riders. During the race he was also extremely busy preparing us for each race as mechanic; gluing on tubs the night before and setting up turbo trainers, doing the swannie work of preparing bottles and food, on top of DS duties like panning races logistics, tactics, organising accommodation, etc etc.
On the other hand I had to prepare in a different way for my psychology exam. My weeks consisted of last minute revision in time for Monday. I made the call to miss the London Nocturne and stay up north in Yorkshire. It was slightly ambitious to race the national series event the day before my exam as I hadn’t touched my bike for 2 days prior to the event. However the course was suited to me as a rider and I managed to bag myself a 5th place. I would’ve loved to be in the winning break but considering my circumstances this is something I can hopefully aim for a win next year. Another positive is that I’m currently 2nd in the national women’s series which is a great indicator of consistency throughout this seasons racing.
After sitting my exam for 3hrs it was back on the road with Simo; first we had time to enjoy a meal for two and cinema before re-joining the others. Once together our days between racing consisted of film marathons and relaxing in the hot tub. Tuesday it was back to race day, we knew exactly what needed to be done in order to keep Annie’s jerseys and team prize. To put this into practice perfectly in Woking was a high priority and we were happy to do what we do best another with an aggressive race with 3 of us finishing in the top 10, the jerseys defended and I had something left in my legs for a 3rd on the night.
Unfortunately Hannah Rich and Sarah weren’t able to ride the last rounds of the Johnson Health Tech GP in Stoke and Woking with illness and injury but are still a vital part of our team contributing points in the earlier rounds. With a slim 10 point lead over the 2nd place team going into the last round it was all to play for. With a lot of tired legs lined up on the start line, Helen Wyman took advantage attacking on the first lap and we never saw her again as Matrix Fitness- Prendas were extremely marked. Despite this we still managed to replicate our success from round 4 in Woking with a 3rd place on the night by Jessie, and winning the team prize on the night as well. In doing so we also secured both Annie’s sprint and individual leaders jerseys as well as the team prize overall.
top of that Hannah Walker was a great domestique taking points in the sprints competition from other riders for Annie and in doing so she ended up 3rd herself. After the race we were all extremely pleased and we couldn’t have asked for more, to make our families and sponsors proud. To cap it all off, the school children we had handed medals to earlier in the day as part of an appearance for Stoke City Council were there to see us winning, hopefully meaning we have inspired children to ride bikes. It was an awesome series all round……. Roll on the next year.