Here’s a little insight of our awesome Tour of Brittany. We came away with top 10 results in a UCI Pro stage race. Not only that we, have a lot of positives to take away from the experience to share with you as the girls explain:
Corrine – Thinking about it, there wasn’t one particular highlight, I really enjoyed the whole thing. I enjoyed the racing, the experience and most of all the company. Thank you all so much for making me feel so welcome!
Helen – my highlight for sure was about 70km into the first stage and Penny and Jessie were sat just in front of me middle of the bunch chatting. I’ve never seen such young riders be so comfortable and communicating so well in a professional race. I wanted to tweet right then! #proud
Jessie – The most enjoyable thing I found about the trip was racing as a team. I loved how we were always around each other getting involved with all the pro women and communicating. Whenever I was finding the racing hard, I’d just look up and see a Matrix jersey which gave me a boost and made me aim to move up near them.
Penny – For me it was once I’d been caught from my attack on the last stage, seeing a train of Matrix Fitness riders ready for the bunch as I knew could always rely on my team to be there! Showing how cycling isn’t an individual sport as we couldn’t have got the results we did without one another.
Amy – the Matrix girls are such good company and great team workers!’. Having Helen as a personal domestique on the last stage was definitely an experience; a very good one though and for sure a massive help!
Despite Amy saying this Helen believed if she could have changed anything “I would have found Amy on day 3 and led her out properly”.
We all have something to learn when it comes to bike racing. Corrine “I defiantly learnt loads during the trip, but mainly working with a team, which I enjoyed very much.” For Hannah, “The experience of a stage race was great. I have a lot to take away from the experience; stay near the front, take any gap that becomes available and enjoy the racing. As the race went on I became so much more confident.”
Jessie said “I’ve learnt a lot from this stage race. Mainly it’s just given me an understanding of what foreign races are like. The racing was as hard as I thought it would be but it was very unpredictable. Penny and I have also decided that we want to learn French, so that’s going to be our own little winter project hopefully we’ll keep it up!
The race itself was sandwiched between 2 nights in hotels in Honfleur and the race base was in Guingamp situated in the North of France. Both were beautiful places, as were the stages, which was one of Hannah’s highlight’s; “The scenery at the stage locations was beautiful, especially the last stage along the coast; not that I had much time to look!” The accommodation was also nice, a simple modern school where all the riders from different teams stayed and surprisingly enough we had internet too. The food was simple as every day mostly consisted of some form of white meat on top of pasta but British Ketchup did save the day. Although France is a beautiful country I did found the toilets with no toilet seats weird and that the male and female toilets are within the same room so you would have to awkwardly walk past one another to where the sinks were to wash your hands!
Another quirk of France was picked up by Hannah, “I found it weird how they didn’t have table spoons or mugs for a hot drink.” This led me to ask the girls to give some advice of the essential items we recommend you take to Tour of Brittany;
Amy – I’d say take a mug and tea bags. I missed having a cuppa in the evenings. The weird thing is you drink out of bowls!
Helen – I reckon Corrine would recommend the one thing to take on a stage race with me would be ear plugs!!!
Corrine – Haha I agree with Helen if you are ever going to a stage race with her, take ear plugs!! Also I would pack a little less as I didn’t really need my prom dress hehe.
Jessie – My retainer!
Hannah – Nail varnish
Between making the repetitive robot routine of eat, travel, eat, race, eat, travel, eat, sleep we managed to turn the experience into a very enjoyable trip. There were some had-to-be there moments, but generally taking the mick out of each other entertained us. Jessie said, “The whole trip was a laugh. Some funny moments were me and Penny pranking Helen… Mwahahah. 2&3.. 23!” Amy said, “Everyone made me laugh. It’s such a lively group to be with, definitely no dull moments. Gotta love the things Helen comes out with!!”
When asked if we would do it again:
Amy – Yep would do it again, even though I suffered big time by the end!!
Helen – I’d do it again every year until I retire if allowed ha ha
Corinne – Yes would definitely do it again, in fact I would do it all again tomorrow if I could
Hannah – I’d definitely do it again, tomorrow if I could even though it was a tough race. Hopefully I can go back next year and improve.
Jessie – I would definitely do it again and put everything I’ve learnt into practice. Every race I do I learn so much.
For the guest riders, what are the Matrix Fitness Prendas girls really like…….be honest?
Amy – Honestly the Matrix girls are awesome, such good company, great team workers and generally good to be around a lot of joking around to get used to but all good fun!
Corinne – As for the Matrix girls……You are all great to be around, you made me feel part of the team and I don’t have anything bad to say about anyone so thank you again it was a great trip
Helen – am I a guest rider? You are all horrid, I felt bullied daily especially by that Jessie Wak she is the worst for sure, did you see the tweet she put out about me??! Ha ha ha
So it concluded, as far as racing in France goes you need an amazing team, good positioning in the peloton, nail varnish, a mug, a spoon, ear plugs and a sense of humour! Lastly, whenever doing a stage race never forget to pack your fast legs.