Well the rollercoaster that was the Tour Series is over, and it certainly had its highs and lows. From the highs of winning in Oxford, to the lows of having a team mate and good friend puncture a lung in Peterborough and losing the love in Woking, back to the highs of going up on the podium 3 times in rainy Stoke to be crowned overall individual, sprint and team winners.
I won’t go through each round, you can go back and read the various race reports on our team website for that. Although, I will quickly give my own perspective of Stoke. Despite numerous reports saying things were coming down to the wire (and yes, they were!), me and my team mates knew exactly what to do to secure the jerseys, I knew who I needed to beat and by how many points. It came close near the end, but never did I feel we didn’t have it under control.
So now I have got that off my chest, I need to highlight some of my favourite parts of the Series, the bits that stand out for me!
One great thing about being on a team is sharing the results of your team mates, and a definite highlight for me would be Penny’s 3rd in Woking and Jessie’s 3rd in Stoke. These girls have worked relentlessly for me over every round, and to be able to look up ahead from the peleton and see them getting the results they deserve makes you smile through the grimace of the sprint. And bopping out a 3rd at 17 can only be a sign of things to come!!
At Colchester the weather gods weren’t so kind, as the Womens race was a wash out! For me, I naturally rode with a lot more caution and with me leading the overall and sprints, safety was critical. As some suffered in the rain, other excelled and Hannah Walker was one of those riders. It was at this round, all came into line for Hannah and she became chief sprint points pincher, playing a vital role in the last 3 rounds in stealing points allowing me to keep the points jersey! Although much to rest of the teams disgust she did keep doing a rain dance for the rest of rounds, due to her new found love of racing in the rain!
A personal highlight was my win in Oxford, for the sheer fact it showed me that all my hard work through winter juggling the stress of training and 3rd year at Uni had all been worth it. And showed me what it feels like to win, it’s a indescribable buzz that is almost addictive, and once you have felt it, you undoubtedly want it again! This fire remained in me for the next 4 rounds, even with nights like Woking threatening its extinguish, but it remained until I sprayed the Champagne at Stoke and took a victorious swig (then swiftly remember I had to drive home!).
Another highlight is the level in which Womens Cycling was at for the duration of this series! I did the first ever one-off round of the womens tour series back in 2010, and although I spent most of that race sat on the curb in tears due a reoccurring knee injury, from what I do remember the 2012 rounds seems almost incomparable in a good way. Bike racing has its crashes, it’s all part of the sport, but I would like to highlight how safe the Womens racing was! The men spent more time throwing themselves at the tarmac than the women did. But don’t let the word ‘safe’ detract from how competitive these rounds were, noticeable by a different winner being crowned at every round! The team battle with NODE 4 made things exciting throughout, with massive respect to those girls who are all so strong respectively; they never made it easy for us! And riding with a World Champion just boosted the series even more. Also a special mention to Jo Tindley, who put up a brilliant fight in the Sprints competition never giving up, and wore the jersey in style!!
I could go on, but this could get boring! Thanks must be given though to the race organisers and Johnson Health Tech UK for putting this series on for us women and allowing our races to be highlighted on TV. Hopefully things will grow from here as I think every woman that has taken part in the series should pat themselves on that back…..as we put on a Dam Good Show!!!
Final thanks go to Penny, Jessie, Hannah W, Sarah and Hannah R! Amazing team mates who believed in me from start to finish, even when I didn’t believe in myself! The two jerseys I won are not just mine but the whole teams.
Right, well now that’s all over and I’ve caught up on much needed sleep….next stop National RR Champs!