Monday, 18 June 2012

So after five rounds of the Tour Series, London Nocturne, Velo Jam and Edinburgh Redbull Mini-Drome, as a team we are officially pooped! I once remember being told that the MBG's never race, well that has certainly changed :-)

Proper write-ups and blogs to come, but for the time being, see below for blog from the amazing Filles-a-Velo who sponsored Velo Jam.

Blog taken from Filles-a-Velo -
By Leigh Marshall

I'll be honest i'm not entirely sure where to begin.  The whole day blew me away entirely, and that is no exaggeration.

When Anna Glowinski (the very clever lady behind Ana Nichoola and Team Mule Bar Girl) and Wiesia Kuczaj (Team Mule Bar Girl) first told me about their idea for Velo Jam,  there was no question in my mind of whether Filles a Velo would be involved.  It was an absolute definite.

The idea thrilled me to the core.  A celebration of women's track racing.  Women pitting themselves competitively against each other, in a racing environment.  Whilst having fun and revelling in each other's company.  Feeling empowered as a group of women.

Some...ok! many, cooed "a women's only track meet? you'll never get the numbers" along with "it will be a crash fest" and "they'll never race aggressively throughout" - but lo, they were ALL 100% WRONG on EVERY single count!

Build it and they will come - and come they did, in exciting numbers across all the categories.  However, it wasn't the A cats field that excited me the was the novice riders.  Some of whom had NEVER raced on a track until that day.  Proving their mettle for the duration.

The racing was fast and furious (I make no apologies for the cliche) with aggressive riding and constant attacking throughout the ENTIRE race meet, in all categories.

Essentially the programme comprised of an omnium (scratch, points, 2 lap dash, devil) and a brucey bonus afterwards, in the form of a 12 lap novice/33 lap A, B cat scratch race.  The support race was a men's 2 lap fancy dress drag race.

I'm not going to give a blow by blow account of how each race unfolded.  It would take forever to read and quite frankly, be a bit too repetitive...attack, shut down, attack, shut down, attack, 2 lap gap, shut down, get the idea!  (i'm not complaining btw, it's a fantastic dilemma to have, but sadly it doesn't make for a great reading experience).

During the scratch and points races, the bunch worked tirelessly and tactically to bring back attack after attack.  With the escapee(s) only ever staying away for a few laps before being brought back.  Yes, there really was that much attacking going on and in a women's race meet too...who knew ;)

We saw some really bold and purposeful racing throughout the 2 lap dash heats and again in the finals.  With many screaming legs afterwards.

Similarly, in the devil we saw a vigorous pace in both the A and B category races (there was no Novice race).  With some very close results each lap and riders working really hard tactically not to be eliminated.  The bell lap in each race providing a truly gritty fight to the line by the remaining riders.

It will be of no surprise to read that the brucey bonus scratch race at the end of the meet was contested with the same zeal.  With spot primes happening at no set regularity, the pace was rapido.  Riders were furiously chased down by the bunch, should they dare to jump off the front.  It was a thrilling end to a spectacular day's racing.

There was a crash (B cat devil) - it happens in racing (men and women equally).  Especially in track racing, where the pace can be higher and more intense, it's the nature of the beast.  Each competitor is pushing themselves to the utter limit with passion and a desire to achieve.  That often leaves very little margin for error.

I believe all bar two riders got back up and continued racing, once it was recommenced.  And racing they did with the pace instantly being cranked back up, no allowances being given to those who had crashed.  And why should there be.  You race to win after all, regardless of your sex.

Velo Jam was not an exercise in "paying lip service" to women's racing - every single woman who entered, raced.  And did so up to her own personal limit.  Boundaries were pushed by all.  There was no sitting up and pootling round because it was a bit difficult.  Each and every woman challenged herself and her adversaries.

Of course none of Anna's and Wiesia's visions for Velo Jam could have been achieved without immense support from an array of people, businesses, organisations.  This cohort worked in unison through Wiesia (the Velo Jam ringleader) to ensure all the plans were implemented.

If the mission was to create a celebration of women's racing in a carnival type atmosphere, with zest and gutsy performances, then the girls should be very proud, as that is exactly what it accomplished.

There was an extensive volume of prizes - both in cash and products.  It wasn't just the overall winners who won, spot prizes were awarded also.  There was music, provided by Red Bull and refreshments to help fuel competitors and spectators.  Even the weather played by the rules (well if you discount the strong gusts of wind), it stayed dry until the prize giving, with the odd sunny spell.

I think Velo Jam showed a clear need for women only track racing in addition to the mixed racing that already exists.  Women voted with their feet by entering - if the demand wasn't there, the number of entrants wouldn't have been so high.

I am truly honoured to have spent a day in the company of such fabulous heroic women...and I eagerly await the next event the Velo Jam girls decide to stage :)

Provisional - Velo Jam Results 2012

A Cat Omnium

1. Corinne Hall

2. Charline Joiner

3. Abigail Dentus

4. Lucy Harper

5. Lydia Boylan

6. Emily Barnes

B Cat Omnium

1. Lesley Pinder

2. Nicole Oh

3. Clare Gillot

4. Tessa Pugh

5. Sophie White

6. Aimee Wright

Go Race

1. Kat J

2. Sian Thomas

3. Katarina Bercelova

4. Kate Searle

5. Talitha Wachtelborn

6. Katy Baldwin

Final Scratch Races

A Cat - 1. Corinne Hall, 2. Charline Joiner, 3. Cassie Gledhill, 4. Bethany Hayward, 5. Lydia Boylan, 6. Natalie Creswick

B Cat  - 1. Sophie White, 2. Aimee Wright, 3. Geraldine Glowinski

GoRace Scratch - 1. Sian Thomas, 2. Kat J, 3. Kate Searle, 4. Stefanie Loew, 5. Katarina Bercelova, 6. Sophie Powell

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