Thursday, 20 December 2012

Looking Back on 2012 - MBG V

2012 has been a year of sport – especially cycling – and I feel satisfied that we have played our part in inspiring ladies to jump on a bike and give cycling a go.

Soppy as it is, I am proud of what we have done as a team. The success of our weekly track sessions is testament to the effort we put into pushing the women's side of the sport forward, and it is thanks to our girls (as well as Tony and Joseph) – who have selflessly given up many their Sunday's – that we have been able to run these sessions no matter how many girls turn up.

At the start of the year I was told, 'what's the point in putting a women's only track event on, as there are not enough girls to race.' How wrong that person! Velo Jam inspired another wave of track riders to dip their feet in the water and give racing a go. At the last track session, one of the girls said that racing in Velo Jam was one of the best days of her life. What more inspiration do you need!

Velo Jam 2012 - GoRace Girls photo credit: AE Photos
Velo Jam 2012 - A Cats photo credit: AE Photos
Velo Jam - B Cats - photo credit: AE Photos
I find the women's race scene can at times be an arrogant place. If you don't have the legs to keep up with the 1st/2nd cats it can feel like you are being looked down on. This attitude frustrates me as I feel you should be able to enjoy sport at a competitive level whatever your ability. Hopefully through our track sessions and events, we are changing things.

Racing wise I have sucked this year, with plenty of weddings to go to, a new Olympic gold medallist in our family and plenty of other work and personal engagements that I had to attend, I just didn't have the time to put the hours in on the bike. I took to commuting in the big gear to work and spin classes – lots and lots of spin classes. I could say that I will put a big winters training in and be back stronger and fitter next year, but we are already nearly at the end of December and I have been hitting the party seen hard over the festive season – for networking purposes obviously! 

I have come to accept that I can only dedicate a certain amount of time in my life for training. I need a healthy balance between training, socialising and working to be happy. If I cut out the socialising and train like a madman for three weeks, I tend to spend the following three weeks partying even harder. I think the enthusiasm for partying always seems to win.  Maybe this is because I feel I have been there and done it. From the age of 5 through to 17/18 I trained, trained and trained some more. My sport was gymnastics and we used to train 18 hrs per week and this would be upped to 6 hrs per day in the summer holidays. Even when I wasn't at gym, I would manage to squeeze in swim squad or hockey training. I guess I feel I have done my training and cycling is a lifestyle not just a sport.

For 2013 I plan to train smarter, as I am a competitive bugger so even though I dont like training, I also dont like being useless on a bike. I  plan to allocate a certain amount of time to training that is realistic and plan what races I do around my fitness. I am lucky enough to be heading home to Ireland for Xmas with my bike, so will be able to get at least a weeks worth of riding on nice quiet country roads to kick start the endurance side of things.

Other than that I am really excited to work with the other girls to continue to grow the team, we are lucky enough to be working with some amazing sponsors such as Oakley, Wildoo, Batiste, I love Girl Riders, MuleBar, AnaNichoola, knog and Hope who all help us in our quest to keep pushing women's cycling in the right direction.

I had to check out by Facebook to work out what on earth I had done this year, and the following images made me smile.

Anna G and myself on our way up Mount Teide, Tenerife
Rebecca and myself networking

Thank you to everyone who has made 2012 such a cool year and bring on 2013!

Merry Xmas


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