Friday, 10 May 2013


Being my 4th time racing one of the staples of the Womens calendar I was excited when I saw an extra day was added to the Bedford 3-day. I feel it really shows the progression of domestic womens racing has over the last few years. The fact that organisers have enough interest that they can add another day and a 3 /4 cat womens support race to the event really shows this growth. Bunches are bigger, racing is faster, more exciting and it’s becoming harder to call who is going to win the events, as there are so many riders capable of doing so. 

So many people have already written race reports or blog about the weekends racing, but here’s my ramblings on my experiences from the #B3D13

Stage 1

After arriving to the race HQ in lovely sunshine, and getting a super detailed run down of the course from guesting teamie Clem all that seemed to be left was to don my race kit and pop for a quick spin to warm up a bit. Alas the great british weather managed to do a full 360 and we managed to begin the race in what felt like freezing rain, making me feel my warm up spin was pretty pointless, not surprisingly this set my tourettes and I was twitching mid bunch for a good five minutes before it settled down and we began the four laps we had of the race circuit.

Photos: Courtesy of Huw Williams

As I felt the race nearing the descent with a bit of dodgey left hander that Clem had warned us about I moved up to keep out of trouble and I’m very glad I did because as I exited the corner unscathed I heard a crash. Unfortunately quite a lot of the rest of the bunch didn’t make it round or were caught up behind it. With the pace high it seemed like it was gonna be a hard task for rider to get back on. Passing the finish I managed to get some points in what I thought was the sprint competition, but transpired to actually be the QOM competition! 

The next lap on the same dodgy corner I managed to snap a spoke, I rolled to the back of the bunch to look for neutral service and a spare wheel. To my dismay though I watched it pull in allowing a few of the stronger riders that were making it back to the lead group after the crash. After a wheel change the chase was on to back to the lead bunch, but as I passed riders and tried to avoid random cars that had got inbetween the race and me it seemed it was gonna be harder than I initially anticipated. A strong headwind on part of the course meant I was in no mans land, but luckily I joined a group of a few riders also chasing back on. Just as I did so I hit a pothole and punctured my front tyre and with neutral service ahead of me it was game over. 

When I got back to race HQ I was not happy, and thoughts of a decent position on GC had evaporated. However I was cheered up hearing that Clem had won one of the sprints but annoyed for my other teamies Adel and Emily who had also suffered with puncture and got caught up in the crashes.

To top the day off and although somehow managing to avoid the two crashes that had occurred in the race I slammed my finger in the boot of my car! Surely things couldn’t get any worse, tomorrow was a new day with two more stages to come!

Stage 2

Day 2 was based at Keysoe and has been for years so I knew the courses pretty well, first on the days menu was a team time trial. With the least amount of riders of all the teams we weren’t expecting a great result as it was four to count for the finish as that was all we had. We came up with a game plan working out how to shelter our younger rider, Emily, best and ensure we all finished together with a solid time. Not having practiced together before I think we did bloddy well and finished a respectable joint 6th place!

Stage 3

With a 50-mile road race on the cards and having pretty much nothing to loose my game plan was to get myself in a break. I was up there for one of the sprints and couldn’t see Clem around so tried to get some points to prevent others from getting some, however with some great tactical riding by Matrix I failed epically in doing so. So I decided to attack and get across to Eilene Roe who was off the front at that time, we had a little go and worked together but soon realised it was going nowhere. As the bunch caught us I felt tierd already, that was probably gonna be my one effort of the race. I looked back and saw the counter go “f**k it” I thought and went after it, another short lived attack with a few other riders, more wasted energy…good one Louise! Then Hannah Barnes went and I cursed myself, now that was the break to be with, however a lap or so later she was back in the bunch and it was still anyones race. With two to go I found myself off the front with Charlene Joiner, she asked how much longer we had and when I told her she said she couldn’t do it, I powered on alone for a little while then looked back and saw her coming back up to me and the bunch, well I couldn’t even see them. We continued for the majority of the lap but as we neared the finish we saw a group of 9 riders bearing down on us and the bunch not far behind. Amy Hill bridged across from the other riders and telling us they’d been there for a while and to keep going I think Charleen and I were of the same mindset to wait for the other eight, as we were already pretty knackered. They caught us as we passed the finish line with one lap to go but seemed to stall, worried the impetus would go and the bunch would catch I tried to gee things up and we got working smoothly together again. As we came up to one km to go the motor bike told us we had around 40 seconds, but as riders began to sprint my legs buckelled I had nothing left in the tank and rolled over the line at the back of the break in 10th. I was disappointed with my result but had never finished a road race so tired, I felt I gave that race everything. 

Stage 4

The final day of racing was at Milbrook test track, an awesome venue as it’s a closed circuit, but with some awesome features of an almost alpine climb and then a super fun descent which brings you down to finish in the pan flat ‘bowl’. This year for the first time the organisers had got some great sponsorship and we were lucky enough to be allowed inside to use the facilities…great call by the organisers and a big thank you for that! The first stage at Milbrook is the individual TT around the bowl, there’s not much to say about that, I went hard and came in 12th. As I don’t consider myself much of a tester I can’t really complain about that result.

Photos: Courtesy of Huw Williams

Stage 5

The final stage, which takes you around all the awesome course, again still low on GC I had very little to loose. 

Photos: Courtesy of Huw Williams

So when Hannah Barnes went on the attack I knew that she was a rider to watch and went tits out to get across to her. However when we passed the finish line, me in the red just trying to hang onto her wheel, and saw six of the nine laps still to go I could have cried…I stayed with her until the hill where she just rode away from me and I slunk back to the safety of the bunch. With some strong riders uling on the front Barnes was back in the bunch a lap later and that’s how the race remained until the end. With the elastic stretching each time up the hill as the laps ticked down and gradually riders were dropped it was obvious it was going to come down to a bunch gallop. Positioning myself on what I thought would be a good wheel I felt quietly confident. Until I reaslied the rider I was expecting to be up there contesting the sprint didn’t bother, and I rolled over the line near the back of the bunch. 

Photos: Courtesy of Huw Williams

Photos: Courtesy of Huw Williams

I wanna say a quick thank you to Jon Miles for organising this race year after year, for as long as I can remember. Also Stef Wyman deserves a big thanks too for helping promote and back this race through his great #fanbackedwomenscycling initiative. There are load of other people out there also helping move womens cycling forward in leaps and bounds. So many people support womens teams as DS’s or mechanics, or come along and provide neutral service or photograph and report our racing on a regular basis, y’all know who you are and it’s much appreciated ☺ 

Lou xxx

No comments:

Post a Comment