Monday, 29 April 2013

Cheshire Classic

Lou Mahe was my absolute hero of the hour yesterday.  What a fantastic team mate and what a great result for a great girl who is on the up and up this season.  Since riding at such a high level as a junior, Lou is most definitely on the comeback since she whispered last year about taking cycling more seriously again.

Lou never fails to make me smile and her puling alongside me on the M42 in a traffic jam on the way 'oop north then sneaking away wasn’t the only time she showed us a clean pair of heels over the weekend.  Her attack at the Cheshire Classic was one of the first of the day and she held an admirable gap of 24 seconds for what seemed like a very long time.

With only two of us MuleBar Girl-Sigma Sport in the field against more epically sized squad of eight for Breast Cancer Care, we were always going to have to be canny and we tried just that.  Keeping at the head of the action we were in a most of the attacks and alongside coming 8th, Lou was in a break of about six at the start of the final lap which had all the makings of staying clear.  Unfortunately it was reeled in, so I countered with a long attack before the finish line and dangled alone ahead for a while, hoping that I would be left out there until the finish.  Eventual winner, Karla Boddy’s teammates had different ideas and before the final left hander to the finish line climb I was back in the bunch shouting encouragement to Lou.  Her uphill sprint to 8th (she apparently hates hills?!) is a sure sign of things to come.

It’s a pleasure to be her teamie and I’m looking forward to next year when we’ll hopefully have more riders in white, blue, gold and pink by our side.

Love Natalie xxx

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Team MuleBar Girl - Sigma Sport

Sigma Sport are delighted to announce the joint title sponsorship of Team MuleBar Girl, the women’s amateur cycling team. The team will now become known as Team MuleBar Girl - Sigma Sport.

Sigma Sport have worked with a number of leading brands to provide the riders with equipment including bikes, helmets and shoes. For the 2013 season the road team will ride the Specialized Amira Expert, a dedicated women’s road bike from the world leading brand, wear helmets from Lazer and Bont shoes, provided by Saddleback UK.

Calvin Cox, Marketing Manager at Sigma Sport said “We are delighted to support a local women’s cycling team, we have been keen to extend our involvement in the sport to include women’s cycling for a long time and this was a great opportunity for us at the right time”

Sigma Sport offers a huge range of women’s specific product and recognises this growing area of the sport in the UK. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of women taking part in the sport and we expect that to continue to grow off the back of an extremely successful year for British Women’s Cycling in 2012” continues Calvin.

The team, which was set up in early 2010, prides itself on having a set of riders that compete across a wide range of cycling disciplines. They have proved that female cycling can be fast, fun and fashionable. With a fundamental goal to be one of the most recognised women’s racing teams in the UK and to also raise the profile of women’s cycling, raise the level of competition and ultimately get more women riding their bikes.

“It is great to have such an established brand come on board and support the team.” said Wiesia Kuczaj from Team MuleBar Girl - Sigma Sport. “The women’s domestic road scene is really exciting at the moment. New teams and plenty more women’s only races on offer is going to make for an exciting and busy season.”

The MuleBar Girls are also dedicated to giving something back to the sport that has given them so much. They have successfully grown their volunteered women’s track sessions at Herne Hill over the past three years and now regularly see 30 women riding the velodrome on Sunday summer afternoons. The success of the sessions led them to run a festival style track racing day just for women called Velo Jam, attracting over 50 riders, the event was hailed a huge success.

Other team partners for the 2013 season include; AnaNichoola, Wildoo, Oakley, SockGuy, Madison, Batiste, ILoverGirlRiders, Knog and Hope.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Race Report - Dave Peck Memorial RR

It was always going to be a big ask to win the Dave Peck Memorial RR two years in a row but it holds a very special place in my heart.  Luckily, with the fantastic team that we have, Team MuleBar Girl and the new brand partnership with Sigma Sport - chances on Sunday at the second round of the Women’s Team Series in Surrey looked good.

Dave was the chairman of my club, Twickenham CC, and along with being a generally great guy was also instrumental in encouraging me and others in the club to race.  The race was run in his honour by Lisa West and for the second year in a row you couldn’t fault it – Dave even seemed to organise the perfect weather for us.

 The pace was high from the get go.  Matrix Fitness were on a mission lining it out on the front and it wasn’t long before attacks were going up the road.  After a few laps of the Valley End circuit one stuck with our Clem Copie right inside the action.  Joined by Hannah Barnes (MG Maxi Fuel Pro Cycling), Amy Gornall (Scott Contessa Epic), Maryka Sennema (Surrey League) and Lydia Boylan (Team CTC) it had all the makings of a winning break.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and eagle eyed Lou spotting Clem returning to the peleton launched a perfect counter attack waking the bunch up as we approached the five laps of the Staple Hill circuit.  Rumour has it the average speed for the first seven laps had been 32 miles an hour!

 The bunch was relentless and chased Lou back and so onto the hills of Chobham Common for the second half of the race.  The hill and the wind were bigger challenges over there but I managed to instigate the next break through attacking the first time up the climb.  I was in good company with the likes of Karla Boddy (MG Maxi Fuel Pro Cycling), Corrine Hall (Matrix Fitness), Alice Barnes (Scot Contessa Epic), Emily Bagnall (WyndyMilla) and Alexie Shaw (Les Filles RT) and by the bell lap we had built up a lead of nearly three minutes with Lou and Clem doing an amazing job of holding back any advances.

My aim was to break the group up further through attacking again up the climb but with the block headwind at the top it wasn’t to be so we came to the final hill together.  I went for a long one at 500m to go but Alice, with an amazing turn of speed flew past me to take the win leaving Corrine and I to battle it out with her coming across the line about half a bike in front.

Both Corrine and I were Twickenham members so it was nice to have both of us on the podium and I’ve never been that much of a sprinter before so was happy to hold my own with the group of girls who are usually known for their sprinting.  Thanks so much to TCC for another fantastic race.  Here’s to the next round…

Love Nat xxx

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sarah's first TT of the season

Racing again! It must be summer!
You wouldn’t know it from the weather though. Friday was the Good Friday meet at Herne Hill, which was my first race this year and a bit of a shock to the system, but it was great to be back at the track and spending the day with the girls was lovely, and we got amazing new kit which always makes you go faster!

On Saturday afternoon I headed down to Surrey for my first ever time trial. Eek! It was very cold and kept trying to snow but it just about stayed dry for the event, a hilly 10 miles, and windy too! I was nervous but in a good way and excited to see what it would feel like. It turned out it feels very painful, and sicky! I didn’t get an especially good time but that’s good in a way because it leaves plenty of room for improvement, and I like that kind of competition. I think it might be weird to say I really enjoyed it but with a few hours distance on it, I think it was fun, and besides, I’ve already entered another!
Now I have two weeks break to do some training before my first road race of the year, and hopefully the weather can get its act together too.