As the season comes to an end, I feel that now is a perfect opporutnity to round-up my 2016 season and thank all of those who have helped me.
As a first year junior, I was eager to see what the season would hold for me. I felt better-prepared than ever; I had just returned from our team training camp in Limoux with my new team, Matrix Fitness p/b Corley Cycles. My first race of the year was a Dames Elite Kermis in Belgium, Koksijde to be precise. I was slightly skeptical as I hadn’t raced since October, so went into it with no expectations. After that race, I remembered exactly why I loved racing in Belgium so much. It was a step forwards in the right direction and my season was truly underway after a great weekend away racing in Belgium.
A few weeks later I returned to Flanders in the colours of VeloSport to race in the Junior Gent-Wevelgem. It’s not even an exaggeration to say it was the windiest race I’ve ever done. It was fantastic to race against girls from across Europe, and was so different to anything else I’ve ever done. Junior women-only races didn’t exist in the UK until this year. I was lucky enough to be able to race in the first ever one, organised by Bourne Wheelers. As a female junior, this was such a special event and will be remembered by all of us for a long time- thank you so much for organising it.
Throughout the year I competed in a real mish-mash of races; the early season ones were on tough and endruing courses, then crit season came along. I was learning new things at the rate of knots over the spring, and thoroughly enjoyed races like Tour of the Reservoir and Lincoln GP. Despite making silly mistakes here and there, I felt like I was getting better after each and every race. I was utterly gutted at the London Nocturne when my rear mech decided to compltetely pack-up- I had Di2 so couldn’t do much about it! However, racing rarely goes to plan, and I just had to accept my fate that day.
Exams came along and I took a step back from racing- my A Levels are very important to me as I’d like to study Languages at University, so they were my principal focus. Once they were out of the way, it was straight back into racing. One of the highlights of July for me was the Rutland Cicle Classic, where I raced in the inaugural women’s event. It was such an amazing course and nothing like any other event on the British Road calendar.
After college had finished for the year, I headed out to Belgium for my Kermis Block (there’s a whole blog post about it!) It gave me a lot of independence and made me realise I want to race there more next year.
After that, I ended my season and had a couple of weeks away from regular training. Now, I am getting back to it and going out on those lovely long winter miles!
So, I have a huge list of people to thank for this whirlwind year on the bike.
Firstly, Stef Wyman. Thank you so much for inviting me onto the team and giving me the opportunity to race with you. This year has been truly unforgettable and has given me so many opportunities for next season. I could not have asked for a better team around me and feel so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to be part of this family of cyclists.
Secondly, my incredible teammates, notably Harriet Owen, Alice Cobb, Amira Mellor and Corinne Hall, all of whom I raced with this season. We’ve developed friendships to last a lifetime and supported one another throughout the year. I had the best time with you in Limoux and couldn’t have wished for greater company at races.
Our amazing mechanic Caroline has played an enormous role this year. Being at nearly all of my races, you’ve been an absolute star. I was so well looked-after and had everything I could’ve possibly asked for. Additionally, thank you for being such a good friend through it all. It’s been a roller coaster of a year and you’ve been brilliant for the whole thing.
Thank you to everyone who looked after us whilst we were abroad: Chris Georgas, our host in Limoux; James Spragg and Margriet Kloppenburg who hosted me and Baz in Belgium; the Languedoc Roussillon team that we trained with in France. The list of people we met and helped us really is endless, but thanks to them we’ve had a brilliant season racing overseas.
Our sponsors this year have been brilliant- we loved our Trek bikes and our Milltag kit that made us look really smart. Furthermore, thanks to USN for our fantastic nutrition and to Bailey for our team campervan- it was great! Cyclefit Manchester was a perfect location for our team launch and they tweeked our positions to make sure that we were both comfy and fast. Additionally, Corley Cycles were amazing in turning around our bikes so fast after they were delivered so that they could come to Limoux with us.
There are so many more people that deserve recognition for everything that they’ve done for us. Without them, our season wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful as it was!
I am happy to announce that I’ll be racing for Isorex Ladies Team in Belgium next year. I’m excited to race abroad even more and gain more experience, as well as a few results along the way! And as far as a UK team is concerned, well, watch this space.