In this show I recap some thoughts from a conversation with Helen Wyman about women’s cyclocross, young rider development, sponsorship and her upcoming trip to Scotland. Unfortunately the recording failed but as I mentioned on my previous show, you need to bounce back from these sorts of setbacks, whether it’s in cycling, podcasting or life, by getting back to what you do as soon as possible.
With this in mind I thought I’d recap some of the key points we discussed in a short snappy show.
Listen on the player below, or on iTunes.
In this show I’m talking cross country mountain bike racer Kerry MacPhee. We discuss how anyone can get started in racing, how to handle the challenge of stepping up from junior to senior level, the extra challenges beyond just training and racing such as logistics, the mental side of racing and gaining personal sponsorship.
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Gabriella Nordin should be known to the female racers in the Scottish scene and to most of the men who pay attention to the women’s scene. But to those of you who don’t, she is a 25-year old postgraduate student who races in the tartan and black of Pedal Power RT.
I had noticed Gabriella entering some pretty big races recently – she seemed to be taking the sport about as seriously as an amateur can do. She raced the Tour of the Reservoir this weekend but unfortunately was caught in a crash that scuppered her race. She is coached by pedal power employee Gary Hand, who also races for KTM Road and Trail and is current Scottish Elite RR Champion. “Having a specific training program makes it much easier to juggle training with my studies. This is the first season that I’m doing structured training and I’m noticing the benefits so far,” she told me.
She has contributed to the blog her report of her race at the Pro/1/2 women’s race at the Tour of the Battenkill, a one-day race in Cambridge, upstate New York, in the style of the European Cobbled Classics.
When Jen Taylor won the Scottish women’s road race championships in Mid-may, up in Aberdeenshire, I recognised her name but that was about it. She has now just competed in the National Road Race Championships in Glasgow, so here is a belated hat-tip to Scotland’s women’s champion.
Lining up for the British nationals alongside the pro women
By all accounts the Scottish championships was a well-run event, put on by Phil Allan and was ‘enjoyed’ (if that is the right word) by the riders. The organiser, freshly taking on a big event such as this has enough on their plate, but I’d hoped for a wee bit more coverage leading up to and after the race. Scottish Cycling’s publicity output has increased noticeably in the past weeks and months with reference to our champions and other races and results, but leading up to the event there was not a huge amount of information available.
Ed and Martin at Velo Veritas paid good attention to the day, the course and the men’s race and ran an interview with winner Gary Hand. My mind was turning over about the women’s race though – who was the winner who had beaten several full time athletes and a few pros – Jennifer Taylor.
I have previewed the men’s event and it is only right to do the same for the women. Women’s cycling is at something of a crossroads I feel. On the one hand it is very much on the up in the UK, like cycling generally – the women’s track team have had as much success as the men and the medals are recognised and appreciated by the public. However, at the same time the women’s sport is some way short of equality, especially on the road, and this is also the case globally. There is lack of TV coverage and fewer top-level races, and subsequently the sponsors are not there in the same numbers. Garmin felt it had to disband its women’s squad and Team Sky has come under criticism for not fielding a female team – it’s not as if the money and British talent are not available – Emma Pooley quit top level racing due to a lack of support.
There is a strong movement and community on the women’s scene with people like Sarah Connolly going out of her way to promote things with her twitter feed and the blogs and podcasts she contributes to. (Her weekly slot on the Eurosport cycling podcast is a round-up of women’s racing.) UK teams like Matrix Fitnes Academy have been set up to specifcally develop the women’s sport and north of the border we have the Breast Cancer Care team that is linked to Scottish Cycling’s women’s programme.
To show due respect to a women’s race preview, I have enlisted the help of Leigh Marshall, who is able to provide much better informed comments than me. She is involved in publicity for Team Breast Cancer Care and writes her own Filles a Velo blog.
I asked Leigh for her predictions and she thought it is a difficult one to call, but gave me some info on about 10 riders who she thought were the ones to watch.
“Although the field isn’t massive, an important factor is that it is a pretty high-quality championship field. In some years half the field has been there just to make up the numbers and as a result have been punted out the back pretty quickly. In the case of last year, dropped riders got themselves together in another group further back and worked together – a race within a race which worked really well.”
There are 33 on the start sheet and this is a good reflection of the current standard of women’s road racing in Scotland. Leigh said “The bar is constantly rising and being pushed upwards. The women’s road race academy that was run this year has helped that, along with the other women’s races that have been on the calendar so far.”
In terms of young riders to watch, Leigh highlights Flora Gillies (Team ASL360, below), who is having a great start to her season. “She’s really holding her own in the women’s peloton.”
I had hoped to attend the launch for the Breast Cancer Care cycling team at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on Saturday afternoon but after putting my back out, I missed it and the Revolution track meeting in the evening.
The information that was released from BCCCT was of personal interest, therefore, as well as important for the Scottish Cycling community in general and hopefully Drum-Up readers. Scottish Cycling had been involved in Team Ibis in 2012 and the news that this team was to fold was met with great concern late in 2012. I understand a great deal of work went in to securing the sponsorship and organisation for this new team, so hats must be doffed to SC and whoever else was involved for making it happen. Of course there are English riders and other nationalities, but my main interest is in some of the riders who will be familiar to us on the local scene.
Looking to Glasgow 2014, the team will provide top level competition for the Scottish women, primarily on the road in Holland and Belgium, but I should expect we will see them on the track in Glasgow too.
On Saturday the 2nd of February the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome played host to the team launch of the Breast Cancer Care cycling team, the UK’s number one domestic women’s cycling team. In these impressive surroundings in one of the venues for the 2014 Commonwealth games, the team, its riders and its sponsors were presented to an assembled crowd of media, supporters, friends and family. The presentation was hosted by well-known cycling commentator Anthony McCrossan of Cyclevox, himself a big supporter of women’s cycling.
Scottish athlete Fiona Duncan is competing in the London 2012 Paralympics as pilot for blind cyclist Lora Turnham.
Liverpool born Turnham came to cycling in 2009 after starting out in athletics, but despite the late start, the pair won have had medal success in their first competitions together.
The progression continued in 2011 when, with Fiona Duncan as her tandem pilot, the pair won silver in the 3km pursuit at the Worlds in Italy after just six weeks together, and then gold on the road in the time trial at the World Cup in Spain in June of this year.
I must admit I am not familiar with the form book for all the athletes but it sounds like they have a good chance of success. I asked Fiona what the expectations were and she was modest, saying “We will do our best and see what happens”
Their main event is the 3km tandem pursuit and the road time trial.
Best of luck!
31st August 1km TT
2nd sept 3km pursuit
5th Sept road TT
8th Sept Road Race
Well done Eileen Roe who won the women’s crit at the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series event in Colchester- the women’s circuit races organised by the Tour Series.
She has come back from injury, a broken arm if I remember right. I saw her at a handicap race in Falkirk, with a cast on. She had pedalled over from Fife in pretty rank weather with her Dad on a tandem, just to get some miles in, and support the Leslie Bikes team.
I said to her that I would give her team a mention on the blog and it has taken me a while to get round to it. She rides for Team Ibis, a Scottish-Dutch women’s outfit. The team is backed by Scottish Cycling and provides a proper racing environment for some of our best women riders, with many races in Belgium and Holland.
Jane Barr, 2010 and 2011 Scottish road race champion also rides for the team as does Anne Ewing.
Full report on Scottish Cycling.
Team Ibis website
Team Ibis tweets
Toon van der Putten – team manager
Congratulations to Jane Barr and Evan Oliphant, womens and mens road race champions respectively for 2011.
Through a combination of tweets and text messages from friends I was able to bring you a brief report on how things went down, and have now added a bit more detail once full results and reports were published.
The women’s race kicked off in the morning and Jane Barr won an uphill sprint to retain the championship. 2nd and 3rd place went to Sandy Wallace riders – Gemma Neill and Claire MacAulay. A particularly strong ride from Gemma, who had punctured and had to chase to get back on. A mention for my clubmate Lettie Chambers (Stirling) who did very well to place highly as well as Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace) and Katie Wylie who I had mentioned in my preview.
Claire Macaulay (Sandy Wallace Cycles), bronze medal, and Jane Bar (Velocity 44) winner
Last year the Scottish Women’s RR championships was incorporated in a National race that was part of the Dumfries Bikefest. This year it is a standalone race, which is a great development for women’s racing in Scotland.
The level of women’s cycle racing in Scotland is steadily rising and the event should allow the riders only one of a few chances this year to race in an all-women’s event in Scotland, the results could be unpredictable and should provide an interesting race.
The ladies event includes last year’s champion and Commonwealth Games rider Jane Barr (Velocity 44) looking to retain her title. She was interviewed by Vortex RT ahead of the race- click through to read.
image © Cheryl King, used with permission