Reflections on Cycle Racing

Reflections on Cycle Racing
23 March 2016 Janine

As the dust settles, the conundrum of the unexpected trauma of my first Cat 2/3/4 cycling race finally unravels into some sense.

“Unless you are riding with a club and taking part in ‘chain gangs’ and faster club rides, it’s unlikely that you’ll have experience nor the pace and possess the bike-handling skills to be comfortable in a race situation. Even in club rides, people are generally more considerate and won’t chop you off by coming up the inside on corners.” – Some forum dude on Bike Radar.

Well, if only I had read what the forums had to say before Sunday. Luckily naivety got me to the start line. Unfortunately I now find myself confronted by a cost vs. benefit analysis, a situation for which I usually reserve for when I’m getting paid, and even then it’s not exactly the most fun task.


Cost vs. Benefit Analysis of Cycle Racing in Tri Training

When I would usually be blogging about all of the exciting sporting endeavours I find myself up to of a Wednesday evening, namely riding in the dark with Backwell Road Cycling Club, or doing harbour loops, I am instead, taking to Twitter on a crusade to find exciting people to write about. This because I am too ruined to train. The race was Sunday. And it is Wednesday. I have managed a pitiful four mile run this week.

Conversation between my body and brain have been as such since Monday:


Brain: We’re training today.

Body: Um, no. We’re not.

Brain: Maybe 4 miles yeah?

Body: Ok. It’s sunny. Ok.


Brain: We’re swimming this morning at 6am.

Body: *snore*

Brain: Ok, we’ll get up tomorrow morning and ride before work.


Brain: Dreaming.

Body: *snore*

Brain: Missed cycling. Long run in the sun this eve!

Body: No, sorry that’s not happening either.

Brain: Come on!!! Throw me a bone here.

Body: Nup.

Fair to say then that I’m knackered. Totally wiped. Exhausted. Dammit. Luckily it’s the Easter bank holiday this weekend so I’ll have plenty of time to rest. I defo haven’t made plans to cycle to Cheddar and back with Rosie on Friday morning *sideways glance*.  Or you know, cycle 250 miles from the Champs Elysees to Millennium Square in bristol the weekend after. *deadpan*.


Reflections with a fellow Cat 4 racer

I met with fellow racer Heidi for a coffee and a bike chat today. We downloaded our thoughts from last weekend. Now Heidi is a strong rider. My goodness. She worked as a road bike guide in Andalucia last year and rode between 30-60 miles a day. When I was dropped from the peloton at 20 odd miles I assumed she was up there in the thick of it. But she was out too. We suffered, Heidi and I. And we discussed the conundrum of women’s cycling. After an hour of coffee / welsh cake and pondering on this and that, I decided upon the following question: it’s either that women’s cycling needs a different approach because there just aren’t enough people wanting to race and thus we need to create a programme for more entry level racing, or else this is is just exactly what happens to all riders when they start racing – it’s just the learning curve and we need to suck it up. I think we sort of agreed that we’d go with both, and try to help entry level racing whilst also adopting rule five and just getting out there.


Despite the trauma, the peloton was excellent fun

We both agreed that whilst we found it traumatic and were both suffering from PTSD that we loved the peloton. All that craziness, the feathering of the brakes, the constant awareness that at any moment you’d have to move this way or that to avoid a crash. ‘I woke up in the middle of the night with the noise of the peloton in my mind,’ Heidi said. ‘But that’s the closest I’ve got to the exhilaration of mountain biking in road cycling.’ I agreed.

It turned out that the woman who won the race (Elizabeth Bennett. I tried to Google for more info but all I got was Austen.) had won the Nationals the day before. That’s right. I was racing a woman who won a national race the day before and I stuck with her for 20 miles. That is all! I could literally hang up my hat now!

But instead, I will rest. (Mind 0: Body 1)

The Post Race Report.

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