Tuesday, 25 March 2014

We are off, the 2014 season has begun...

"You don't need fancy gear, be nice to newbies, ride your bike a lot and Yorkshire is a fantastic place to cycle" 
Words of wisdom from Lizzie Armitstead, talking at a free event organised by Leeds University recently.

Having spent many an hour stood on the stairs, fielding off “what are you doing Suzie?” from the other tenants in the flats while completing calf raises with a back pack full of veg on my back and rolling my calves on a foam roller my Achilles has grown stronger and racing for 2014 has commenced.

First up, team Alba Rosa Cycle Club girls raced the first Criterium race of the year at
York. It is best to describe Crit racing as; fast and furious. You need elbows out, nerves at the ready, lean low into the bends, senses as sharp as a fox and wear warm clothes (even if it’s sunny, March is still chilly, I learnt the hard way in my short sleeve jersey!). I was purely using York as a bit of Crit non drafting practice for the British Elite Duathlon Championships, coming up this Sunday. Harbouring no personal ambitions, I instead designated myself sacrificial lamb, aka lead out girl for our strongest cyclist and fellow triathlete Seonaid. The plain was simple, make it hard for everyone, drill the pace from 5 laps out and Seonaid to kick for the win. Well it pretty much went to plan, minor a scare at lap 2 where Amy forgot to turn the corner and got closer than she would have liked with the grass verge and wooden fence, splitting the pack in the process, unfortunately I was behind Amy so ended up off the pace, thanks to Danica we pulled ourselves back to the front pack, normal service resumed and Seonaid finished like a boss taking the win, with 5 Alba Rosa ladies in the top 8  it was a successful day out. #albagirls

Next up Dambuster Duathlon, a standard distance duathlon (10km run, 40km bike, 5km run) I have been a regular at Dambuster Duathlon and triathlon for the last 2 years. My goal was top 5 overall and to win my age group. Previous years results have been…
2012= 4th in age group, 13th overall
2013= 2nd in age group, 8th overall
2014= 1st in age group, 5th overall

Dambuster is always one of the most competitive age group races in the country, acting often as the British Age Group Championships and World qualification race. Having almost got hypothermia last year through my poor wardrobe choice I dressed up warmer this year! Goal achieve, I didn't turn blue in the cold this year and I managed to upgrade to the big plate, winning my age group and placed 5th overall. Especially satisfying due to the limited running I had achieved beforehand, the 2nd run was a matter of mind over matter as I urged myself not to stop and walk due to an incredibly painful stitch. So another year another couple of places higher in the rankings, it is still on my bucket list to be 1st overall.

Next up is the British Elite Duathlon Championship on Sunday 30th March. Hoping to improve on last year’s 6th place, one thing is guaranteed, it will hurt and it will be a fast and furious smash fest!! To get my cycle legs in gear I have just enjoyed a week in Calp, along the coastline from Benidorm, sunny Spain. It was a great week with 12 fantastic people from Alba Rosa Cycle Club, organised superbly by Pete we cycled 100+km of mountainous terrain each day. 
Love a Mountain!
Great week with the Alba Rosa Guys and Vicky, big shout out to Andy who drove the support van, with the much needed bananas, muffins and cans of coke!
Sunshine and great company meant the miles were ticked off day after day.Good job the hotel had an all you can eat breakfast and dinner buffet!

Back in the UK, leggings, gloves and waterproof have replaced the shorts and sunglasses, standard practice! 

I am sure many have heard the late Clarissa Dickson Wright passed away the other week, you can read her inspirational obituary here. Star of Two Fat Ladies, youngest female to serve on the bar, author of multiple books, she was an incredible woman. So incredible I have just found her Autobiography "Spilling the bean" in the library, I am sure I will learn a thing or two....

Happy training and racing everyone.

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