My 2020 Race Season

I had big plans for 2020 – both racing and otherwise. Unfortunately a virus had other ideas. But I managed 3 races – 2 prior to lockdown and 1 last week.

March 2020 – finished finals and was very excited to start racing again

7th March 2020 – BDCA 2 up time trial. Took on this event with UoNCC teammate Ellie Armstrong – a very strong runner and time trial specialist. The course was 20 miles in Leicestershire and was rolling with some strong winds. Time trialling still isn’t my strong point as I ride very inconsistently with lots of surges from starting out in road races and crits. At the time I was still struggling with weight gain and loss of fitness. But we played to each other strengths and communicated well as a team. It was also the first time I’d ridden my TT bike in a race since the final bike fit I’d had before the Outlaw Triathlon in 2019 . I was very pleased with my position and how comfortable I felt. We completed it in 57:17 and won the ladies/mixed team prize.

15th March 2020 – Ashridge super sprint duathlon. The Ashridge duathlons are some of my favourite events – put on by Active Training World. It’s an estate in the Chilterns close to my parents place. The run is muddy trails around the grounds and the bike is a fun course with slightly rough surfaces and one kicker short climb. I love entering super sprints as I feel it plays to my strengths with managing to hang on during the runs and use my speed on the bike to my advantage. I opt to not change shoes – commuting in smart shoes on cleats has helped me feel comfortable with trainers on cleats for a short duathlon. I was pleased to come 3rd overall and 1st woman in this event. It was a great feeling knowing this would be the last event possibly of 2020 due to impending lockdown an having a 100% success rate!

A lot happened after these races – graduating early, moving to Dorset, starting a new job etc. but my passion for sport stayed the same as always. I loved exploring new areas on quiet roads during lockdown, Zwift meetups with teammates and discovered a love for sea swimming. In August myself and my teammates from Beeston CC decided to enter National hill climb. In 2018 we unexpectedly took the team prize up Pea Royd Lane and in 2019 I did not attend due to needing to focus on final year and my mental health but the team from Beeston got a 2nd place. I felt very excited at the prospects of racing again especially at a national event with my teammates and friends.

In September I felt tired and out of control of my training and my life due to work rotas. I was scared of the impact not having time to do sport would have on my mental health.

25th October 2020 – National Hill Climb 2020. Wow. What an opportunity. It was a year set to make history with a huge campaign to get an equal men’s and women’s field. With events still not offering equal prize money and some not even doing a full women’s podium it was so so significant for nationals to stand out. Myself and teammate Emily Walton were lucky enough to be offered sponsorship from Estrella Bikes. Unfortunately Covid-19 second wave along with restrictions meant that not all of the women entered could make it, including our 3rd teammate the incredibly strong and inspiring Zoe Langham who had proved herself time and time again this summer and during the early hill climb season. For me, I had been riding up a lot of hills (hard to avoid in Dorset) but had not done much racing or high intensity. It did not go to plan at all for me but it was great to be a part of the buzz and see so many incredible women on the start line and chat to them afterwards. I had definitely missed the sporting environment.

So, whats the plan for the rest of 2020? Mainly base endurance and continuing to balance work and sport and life without burning out. I may do a few cyclocross races – nothing beats getting super muddy and having a load of fun!

And 2021? I have big plans for 2021 including an ultramarathon in April, “extreme long distance” triathlon in August and Ironman Weymouth 70.3 in September which I will be using as a qualifier for GB age group ITU Aquabike champs. In addition to this I would like to get back into road racing and potentially give national cyclocross another go! The main aim is fun but also improving my endurance and body confidence.

Whilst I love racing in the orange and blue of Beeston Cycling Club I now live hundreds of miles away in Dorset. I have joined a local club and love their club rides and enthusiasm but if anyone knows any women’s teams around West Dorset who regularly enter road races, crit races, National team series events etc. please do get in touch.

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