I’d never heard of Mount Leinster until I saw the pre race report of Stage 3 of the An Post Rás na mBan. That and a text from my Dad saying “Jeez, just heard a bit of the radio about today’s stage… Mt Leinster at the end? Ye’re mighty girls” Thanks Dad!
Quick pep talk by Eileen Roe guesting for WNT gave us an idea of what to expect, really steep at the start, then evens out then gets really steep again, then there’s a hairpin and a long steady drag to the finish, with a cattle grid thrown in somewhere!
Sounds good? Tag over 100km to the start of that, persistent pouring rain, howling winds and we were in for a treat!
The bunch stayed together till the foot of the climb, with a small breakaway containing the eventual stage and overall winner up the road. Me and my fellow Jadanites were all happy towards the front staying out of trouble in the few descents in the rain, shouts
of GELS and DRINK being shouted any time we saw each other. Climbing isn’t at all a forte of mine, so being in the front 10 riders when the climbed kicked off was the only way I was gonna get over without losing too much time, but disaster struck and into
the ditch I went having to unclip in the mud!
Sorted myself out and got back to climbing the wall of Mount Leinster, picked off a couple of riders but it was painful! We found out later that our youngest rider Shauna McFadden was geared on a 39/25 and can only say chapeau to her for making that work! Probably
motivated by her name being scrawled all over the climb!
The wind wrecked havoc on us already weaving all over the road with the strain! The aforementioned hairpin caused a bit of mayhem including to one of our own, Sarah, who managed to complete the last 3k of the stage on a bike 3 sizes too small for her with pedals
that didn’t match her cleats!
But to the top we all made it in some shape or form and I will never forget that stage for as long as I live, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a phrase that springs to mind!
Thanks to the Rás na mBan for having Team Jadan-Weldtite, to Victoria and Scott our manager and mechanic for looking out for us so well and all our sponsors who make stage races like this possible!
Over 23 Rider
“An indoor crit?” You ask. Yes an indoor crit! On the 19th of March my mum and I travelled down to Manchester for the Rainbow Indoor Classic an event siding with a bike show at Event City. At sign on it all became quite intimidating when other teams began to show up with their matching jackets and bikes looking very professional.
The course was a short 750m circuit with a technical hair pin and 4 fast corners with a 150m straight into the finish. I watched the support and youth races noting that the ones who were at the front generally stayed at the front, this wasn’t a race for sitting in as there wasn’t any weather conditions to contend with. It was going to be a race of cornering skill and who could sprint out of one corner into the next the fastest.
During the warm up, I took one lap slow to familiarise myself with the circuit, before taking a lap at race pace seeing how much I could push the corners. On the hair pin there was worn away surface, this made the corner very slippy, this surface wasn’t dissimilar to courses I know and had done as a youth (races set up on go cart race tracks, tight bends and smooth surfaces)
I went to chat to Carl at the Weldtite stand in the bike show, I explained the course and how I liked lots of the corners but there was this one that was very slippy if you took the line wrong. 10 minutes later I was sitting changing the tyres on my wheels, Carl had managed to find me new grippy tyres from the Schwalbe tent.
After going out to the car park to skuff the new tyres a bit to take of the layer of manufacturing residue, I had a very short roller warm up. I knew that I had to be on the front row of the line-up. This course was going to be very difficult to pass anyone and if there was a big group going around the tight corners there were likely to be crashes, and lots of them.
I had done a course similar to this one in Malton, short, with technical corners. I had just gone from the gun and it had worked. So I thought I should hold a fast pace for the first 4-5 laps taking the corners quickly to string the field out to make it easier to get around the course. The last thing I wanted to do was crash and break a bone at the beginning of the season.
I managed to get to the start at the front. When the whistle went, I went for it and got into the first corner first I put my head down and gave it everything out of the first 4 corners. I turned around and there was no one behind me. It was only a short 30 minute race if I could keep the bike upright and take the corners fast I might have a chance at staying away. Because of the way the course was set up you could always see how far in front or behind you were. This was really handy as every lap I could tell if I was gaining or losing time.
It was really nice to get my hands in the air for Team Jadan Weldtite, my first race in front of sponsors and second race of the season.
When you are in a race it’s really hard to know what is going on behind you, afterwards it was great to hear that Charlotte had also had a really good race! Managing to catch up with the two WNT girls who came 2nd and 3rd. It was a great experience and day out on an interesting race course.
One week later and my legs still quiver at the memory of the graft of the stage race that was Holme Valley Wheelers 2 Day. Set in South Yorkshire it promised a weekend of fast racing!
Job one: load up Golf with 3 bikes, 2 sets of rollers, bags of food, kit and bottles, the odd spare wheel and one Sarah Bradford. Job two – drive 250 miles to South Yorkshire. Job three, four and five eat, sleep, race repeat!
One thing I’ll say for South Yorkshire, it’s beautiful! Coming from a Scotland base we were spoilt for sunshine, didn’t even realise we could get away without leg warmers until the second day!
Joining myself and Sarah (hereinafter referred to as Sazzy B) were Sarah Burke, Louise Scupham and Elizabeth Burrows for Team Jadan Weldtite
First test of the weekend was a 10 mile TT, honestly not at all my strong point, especially when there a hill comprising the entire first 5 miles. But I got over that and then the long fast run into the line allowed me to claw back a bit of time, not a lot mind, I placed 29th of 40 plus starters.
Some basking in the sunshine and a granola bar or two and off we set on Stage 2; which encompassed three laps of the TT route, so that lovely hill I mentioned before?… I had to get over it a few more times! Oh joy! Something to know if you’re a rider who doesn’t climb all that well, get yourself to the front of the peloton if you know there’s a hill up the road. It gives you room to slip on the pace without losing the group. Easier said than done obviously, especially when it’s your first hilly road race of the season!
Off home for some grub and recovery and the magic of compression tights…. Mmmmm (thanks 2XU!)
With Stage three looming we had two less team-mates joining us for four laps of (surprise surprise) the same circuit!! But my goodness what a stage! Fusion RT had Angela Hibbs as race leader after her stomping time of 27.34 TT, so she was a marked lass and UCI team Drops weren’t about to let her off. Attack after attack straight away and a group went up the road with a strong Drops representation. All the fantastic riding of Angela and her Fusion team-mate Steadman couldn’t chase them down, they did however succeed in dropping me! Twice!
Such an exciting race and what a way to kick the season off! Can’t wait for more of the same, the excitement is definitely the only thing that will distract from the pain of it all of course! That and having awesome team-mates and sponsors to help us all out!
Slán go fóil folks!
Over 23 Rider
Last weekend Team Jadan 2016 met for a training weekend in East Yorkshire, as Victoria, Olivia and myself live in the area. The team travelled from all over the country for the busy couple of days. It was a great opportunity for all the team to meet and get to know each other before the race season begins. It was nice to finally match everyone with their Facebook profile pictures.
On Saturday morning we met in ‘Vive Le Velo’. A local bike shop which is one of our main sponsors this year, here we got changed into the new colourful kit and some of us met for the first time. We had our photos taken with a couple of the sponsors before setting off on the treacherous journey through the busy city centre of Hull. Finally, after what seemed like a never ending cycle of red lights and pedestrians stepping out into the road, we arrived at Sproatley, a village east of Hull where local cycling club ‘Hull Thursday’ hold a winter circuit training session. The session comprises of about 10 laps of a 2.5 mile open road circuit where you cycle in groups of ability in a chain gang. The rest of the girls rode very strongly, managing to keep up with some of the best local men.
After the session we rode back, through a slightly quieter Hull to my house where my mum had just arrived back from her third shopping trip of the weekend, not realising how much food five hungry cyclists can get through, we had a sort rest before getting ready for the team evening meal.
We had a lovely meal on the Saturday night where we had the opportunity to chat with some sponsors about our hopes and aspirations for the season ahead.
Sunday morning was a sunny one, we rode out to a sponsor of the team, Neil Thompson, he has a fitness studio in Drewton, a small hamlet on the outskirts of South Cave, west of Hull. He showed us how to squat properly when using weights, some exercises for a strong ‘mid-section’ and answered all our questions about strength and conditioning. Team manager Victoria impressed us all with the number of pull ups she could do, making us all feel a bit weak. Our photographer and sponsor Chris Maher took photos for our rider profiles and team photos for our website in the sunny courtyard at Drewton. Before contracting hypothermia from the sub-zero temperatures of Neil’s gym, we got back on our bikes to head back home.
Eve managed to teach me how to ride the rollers before she left, a skill I’m still trying to perfect!
All in all, I had a fantastic weekend and couldn’t wish for a nicer group of ladies to share my first ever race season with, I feel very lucky to be part of the team. But I must take this chance to thank our incredibly generous sponsors, none of this could be achieved without their support, I’m very grateful.
Under 16 Rider
I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Henrietta Colbourne and I’m a junior rider looking forward to getting race experience with Team Jadan girls.
So it turns out don’t listen to your dad when he says you need Maltese pounds in malta. Having purchased Euros and made it to malta the first stage of the tour was a Time Trial stage of 10.8 miles. The wet roads made an interesting and slippery Time Trial which proved lethal when cornering. The course consisted of 2 hills and 2 descents repeated over 4 laps. All of the Jadan team survived getting down the wet start ramp! Olivia skidded her back wheel but thankfully managed to stay upright!
The Time Trial was brutal and with Victoria’s mad shouting skills I just pushed harder on the peddles and the bike moved forward. My motivation only increased as the Jadan girls cheered me and Victoria on from the side of the road right the way to the finish line. I knew I’d done a good ride and Victoria had faith that I’d done enough to secure victory! When they announced me as the winner I was over the moon! The team cheered and shouted as I went up to stand on the podium and collect my bottle of champagne. I considered opening it and spraying it around, as the winner of the men’s race had done, but thought it might be nicer to take it home for my dad! I am now looking forward to the next three days of road racing and defending my lead on the hilly maltese roads.
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