Sunday 6th July saw the VC Norwich women’s road race as the next round of the Women’s Eastern Road Race league. Similar to the Yorkshire league supported by Jadan Press, this has helped create a new range of regional road races for women. It was held on a lovely undulating 7.5 mile circuit which the organiser had very helpfully provided a YouTube video of so you could familiarise yourself with it in advance of the race! A mix of 23 girls lined up for the start; some relatively new to racing and some much more experienced. The commissaire expected it to split, but I think due to the lack of steep hills and the way women’s racing is really strengthening, we stayed as a bunch. Frequent attacks came from Elizabeth Malins (Fusion RT) and Hayley Simmonds (Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa) , but nothing stuck so it was a bunch sprint for the uphill stretch to the finish. I was unfortunately trapped in the final sprint but happy to take 9th. It was a fantastic race with a great atmosphere and huge thanks to VC Norwich and all who made the event possible.
I headed down to the Olympic Velopark at Stratford on Wednesday evening for the first round of crit races on the circuit there. This runs right past the Olympic velodrome and is probably the best circuit I’ve ridden in terms of layout and surface. There was a decent field of 20 girls and a huge number of E/1/2 and 3/4 men. A windy night split the fields and I was in the leading group of 7 girls with 1 girl away. Unfortunately one of the larger men’s groups caught us at around 200m to go which made the sprint a little bit nerve wracking!
With no races planned for the weekend of 12th/13th July I somehow managed to be persuaded to ride the Dunwich Dynamo with 2 guys that I train with in Welwyn Wheelers. This is semi-organised (and free) 120 mile night ride that happens each year. You don’t register anywhere, it’s just a case of turn up at London Fields in Hackney, collect a route map if you want one and set off around 8pm. So each year thousands take up this challenge of riding mostly through darkness, arriving at Dunwich on the Suffolk coastline some time in morning. It is a rather surreal experience, with our route following some of the route of stage 3 of the Tour de France (“Where’s Wiggo?“ being a popular chalk-scribed question on the roads) tealights indicating turnings, people out cheering in their pyjamas and roads deserted except for streams of red rear bike lights ahead of you. We were following big storms most of the way which made for wet roads and some spectacular lightning. We made in to Dunwich for 3.45am, and after a group selfie on the beach in the dark and refuelling on bacon and egg sandwiches, we set off for an extra 30 miles to Ipswich to make it on the first train back.