Women’s Lee Valley Track League – Round 1

Tanya Griffiths will already be a familiar name to anyone who follows women’s cycling in Britain – she’s a rider with the Starley-Primal team and has a number of impressive race wins on her palmares, including her spectacular victory at the Tickhill Velo GP this year. Here, she tells us about the first round of the new Women’s Track League at the Lee Valley Velopark.

 

Just under 50 women have been accepted onto the first track league to be held at the London Olympic Velodrome, now known as Lee Valley Velopark.

With a pre-requisite that riders must be accredited to race at an indoor velodrome, and have track racing experience, the numbers are very positive. There were many more riders wanting to take part, but unable to meet these criteria as yet, so next year’s women entry looks exciting, if potential riders are able to get experience over the summer.

At £20 to register with the league and £20 per race night, it is by far the most expensive track league in the UK. For comparison, Manchester charge £8 per race night and Newport charge £9.

With so many female riders, we get to have our own race, completely separate from the men’s. There is no ability category for the women this year, like there are for the men, but the good thing about this is that the less experienced get to learn from the more experienced.

The women’s races take place every other Thursday, but, with a track limit of 24 riders, we need to take the evenings in turns to race, so each rider is likely to be able to race once every 4 weeks.

For the first event on Thursday 6th November, there were a lot of nerves,as many riders either hadn’t raced track for a while, or were about to embark on their first set of proper races on the indoor velodrome.

The evening took the format of a 30lap scratch race, a points race, an elimination race and a 50 lap scratch race. The racing in all events was fast, attacking and competitive. It was clear during the racing, which riders had more experience of racing than others, and it was great watching them race, saving their energy and attacking at just the right moments. By far, the strongest and most tactically astute rider, was Abbie Dentus. It was no luck that won her all four of the races on the first night. The rest of us have a lot of catching up to do!

It was a real privilege to race with such fun, competitive and competent riders and I’m already excited for the next event.

 

© Tanya Griffiths