The first ever Women’s Eastern Racing League race training session took place at the Redbridge Cycling Centre on the 15th of March and proved to be a hit, despite cold, wet and slippery conditions that prevented the participating riders from practicing cornering at speed as much as had been intended.
All 30 places on the session were filled, much to the delight of organiser Tanya Griffiths, who is well-known to women’s cycling fans as member of the Velosure-Starley Primal racing team and the winner of last year’s inaugural women’s race at the Tickhill GP.
British Cycling Level 3 coach Huw Williams, a keen supporter of women’s cycling, ran the session which began with an indoor discussion on training techniques, fitness and essential race skills. This was followed by track time, allowing the participants to get a feel for riding in a group on the twisty Redbridge circuit with advice from expert riders Tanya, Ellie Cadzow and Isla Rush before rain stopped play and the group returned to the lecture room within the Centre buildings for more instruction. It was immediately noticeable that the group was suddenly much faster once they got back out onto the track despite conditions remaining slippery after the rain as they put what they’d learned into practice.
“It was a great experience to learn some technical aspects of racing like moving through the bunch in a friendly environment but also learning about the theory side of training such as the components of fitness – FLEXIBILITY!” said Francesca Rust, who is supported in her time trial races by the Neutral Service Women’s Cycling Support Fund. “It was awesome to have a couple of races at the end to which got the competitive juices flowing and pushing the cornering at speed and closeness within the bunch! Bloomin’ loved it and can’t wait for the next!”
Ipswich rider Beth Rose Parker was similarly impressed. “Really great fun, learnt lots of new technical skills, feel more confident on my bike now, feel more confident in group riding skills,” she said.
“Race training with WERL was an ideal opportunity to dip into road racing in a safe, controlled environment. The coaching was inclusive, and insightful from the drills, how to move through the bunch to mock races and basics of physical conditioning. I turned up super nervous, and left booking a race the following weekend,” Natasha Pack, a member of the Hoddesdon Triathlon Club, told Neutral Service. “Everybody was clearly hooked! Great fun, and highly recommended – in fact I already have three from my club ready to go!”
The WERL is now in the process of organising a second session for female riders who were not able to make it to the first, due to take place at Redbridge on the 10th of May – further details here and on the WERL website in due course.
“What a roller-coaster of emotions last Sunday was. WERL (Women’s Eastern Racing League) Road Race training at the Hoggenberg (Redbridge Cycling Centre). Frstly, when I arrived I was under the impression (because I didn’t read the event description) that I was going to be slogging it up the infamous Hog-Hill all day, so I was a bundle of nerves ready to fall apart at any stage. Matt had to give me a wee pep-talk in the car, something along the lines of, “well if you don’t do it we will just have to sell your bikes.” Brutal…” Read more
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. Thanks to a tip off from Nikki at Senova Cycles, last weekend I dipped my toes into race training, with Womens Eastern Racing League at Redbridge Cycling Centre. With a typical reaction to a new experience, I arrived full of self doubt, anxious and clumsy. What was I thinking that I could get into road racing when I could stick to Triathlon, Time Trials, solo efforts and limited cornering…” Read more
“Weekend just gone I had the most amazing day! WERL (women’s Eastern racing league) race training with the fantastic Tanya Griffiths, Elanor Cadstow, & Isla Rush as experts and then coaching by the infamous Huw Williams! It was a great opportunity (organised by Tanya) for new women riders / racers to learn essential skills, build confidence & meet like minded women in a safe and controlled environment…” Read more