A few years ago I would never have believed we would be in the position we are now with women's cycling. I am sat writing this blog in a hotel room, in England (understanding the TV is in itself exciting), about to start watching the TV coverage, on a terrestrial TV channel, for a stage of a women's pro race. Oh and with equal prize money to the men's Tour of Britain!
I'm going to try my hardest to do a mini blog every day as I ride for Matrix Fitness. So here is today's.
With a flat stage in principle and one of the shorter stages at just 112km it looked on paper to be a pretty simple stage to predict. Which it ended up as and you can read all about it in race reports.
Everyone's stories are always different but for me today there were a few highlights. The race started super crazy fast, apparently we averaged 60kph for the first 5km, harsh for a cross rider that's for sure! Just as they settled down a bit I punctured. I am a right hand gutter rider in a pro race and haven't punctured in such a long time now, despite putting myself in the worst section of road. Today I decided to have a go at riding through the middle, scary but easier in the long run and after just 25km I heard the dreaded phhhhhssss. Stef was only team car 8 so I had a new wheel and was back in the convoy around team car 17. Unfortunately at that exact point people started attacking at the front of the race. This makes for a solid car chase and for what seemed like forever to get back to the peloton.
My job for the day was to look after the main riders from the team as much as I could. The first time I said to Laura lets go to the front I set off in my usual edge of the road nipping in and out style. I got to the front about 5 minutes later, without her, epic fail! Needless to say I probably should stop taking the 'cross' lines ha ha ha oops!
I was told to finish my job at 3km and ride in to the finish safely, as apparently my 12cm arm circumference does not make me a sprinter. Who knew?!!! This probably worked out well as there was an incident after the line, leading to a few ambulance rides for riders. Thankfully no one is seriously injured and most will return to the peloton tomorrow.
I love this race as there are so many people out on the roadside watching and cheering really loudly. All the local schools on the route get involved and its just incredible to be able to ride in front the next generation of us!! Today was no exception. I was asked to take a Go Pro onto the stage and when vox women put the footage out you can see how fantastic the support is for us all. Long may it continue.
Other highlights included my team mate, Elinor Baker's awesome break getting caught at just 400 metres to go, the train barrier coming down before us, obviously we all stopped, (just saying) and the GPS taking us on the smallest road route on our drive to the race. Lets just say the camper driver was actually 'breathing in' as the roads got narrower and narrower.
Tomorrow starts early at 10 am and is again a flattish stage but it's the longest ever average distance in a pro stage race and tomorrow's stage is 140km. If you want to know what it looks like to be me, you can follow me on Strava where I will be uploading my ride at the end of each day. I'll let you know how it goes. Till then.