Our very own Anna has been keen to get into road racing ever since discovering cycling just a year ago, this week she took the plunge!
Anna has already successfully tried her hand at Time Trialing, demonstrating a natural talent for the sport, winning a two-up with Cass at Steyning earlier in May this year.
She’s spent time working on her group riding skills with East Grinstead Cycling Club, along with the Army’s Cycling Training in preparation for her first event. Following advice from the amazingly supportive, Professional Cyclist Joss Lowden, who Anna interviewed for the club, she took the plunge and entered her very first road race at Goodwood this week!!
Here’s how it went:
First proper race done!
I spent the entire day as a nervous wreck, not really knowing what to expect or what the standard would be like, but my concerns were all unnecessary. The marshalling and admin teams at Goodwood were absolutely brilliant, very welcoming and they settled those nerves straight away when I arrived.
Starting a women’s race as a complete novice is pretty daunting due to the huge disparity in ability within the field, I was lined up in the pit lane alongside Multiple Gold Medal Winning Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey! …So no pressure!
The organisers decision to run the event as a handicap race really helped ease the start line nerves, with the Cat 4 riders called to the front and set off together first, before each other category set off separately, one group at a time. Even so, the pace was immediately intesnse, easily over 22mph (35kph) straight off the line.
The pace settled once the Cat 3 group caught us and we sat in behind them for almost 2 laps before the speedy Cat 1 & Cat 2 group came flying up the inside. I was not expecting the rest of the peleton to immediately chase them down and a number of them did manage to bridge across to the main leading pack.
I didn’t stand a chance at that point following the split! I spent the rest of the race, almost 10miles, out on my own, enjoying the lovely smooth surface of the track, whilst still attempting to maintain my own steady race pace. I was lapped by the peleton on their penultimate lap, and the power and skill of those girls was just awesome to see. I was pulled out before the last lap, as the race was not far behind me and the sprinting pack was imminent.
All the marshalls were super encouraging and immediately asked if I would be back next week? The answer was a definite, unhesitating yes!
As daunting as it may seem, I can highly recommend to anyone thinking about racing for the first time, just taking the plunge, jumping into the deep end, and learning as you go. Someone has to come last, and it might as well be me, as everyone starts somewhere!! I learned a huge amount, absolutely enjoyed myself and from now on, the only way is up!
By Anna Roe