A racing season in Holland:
After experiencing half a season racing in Holland with the Elite Women, and racing both UCI races and national races with Swabo Ladies, I can truly say it has been a massive learning experience. The support from the CTT in 2016 allowed me to race in Europe as a second year junior, which gave me the best preparation one could have for the transaction from Junior to Under 23 and racing with the best women in the world. With 130+km now being a standard race length and tactics on a new level, I have had to step up my game a gear this year. Learning how to get from the back of the peloton to the front when 150 + riders are heading down a road as wide as a car or learning to ride the wind. Anticipating what will happen when we turn a corner and the wind changes direction, trying to avoid being left in the gutter with a screaming wind battering your wheels, but instead being able to ride in the echelon where it is a lot easier! With my experience in the UCI races so far I am grateful I have done a few Time Trials as when the 'big girls' go, they go!
The training out in Holland is of a different nature for me, no hills just flat. So the riding is more about sustained power that fluctuating power of climbing and descending that I'm am used to in Cumbria. However the amount of cycling groups riding during the week is phenomenal compared to Cumbria. The racing is also exceptional, both in the quality and choice of races. Holland and Belgium really are country’s that embrace cycling and are great places to spend a season racing. I am looking forward to the rest of my season which includes the Tour de Feminin in July, so I better find my climbing legs quickly!
I just want to close by saying that none of this would be possible without the brilliant support I received from the CTT last season, and of course the support of the fantastic of the David Rayner Fund for the current season.