Sunday, 20 January 2013

Summary of 2012

Before I get into what I'm doing this year I thought it would be good to do a quick write up on what I did last year (ok its actually quite long). The inspiration for this came on Friday night when I went to my club dinner and was really pleased to receive the Women's Championship Cup for most points/placings throughout last season, so I thought I'd give wee review of what I did to get those points and placings.

My sister and me with our awards from the club dinner

Last year I moved up to Junior category and started racing in Junior and Senior Women’s races, this change in racing is usually difficult enough but I decided to make it harder by breaking my wrist in a crash at the Revolution series at the start of the winter. So that meant turbo, turbo and more turbo. I started my season in March when I travelled to the North of England for some crits. I learned a lot over the 6 crits I raced at and scored numerous podium places and eventually a win at the final race. I was very happy to get my first win of the season and even had the attached article on British Cycling written about me! 

I was pretty happy with how the start of the season went, but my biggest test was yet to come. I travelled to the first round of the British Womens Series knowing it was going to be hard, but wow it was harder than I had even had nightmares about. With basically no base miles in my legs from a winter on the turbo and very little experience of any race over 40km, I was in a race 75km long and totally out of my depth. The race was 10 laps of a circuit, I was lapped twice and 2nd last finisher. As you can imagine I was pretty gutted about that, but my coach Brynley was really supportive and I was straight back to training and basically building up my base throughout April and May, which isn't what you're supposed to do, but it had to be done.

So my season could only improve from there! In May I raced the British Junior and Scottish Road Race Championships, I felt my riding improved a lot for both these races and I finished 13th in the Junior Champs and 9th overall in the Scottish Champs, that was really frustrating though because I was caught behind a crash and could definitely have done better! Throughout the year I also competed in the Scottish Crtiterium, Pursuit and Scratch Champs. I won my first senior championship medal, taking bronze, in the Crit Champs which I was very happy with. I then won another 2 bronzes in the Womens Pursuit and Scratch.

In July I was back at the British Womens Series, with a whole lot more experience and ready to turn around my 2nd last placing from the first round.  The race was a 2 day stage race in Blackpool, I finished 12th in the timetrial and finished the race in 11th place overall which I was overjoyed with considering how badly the first round had gone! This also meant I was 3rd Junior, only behind the 2 riders selected to go to the European Championships for Great Britain, Lucy Garner and Emily Kay. Needless to say I was extremely happy!

In the summer I travelled to the Basque Country in the north of Spain to stay and train with a Spanish Cyclist. I competed in 2 races while there and was very happy to finish first girl in the first one and receive a big cup and bunch of flowers on the podium! The standard of competition was much higher in the second race as it was the final round of the Spanish Womens Series and members of the Spanish World Champs team were competing, I ended up 13th after a very long, hard race in the sun.

Big cup and flowers from the Basque Country
Towards the end of the season I travelled to Holland to do some Junior races because I plan to race there next year. The racing was very, very hard with all the girls wanting to attack or be at the front, it was insane, you've got to execute all the skills you've got to the top of your ability at the same time as learning a load of other things, all while trying to ride your bike really fast. It was mental but I absolutely loved it! I came away with a 13th and a 25th (after a puncture) but learnt so much that will be very useful for when I go back next year. Again the level of competition was very high with Dutch, Belgium and German Junior national team members racing.

Racing in Holland in the worst rain I've ever raced in -
living in Scotland thats saying something!

I finished off my season on the track, first off I had the British Junior Champs which didn't go as well as I had hoped, I didn't really have my track legs on at all. On the way home from that I went to the Newport Nocturne Crit race, I wasn't really expecting much because I had done a pursuit in the morning. The race started insanely fast and with a cobbled section and a few dead turns I was struggling from the off but moving up the group, my legs seemed to find themselves and by a lap to go I was ready to go go go for the sprint. I'm so annoyed at myself though because I totally messed up the sprint and ended up getting boxed in and finished 8th, however still a good result in a top quality field.

So finally the British Senior Track champs, I was just there for experience really but it was a hard and frustrating 2 days, with a 30km (thats 120 laps!) points race where I finished 9th and then a slow puncture in the scratch race meaning I didn't finish, annoyed but lesson learnt! Then at the end of October the Scottish Track Champs at the brand new and lovely Sir Chris Hoy velodrome. There was 3 junior womens races on and a grand total of 2 junior women racing. I really hope to see this situation improve in the future but we had to make what we could of it and I can away with 2 silvers and a gold. Winning the gold in the 500m TT was pretty special, it was the first time I'd been awarded a jersey and it just felt so good to be up on the massive podium, exciting!

I also got to meet David Millar at the
Thunderdrome at the Scottish Track Champs

So that was 2012 and theres a load of people to thank for it, but specifically Scottish Sports Aid and The Robertson Trust, my coach Brynley Davies, Graeme Herd, Alan Denman and the Performance Program at Scottish Cycling, the ERC Race Team, Bicycleworks and Alpine Bikes. And all the Scottish Women who have been really supportive, and Laura especially for taking me with her to lots of races, I really need to learn to drive! And my friends Claire and Shona, who are amazingly still my friends despite the fact I'm forever away at races and training.

Thanks for reading if you've got this far and if you want to keep up with me between posts then follow me on twitter - @louiseb95

Monday, 14 January 2013

First Post - A bit about me

Right so I've decided to start a blog, might take me a wee while to get my head around this so my posts will probably improve, so stick with me!

First off a bit about me:
Coming from a cycling family I've been on a bike for as long as I can remember, I started off on the back of my parents bikes, then made it to my first proper bike and I used to just love riding my bike. But then in 2007 I discovered racing at the Peebles CC Dirt Crit Series at Glentress and I was hooked, vowing to come back the next year. So in 2008 I was back and I had multiple 2nd place finishes before finally getting my first race win - wooo! That was a long time ago and it has been a steep, steep upward curve of learning from then on.

On the way to my first race win
I raced on the mountain bike for the 2009 season with my best placing 2nd in a round of the British Series, but then I discovered road racing (much, much better) I decided it was definitely for me so stuck with it. I won the Scottish Youth Crit Champs from 2009 - 2011 and gained some good positions in British Races. I also started racing on the track and loved that too, that took a lot longer to make it anywhere in but I've improved a lot from when I started, mainly with a lot of work, and commitment driving up and down to Manchester (I owe a lot to my parents!). Thankfully since October we've got a nice new track in Glasgow, which just makes such a difference and is amazing to have just an hour away!
Racing can in Britain can be really horrible sometimes!

That pretty sums up my youth years and last year was my first year as a junior, racing in the Womens races. Again, a lot of learning (theres always something to learn) but I think I'm getting my head round it all and I'm so so ready to give it my all in 2013.

In the Scottish Womens Crit Champs last year
Training for next season is going really well, I'm just back from a weekend Scottish Cycling Junior training camp which was very tiring, with plenty of efforts and lot of good work done. We also had a really good self massage class and I will definitely be putting what I've learnt into practice to help my recovery. The races I'll be doing in March and April have been decided so thats really good and adds a lot of motivation to my training, exciting stuff!

So thats my first post, thanks for reading and I'll be back soon with something new, would be much appreciated if you could share this around