blog entries

Diary of a teenage female bike racer Part 2

Cyclo-Cross Inter Regional Race 2014 – Central Women’s team

This year’s Inter Regional Cyclo-Cross (CX) races were held at Chesterfield, Derby, they included races for women, men, vets, juniors and youth riders who came from the various regions around the country. I was representing the Central Region and as I am now a junior woman I raced with the senior women, so I was racing against 44 of the county’s best lady CX riders.

The course was very wet and muddy, as it had been raced on the day before the Inter Regional’s. I was gridded 3 rows back and a strong start put me into the top 20.

After the first lap the mud had inhibited my bike and with my wheels no longer moving I went into the pits to try and get a spare clean bike, but there was not one available.

The only thing I could do was carry on as best I could. I managed one more lap on the bike and I ran half a lap before entering the pits again, to try and get a clean bike. This time one was available and I managed 1 ½ laps this time before mud over came me again and I had to swap bikes. This time onto a very small flat pedalled bike, this was a challenge to ride in cleats. After a frustrating mid race due to the conditions I finished well and sprinted past another rider at the end to finish 32nd overall and 2nd rider in the central ladies team. Many of the riders throughout the day did not finish due to mechanical failures in the extreme conditions.

It was a great days racing and I gained valuable experience to take forward onto future National CX Races. So Dear Santa please can I have three CX bikes, a two person pit crew and a petrol powered jet wash! All of which are needed if you want to be competitive at a National Level in these conditions. Next big CX race is the Nationals at Milton Keynes the day after the UCI world cup on the same course. Lots of thanks to the Central Region for organising the team and bringing some spare bikes for us all to share

Happy racing - Natasha

Editors Note - Apologies, but I've only just finished cleaning Tashas bike so this post is a little late and said 'Next big race' has been and gone. A few words on that.

My old man, a decent runner in his time, once worked out that he had the 10,000m Olympic qualifying time for Papua New Guinea and so we nearly emigrated so that he could qualify and pit himself against the world's best. As a very average rider I'm aware that my time doesn't quite match up to Nairo Quintana's on Alpe d'Huez but I've tackled the course even if I'm unlikely to race the inplacable Colombian. Furthermore as a very decent drinker I've had no end of conversations along the lines of 'How long would you last in the ring against the likes of Ali;Tyson or smiley Nicola Adams'? Not long obviously but the point is that everyone with a competitive spark always ponders those 'What if..' scenarios.

Cut to the Nationals at Milton Keynes. Natasha, at 15, is lining up with the women, and some of the best UK CX riders at that - Annie Simpson, Hannah Payton and, the soon to be superstar, Amira Mellor are all here.

Not only that though, some of the elite riders have hung around from yesterdays World Cup event and fancy having another go on this brute of a course. This includes arguably the best womens CX rider in the world, Katie Compton. Katie was last years World Cup champion with 5 victories in the 7 race series and was pipped on the line by the in-form Sanne Cant in the previous days race.

So, on as tough a course as you can imagine with treacle like mud round 90% of it, Natasha got one of those 'What if...' events. I was nervous as a kitten at a kennel club show beforehand for her, but if Natasha was feeling nerves she hid them well. 'What do you reckon to racing against Katie then?' I asked. 'It's OK' was the nonchalant, understated reply.

Anyway, I've not seen Tasha since the race so have yet to glean more pearls from her but rest assured we will get you some more feedback. For now though I'll leave you with the pictorial evidence that Natasha was taking the fight to Katie at certain points in the race. Well done Natasha!!


Photo Credits for Inter Regionals: Keith Perry