I always find it a dawnting time when the race season is about to begin. I spend all winter training with guys, hanging on to their wheels through the long cold winter rides, to suddenly lining up to race with women. That’s why I always find my team training camps so important. It’s good to see my team mates again to catch up from the past few months and also get familiar again with each other on the bike. It also gives me a vague idea of how I’m going in training.
As Matrix Fitness has turned professional for 2015, that means we will start our season even earlier than normal which will probably be a big shock to the system. In previous years I haven’t started until mid March, now my first team race will be Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on 28th February. It’s going to be such a tough race but I can’t wait to get stuck in and mix with the worlds best. Matrix had a training camp last November but unfortunately I didn’t make it as I missed my flight due to being held behind a car crash on the A1. My first chance to see my team was 20th January. We had 2 weeks in Limoux, training together in the hills. After hearing that the UK was covered in snow I decided to stay an extra week and this gave me the opportunity to race too in the Trofeo Bescano. I felt like it was really important to get back into the swing of things, into race mode before Het Nieuwsblad.
It was a 5am alarm call followed by a 2.5 hour drive to the race. When we arrived the weather was crisp but forecast to warm up during the day. The race began at 10am with about 100 men and a handful of women all scurrying through Girona. It was fast from the gun but fortunately for me the roads were wide and rolling so I kept myself hidden and got carried along. The first climb came about 30km in and that’s when I realised how much I was enjoying the race. My legs were burning but not as much as I thought they would be. The climbs seemed to suit me as men all around me were gradually drifting backwards. The scenery was incredible in the split seconds I got chance to look. I lost contact with the front of the peloton about 1km from the top but found myself in a quite a large group. We descended and climbed a few more times then it was a fast straight into the final 1.5km climb with parts of 20%. I positioned myself near the front and then it was every man for himself. Riders were scattered all over the road but with the help of the buzz from the crowd I made it to the top, finishing 2nd woman behind Marijn De Vries.
I was staying in Limoux at the team training base run by our new DS, Chris Georgas. A dutch men’s team, Willebrord Wil Vooruit, were also there and we began the 2.5 hour journey home together. It was quite amusing because they spoke Dutch for the majority of the way home so I had no clue what they were saying. Probably a good thing. Then I returned back to the UK for a few weeks at home before the Team Launch. It was straight into an appearance with Yellow Jersey at the London Bike Show, and now I’m counting down the days until we start racing.
Finally, a thank you to Dave Rayner Fund for supporting me during to 2015.