Cheshire Classic Women's Road Race | 27th April 2014

Cheshire Classic Women's Road Race

Sunday 27th April 2014

Part of British Cycling's National Series. Organised by Weaver Valley Cycling Club.

Cheshire Classic 2014 launches!

Taylor WimpeyThis year’s Cheshire Classic, part of British Cycling’s National Series and which takes place in Northwich on Sunday 27th April, promises to be the biggest yet with an extended race distance, increased prize fund & a major new sponsor in house builder Taylor Wimpey.

 2014 will see the riders complete two extra laps making the race distance 92km in total with the return of the Delamere Dairy Intermediate Sprint competition midway in the race. Entries are now open.

Race organiser Andy Wood commented ”We are hoping for an amazing race in 2014, Women’s cycling is coming on leaps & bounds and we are really proud to secure some brilliant sponsors & we are still in talks with a couple of others too“.

House builder Taylor Wimpey, who are building the stunning Winnington Village housing development near to the Cheshire Classic course in Northwich, have come on board alongside returning sponsors Delamere Dairy, Epic Cyclesde Vere Hotels and Your Sports Therapist.

 The 2013 edition was won by Karla Boddy in a breathtaking finale with previous winners including Dame Sarah Storey, Lucy Garner, Lizzie Armitstead & Nicole Cooke.

The Cheshire Classic, organised by Weaver Valley Cycling Club, is one of the longest running races on the Women’s National calendar having featured since it’s inception in the early 1980s. Weaver Valley CC has long been a supporter of Women’s cycling. The Cheshire Classic website features an advice area with tips for beginners & interviews with star riders.

The race has space for 80 riders & 10 reserve. Team sizes are limited to 6 riders per team. More details can be found at www.cheshireclassic.co.uk/entry/


Important information for entrants

If you are considering entering the Cheshire Classic, especially as a team, please read the below.

Closing Date

The closing date is slightly earlier than last year to allow for many of you visiting from around the UK to organise hotel rooms and travel. The closing date is 11pm Saturday 5th April. No entries will be accepted after this date, you’ve had 4 months to sort out your entry. We hope to announce the start list on Sunday 6th/Monday 7th April.

As a note to riders and helpers, hotels in the Northwich area do sell out on the weekend of the race. We’ll provide a race manual to all entrants with a list of hotels in the area.

Teams

Team sizes will be restricted to 6 riders per team. Team managers will have until the closing date which is 10pm Saturday 5th April to confirm their preferred team lineup for the race. The race organiser reserves the right to choose the starting lineup for the race. Preferred teams should be submitted to andy@cheshireclassic.co.uk by this time.

No changes or replacements to team entries will be accepted after the closing date, if a team member falls ill or is injured they cannot be replaced after the closing date. We feel this is fair and supports smaller teams and individual entrants. As shown by MG-Maxifuel last year, a fully weighted team does not always provide results!

Palmares

In 2013 we had over 120 riders enter the Classic. This of course leads to disgruntled entrants. While we do our best to keep on top of results throughout the year, we are restricted to what we can see on your British Cycling membership account, we would encourage riders to send their palmares to andy@cheshireclassic.co.uk.

Race Distance

We have increased the race distance from 10 to 12 laps making the distance 92km.


End of season catch up

December is most definitely “end of season”. For us amateurs out there it is a case of slow, easy rides to every cafe you can think of, scoffing as much cake as you can, getting home, drinking beer, guzzling wine and finding your way through a box of Celebrations. So, while you devour that second Mince Pie, we thought it would be good to catch up with a few riders to see how their year went on following the Classic in April.

Karla Boddy – 1st place at the Classic

There is no better place to start than with our winner Karla Boddy. Karla stormed her way to the win, narrowly outsprinting Emma Grant by literally millimeters in one of the closest and most exciting finishes we’ve ever seen at the Classic. Karla had also picked up the intermediate sprint earlier in the race.

We caught up with Karla, who has recently announced she will be joining Epic Cycles-Scott-Contessa next season following her team MG-Maxifuel sadly folding. As a small, close knit team, they produced some fantastic performances with team mate Melissa Brand earning the plaudits for pulling the break back along the A50.

Karla, what a fantastic win back in April. How would you sum your season up in 5 words?

Hard, exciting, tiring, rewarding, frustrating (at times!)

What was the highlight of the year?

Winning the Cheshire Classic!

What was the lowlight?

Ras na MBAn. One word. Shocking.

What are your targets for 2014?

Try and keep competitive!

What tips would you give our visitors to keep fit and get in shape over the Winter months?

Put the cake down and get on the bike!

Karla’s winning sprint at the Classic.

Emma Grant – 2nd place at the Classic and highest 2nd cat rider

There wasn’t anything else you could say but put a hand on the shoulder and say “gutted”. To come so close to winning must have been tough but Emma went on from the Classic and produced some fantastic performances which included a podium (and another second place) at the Nationals. Her team Matrix Fitness were consistent throughout the season and have added some great new riders to their lineup for 2014.

Emma, a great year for you, thinking back to April and being beaten to the line by millimeters, that must have hurt. Are you coming back in 2014 to go for the win?

I just really wanted to win, I came straight off the plane with good form from the California spring season. I was a bit gutted to come so close then to lose by bike throw. It was my first race with the Matrix girls but it didn’t feel like that, Harriet, Corrine and Jessie had got me to the last corner in a great position. I’ve done Cheshire twice now and finished 3rd and 2nd so I would like another shot at it! I love the finishing hill, hopefully my race schedule will allow me to race it again next year.

How would you sum your season up in 5 words?

Character building fun learning experience

What was the highlight of the year?

Nationals on the Glasgow Commonwealth games course, I loved the city centre atmosphere and getting on the podium was great after a tough few months.

What was the lowlight?

The amount of tarmac time and  getting ill which meant my funding was cut as I couldn’t be abroad racing.

Any targets for 2014?

I am still putting together my 2014 season plans, but if I can get back for it the Cheshire Classic is a race with unfinished business!

Top tips for our visitors to keep fit and get in shape over the Winter months?

When the weather is bad just get up and go, don’t procrastinate! If you feel the cold badly like me have a hot bath the night before your ride and sleep in your base layers at least you’ll start warm. The biggest thing is be safe, get lights and don’t risk it on the ice, it’s not worth it. Dig out the trainer and get a gym membership!

Emily Kay – 3rd place

Well what can you say about Emily? We have a little superstar in the making. With one of the biggest sprints around and flawless on the track, this year Emily picked a World Junior title and powered up the Cliff to take an amazing 3rd place. Emily has a great future ahead of her.

Emily, a great year for you, thinking back to April and picking up third, that must have been a good feeling to beat Amy Roberts?

I wasn’t expecting to get on the podium, the course is pretty tough and I thought it would suit other riders better then me, so I think I surprised myself at the finish. Me and Amy are really good friends so a bit of rivalry is always good. Had to really grit my teeth to get round her though.

Talking to a few people before hand, a couple had a cheeky bet on an Emily Kay win but were unsure if you had enough in the tank for the hill sprint, no doubt you proved them wrong. Will we be seeing more of that powerful sprint machine of yours next year?

I think I was unsure how I was going to do, id never ridden the course before and riding up that climb 9 times definitely took its toll. I think I just managed to position myself well going into the climb for the sprint. I hope so, I think my sprint is one of my strengths and Epic Scott have a really strong team this year, the support we’re getting is fantastic, so a lead out with them would definitely put me in a good position but I know the women’s scene will be really strong next year in Britain.

And tell us a bit about the World’s that must have been incredible?

It was amazing, my year was all about the Junior worlds so to win was incredible, especially to be able to hear the national anthem at a home games in front of my family and then to go on and win the bronze in the omnium aswell. Definitely a moment I wont forget!

How would you sum your season?

Beyond my wildest dreams

What was the highlight of the year?

Id have to say becoming Junior World champion. Its something I’ve dreamed about since i started cycling and it was the main aim of my year. So it was just amazing, incredibly proud to be able to wear the rainbow bands.

What was the lowlight? 

Track was my main focus so the road took a back seat a bit, so I was sad to have missed the junior national road race championships where my team mates got all three spots on the podium but i dont think i had a low light Overall im pleased with how my year went and i learnt a lot and achieved what i set out to do.

Any targets for 2014?

Straight away I will hopefully going to Mexico World Cup and then my main aim for the year will be to hopefully be picked to ride the track at the Commonwealth games. I’m looking forward to a really good year with Epic Scott. Getting to ride with a bunch of women, who are all great riders especially when women’s cycling in Britain is growing so much and with so many new races. I cant wait to get started.

Top tips for our visitors to keep fit and get in shape over the Winter months?

Id say just keeping the miles up over the winter. Doesn’t need to be fast but a good ride to a cafe with a group of riders is always the best part of the winter. Good way to get the miles that’s enjoyable.

Natalie Grinczer – highest 3rd cat rider

Natalie had a great race at the Classic, with a very credible performance for someone new to performing Nationally. We had a great interview with Natalie & the girls from Abergavenny on the Saturday. Terry Williamson can be very proud of the performances produced by the girls in 2013.

Natalie, a great year for you, what was it like picking up top 3rd cat back in April at the Classic?

I was really happy to finish as top 3rd was my first big National race and I was ready and raring to go after the Dave Peck Memorial. I was asked about my aspiration to win the prize the day before in the Abergavenny team interview but at such an early stage of competing for me it was just about placing as highly as possible among a bunch of established riders. I had not really thought about winning any prizes and was pleasantly surprised when my name was called at the race presentation. I think I was just glad that I was able to bring something back for the team and prove my worth after being taken on by Abergavenny in March.

How would you sum your season up in 5 words?

Electrifying, enlightening, dramatic, rewarding and lucky!

What was the highlight of the year?

The highlight of my year was definitely going over to Ireland to compete in the Ras na mBan. It was far more aggressive racing and a stage was never over until it was over! The Womens Tour of Ireland really taught me how to race and being in a bunch of 100+ riders really brought my confidence on. I finished 13th hoped for a greater opportunity than an International stage race. I feel so lucky to have even been approached by the Abergavenny Team Manager Terry Williamson this season. Having never been given the opportunity to ride competitively as a junior on the track or at closed circuit races, racing was something I had always dreamed of doing but didn’t think was ever going to happen.

What was the lowlight?

I have been very lucky this season in that almost all the races I have competed in I have come away pleased with the result and have learned something from. Perhaps my lowest point of the season was being pulled out of the National Road Race and it’s still something that I do not really like to talk about and it did knock my confidence, and I keep being reminded that I had only racing half a season and really did not have much experience at the time. We went there with the main aim of purely finishing the race and unfortunately my group of 5 was the last to be pulled out.

Any targets for 2014?

I am working really hard to improve my time trialling as I think that will really help me in stage racing as last year it proved to be a bit of a weakness for my GC positioning. I am lucky enough to be a fair climber so time trialling would add another dimension to my overall performance. I think we will have to look at my results from last year for each race and aim to improve. It would be nice to get my 1st category licence by the end of next season as well and I definitely will be going back to Ireland for another fix of the Ras na mBan.

Top tips for our visitors to keep fit and get in shape over the Winter months?

The age old saying “getting the base miles in”! Really enjoy your riding during the winter, go for long rides with café stops. I really enjoy riding on crisp winter mornings on peaceful and scenic roads, there is something nice about not having to think about work or studies and just have a bit of time to yourself. From experience I would NOT suggest going out in potentially icy conditions. Have a liein and go out a bit later when the sun has had a chance to thaw out the roads. Alternatively you can jump on the turbo and do some more specific, quality efforts in the warm. Make sure you have some good music or a film to watch though to keep your mind occupied and stop you jumping off to early!

Louise Borthwick – Our rider of the season

Louise had a great season. Gutsy, determined and could always been seen attacking off the front. What is more she rode for Edinburgh RC which meant not having the valuable support of team mates. As a second year junior you have to respect that commitment. She was rewarded with top 5 placings at crits including 5th at the British Crit Champs, 2nd place at Stafford GP and finishing off with an incredible 2nd place at the Westminster GP.

Louise, amazing year, you’ve got to be chuffed with how it went.

Yeah a really good year, very happy with how it went. Most of my best results I hadn’t even put down in my targets at the start of the year because, based on last years results, I didn’t expect to do that well at all! Being signed by Matrix Vulpine is also amazing, I remember at the end of 2012 looking at their website and wishing I could ride for them, so a dream come true I guess!

How would you sum up your season in 5 words?

 I love fast crit racing!

Out of everything, what would you say was your highlight?

Highlight would have to be Westminster GP, just the location made it an amazing race, add in the crowds and the Tour of Britain presence, it really was fantastic!

What was the lowlight?

Lowlight was probably Rydale GP, it was the British Junior Road Race Champs. I had trained pretty specifically for it but my legs just didn’t turn up on the day.

What are your targets for next year?

I actually haven’t had a proper think about 2014 yet so I’m not really sure what I’m targeting. But looking at the British Road Series I think the Rutland Cicle Classic could really suit me so I’m looking forward to that. Also there the obvious attraction of the Women’s Tour, so if Matrix get a team in that to get a ride would be a big target.

And for our readers, what are your top tips for the Winter?

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Make sure you’re wrapped up right for the conditions and it’ll make the ride a whole lot more enjoyable.

Heather Bamforth – Interviewer & Women’s Cycling Development Fanatic

Nobody works harder to develop Women’s cycling in the North West than Heather Bamforth. Thanks to Heather, a Women’s specific series was developed with CDNW and saw entries increase race on race. What is more, many of the entrants were new to racing which is fantastic. Heather’s outspoken campaigning will continue into 2014 with news of a bigger, better CDNW race series and 3 training sessions in January designed to help novice riders new to racing. Heather also picked up her 2nd cat license in 2013 too.

How would you sum your season up in 5 words?

Enjoyable and fun, but frustrating

What was the highlight of the year?

I had two highlights – Firstly, the Cheshire Classic – both helping to promote the event and riding it (it’s not every day that you get to ride up a hill with people cheering you on by name!). The second one would have to be Jo Street from Manchester Wheelers riding up to me in a bunch at the final Cycling Development North West (“CDNW”) women’s league event saying how happy she was that she had managed to stay with the bunch for the whole race whereas at the race earlier in the season she had been dropped quite early on.  It doesn’t sound like much, but that to me is proof that we are doing something right in the North West, if riders are developing.

What was the lowlight?

I don’t think I really had a low point.  I went into the season with an open mind – it was the first time in over 10 years that I had done some decent winter training so I wanted to see how I would get on compared to last year when I didn’t start riding until Christmas.  My fitness was a lot better but a health scare early on, followed by a really busy two months at work and then my granddad being really ill meant that life got in the way and I never actually got to do any training during the season, so I don’t think I got anywhere near my full potential, hence the use of the word “frustrating”!

So where are we now? When we met on that cold bench on the Cliff back in March you set out your agenda to develop Women’s cycling in the North West do you think you’ve achieved that?

I have to be honest and say that I don’t think anybody was prepared for how successful the women’s road race league has been.  In its first season, we have had 70 women register for the league, with over 35 women racing each event.  That number doesn’t sound huge but when you compare it to closed circuit events that can struggle to get 10 women, 35 is a huge number in comparison. 

The standard of racing in those events has been far beyond anyone’s expectation and all of the riders have developed throughout the season – it’s been great to see their journey together.  The first race held on the Great Budworth circuit in April had an average bunch speed of 22 mph (over 44 miles) whereas the final event in August on the same circuit (okay the weather was warmer) had an average speed of 24 mph for the same distance.  I don’t think the journey has finished but I think in terms of what we have achieved we have laid the foundations for something which can only get better.

What do you think needs to happen in 2014 to continue the growth in Women’s cycling?

Next season will see us tackling a different issue (and one I didn’t think we would be considering this time last year!) which is how to increase the opportunities out there for women.  The majority of the women who rode the CDNW events didn’t come from the North West, so we are looking at developing a calendar of events for second, third and fourth category women across the North of England. 

Yorkshire region are keen to provide road racing opportunities for women, so I am working with them to ensure that this calendar is co-ordinated, with no clashes, with the hope that there will be at least 10 road races across the North of England at that level. 

In addition, I am in discussions with the guys behind the events at the Palatine circuit in Blackpool about a women’s league to fit in between the road races, and I am sure there will be something similar in Yorkshire too.  We hope to have seven races in the CDNW league next season, including two hilly races (one at Capernwray and one at Oakenclough) although one at least is dependent on us securing a suitable HQ!

So for those wanting to get into racing in 2014? When is the first opportunity?

The first women’s only road race of the season will probably be at Pimbo on 2 March 2014.  There may be closed circuit races prior to that but the first event for the majority will probably be Pimbo.  Anybody who has ridden at Pimbo will tell you that it is perfect for those new to road racing due to the nature of the circuit (one-way). 

In addition, I am teaming up with Carley Brierley and Huw Williams to offer race training to riders who are eligible to ride the CDNW league.  These sessions will be happening in the New Year at various locations across the North West of England.  We will also be doing meet and greet rides around the Oakenclough and Capernwray circuits hopefully. 

Information about these events will be promoted via various social media channels, but to keep up to date with the racing, we have a dedicated Twitter account – @CDNW_WRRL and a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/251679091646414/ which will have news about all races in the North of England (as much as possible).

What are your top tips for our visitors to keep fit and get in shape over the Winter months?

Top tip – work on your base fitness.  This often gets forgotten about as people always seem to concentrate on intervals, but in order to benefit from intervals you need a decent level of base fitness first, otherwise your body won’t benefit from them.

Relive the 2013 Classic! Remember the 2014 edition takes place on Sunday 27th April.


Novice 3rd & 4th category Women’s Race Training Sessions

For those of you looking to take a step up and dip your toes into racing, Heather Bamforth and friends are putting together a series of training sessions in January.  These are Women only road race training sessions, aimed at giving beginner and novice level racers the knowledge and skills needed to confidently compete in road races.

Each 4-hour session will be progressive, on a dedicated, traffic-free cycle circuit where you will learn the techniques, skills, tactics and group riding etiquette needed to race, as well as advice on training theory and practice that will allow you to prepare for the coming, 2014 season. Each session is structured in a way that allows all riders to participate at their own level of ability and there will be no instances of novice riders feeling ‘out of their depth.’

The sessions will be delivered by Carley Brierley, British Cycling level 3 road and TT coach, Heather Bamforth a level 3 ABCC coach and current 2nd category racer and Huw Williams, a British Cycling level 3 road and TT coach. We also have guest riders from two of the UKs leading womens’ race teams, Epic Scott Contessa WRT and Matrix Vulpine, on hand to answer questions and offer tips and advice during the training.

Whether you’re coming out of your first year with a club or looking to get more involved in road from Tri, this is a fantastic opportunity which you can’t missed.

Dates/times venues

Session 1: Tameside Cycle Circuit, Manchester OL7 9HG

Sunday 5th Jan 2014 9am-1pm


Session 2:
Marsh Tracks, Rhyl, LL18 2AD

Sunday 19th Jan 2014 12noon – 4pm


Session 3:
Palatine Circuit Blackpool FY4 2AP

Sunday 2nd Feb 2014 12noon – 4pm

 

Cost

£20 per rider per session payable on the day

 

Rules

You have to be female and wearing a helmet at all times when on the track.

 

How do I enter?

Please email heather.bamforth@gmail.com for more details and to register your interest. Spaces are limited, so please register early.