#blog13 The first ever junior women’s UK National series

Finally the time has come where Junior female cyclists have the opportunity to race at national level against riders solely in their own category.

Sadly British Cycling did not come to this decision on their own. They were prompted by a petition that was started last year by a female rider Jay Hine. After the petition had such great success the governing body realised how long overdue the series was. Never the less we now have our very own series just like the junior men, which is great news for developing female racing in the UK.

Many female racers stop competing after becoming too old to partake in Youth racing as the drastic jump from racing round town centers and country parks as an under-sixteen to racing for 2-3 hours on rolling open roads is pretty hard in itself, but to make matters worse there was very rarely a junior women’s only race so riders were often forced to race against the 3rd/4th cat men or in the National Women’s series against professionals. Therefore the difficult transition was made even harder when it could have easily been avoided with junior female only races. Which naturally caused girls to fall out of love with racing as they became disappointed in themselves and therefore lost motivation.

With little female racers continuing to compete I understand why British Cycling were reluctant to start a series. However it is a bit frustrating that they didn’t realise the drop in participants as a problem and try to combat it earlier.

On the bright side the new junior series seems to be working as the first event at Witham On the Hill had a whopping 71 entrants. That must be some kind of record for women’s racing in the UK.

The 2018 series will be made up of four rounds, the first, at Witham On The Hill (which is also the course that the National champs will be held on in July) followed by a stage race in Essex that took place last weekend. Then followed by another one day race in Scarborough and ending with a second stage race in the North West of England.

Unfortunately for me over the past two weeks I have suffered from a throat infection which has resulted in me not being able to train. Although I felt I could not miss the first ever junior female National series event so I came down anyways and hoped for a miracle but unfortunately the lack of training meant my legs were certainly not their meaning my race resulted in a disappointing DNF but glad to say I was part of a great move in the right direction for women’s cycling.

I’d like to say a big thanks to Mark Botteley for putting on such a great event and to Colin Batchelor for being an amazing team manager as always.

Also Id like to thank my coach James McCallum for picking me up and getting me back on track and of course Billy Blisland cycles for the amazing bike to ride.

I spent this week at home getting back on my bike and training rather than travelling down to the second round of the series in Essex. Although it’s upsetting that I missed out on some quality racing, I’m really happy that the team could get two stage wins and the overall!

Onto the next one!

Thanks for reading,

Ellie Park

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