#Blog17 A long way from home part 2

Firstly, sorry for the delay in publishing this blog on the second half of my racing trip out in Canada. I have been out in the Czech Republic racing my first UCI Womens Elite road Tour (The Tour De Feminin). I do apologise but I was somewhat busy…Stay tuned for my next blog which will be all about the chaotic race! you wont want to miss it.

Anyways back to Canada,

Mardi Lachine Criterium

This was by far one of the coolest races I’ve ever done in my life! I did not realise how much the people of Canada loved cycling. The race was a town center crit but there was permanent road markings for the race that took place every Tuesday night. There was also a permanent start/finish gantry. This race was again in Montreal so a 4 hour round trip but it was certainly worth it.

One side of the start finish line was filled with team gazebos for warm up as well as business tents, rocket espresso were there as well as a truck which was a mobile bike shop! The other side on the start finish straight there were grand stands that were full of locals who had come out to watch the race, obviously this made for an amazing atmosphere along with music blaring and the live commentator for all the races.

The youth mens race was incorporated into the women’s race which meant for a really high paced and exciting race as all the boys endlessly tried to drop the fast women and evidently failed, which I could tell made them furious, especially when my team mates and I took turns attacking them to make them work even harder. The result of this was that the race was 10 minutes faster than the week before. This came to a shock for a lot of riders as it was blowing an absolute gale with a block head wind into the finish.

As we came into the closing stages of the race the breakaway had come back for a select front bunch kick to the finish. Myself and a couple of my team mates had made it into the group and they were doing a great job of a leading me into the finish. Unfortunately in the second last corner I hit the curb, didn’t come off but I lost the girls and there was no way of coming back from that. On the bright side though my final lead out girl managed to hold on to third after a long headwind sprint to the finish. It was good to still get a result even though the plan didn’t quite come together.

Mardi Lachine was unfortunately the final race of my trip out in Canada, at least we finished on a high! Thanks again to Brent and Anthony for the opportunity and for putting up with me for the duration of the trip.

Tourist time!

Thanks to Anthony’s daughter kat for being an amazing tour guide around downtown Ottawa! Being cyclists the sight-seeing tour quickly turned into a food tour…

We got to try some awesome Canadian delicacies such as Beaver Tales, which is basically a large flat donut covered in heavenly toppings;  Reeces Pieces, Nutella, cinnamon sugar and the list went on. Aswell as Beaver Tales we got to try the infamous Poutine,  which is chips, cheese curds and gravy for those of you who have been living under a rock…I know this might be a bit controversial with all the hype that’s around Poutine but in my opinion It wasn’t that great…sorry Canada.

Kat had grown up in Ottawa so she knew all the great places to go that only the locals would know, she took us to this ice cream place called Sweet Jesus. It most definitely lived up to its name. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

That marks the end of my once in a life time trip to Canada. However going home was made a little sweeter as on the day of my return flight it was torrential rain so the thought of riding in that was abysmal so it wasnt all bad!

Thanks again to Genevieve Whitson for making this trip happen 🙂

Also thanks to my parents and Alan Dalziel Mctimoney Chiropractor as I couldn’t have got there without you guys.

As always thanks to Billy Bilsland Cycles for the amazing race bike and the loan of the bike box.

Missing my team mates and the hosts Brent and Anthony already, hopefully see you next year!

Onto the next one

Thanks for reading,

Ellie

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#Blog16 A long way from home part 1

Firstly I’d like to say a massive thank you to Genevieve Whitson for making this trip possible! As I appreciate more than you could ever know.

I’ve recently returned from the greatest cycling experience of my life so far. As I’m only 17 years old I have not had much experience travelling yet, therefore I had never been outside of Europe, until now.

For the most part of June I have been training and racing in Canada with the Quebec Wheelers International Selection Team. I was staying in a small suburb called Aylmer in Gatineau Quebec which is right at the border to Ottawa Ontario, this was pretty lucky as they speak French in Quebec and my French speaking skills are definitely below par.

I was billeted with the director sportif of the team Brent Atkins and his family along with another rider, who was from New Zealand. A fellow rider from the U.K. was staying next door and a couple more New Zealand natives were staying just a few km away.

In the short two weeks I was there I rode four races, a UCI 1.1, GP Val David road race, a local crit and the infamous Mardi Lachine crit in Montreal.

Grand Prix de Gatineau Elite UCI 1.1 

For those of you that regularly read my posts will know that I have previously done races at this level in the junior ranks in Europe, but let me tell you it was nothing like racing against the professional women.

The race was around 65 miles, the first part of the race was around the Gatineau national Park which was truly stunning scenery with all the lakes and beautiful green vegetation. However it was also mega hilly, which for me in a race is not a good thing…the rest of the race was made up of 6 laps of a pretty much flat loop with a drag up to the finish, since this was a UCI race part of the course was on the motorway, which was pretty cool to ride on without any cars.

Interestingly the race was at 5pm, I had never ridden a race that late in the day before but it played into my favour as being from Scotland racing in the Canadian summer heat is not exactly ideal. Also with the race being a bit later it meant that people could come out to watch as it was on a Thursday, so most people had been at their real jobs during the day.

The conclusions from the team meeting were, myself and two other riders were to try make it over the hills the best we could with help from our more goat like teammates, if breakaways go in the Gatineau Park then make sure we have a rider in them, let the big teams do the work and if it came down to a sprint finish then we would be working for me. This was a pretty big surprise for me as I was the only junior in the team and was a real confidence boost that I needed.

Usually this race panned out like this, there would be a few attacks in the Park, nothing major and they would be reeled in on the flat circuit before the finish and it would be down to a bunch sprint. However this was not the case this time.

On the first lap on the main climb in the Park I had positioned myself on the front line of the peloton as nothing really testing had happened in the race up until this point so I had a strong ominous feeling that it was about to go down on this climb, and sure enough it did. Almost simultaneously the three main big teams at the race, United Health Care, Rally and Tibco all swarmed to the front of the peloton alongside me and it was almost as if a grenade had gone off in the bunch as the strong riders emerged at the front leaving the total carnage behind them as riders were getting spat faster than you could count.

Normally starting a climb on the front row of a 80+ rider field would give me sufficient siding room. Not this time. It was as if I had stopped in the middle of the rode compared to the speed that these professional women danced up this climb. It was so fast that I watched pure climbers get shelled out the back. That was when I realised I had no chance.

After a quick trip through the convoy I managed to regain touch with the race on the descent. By now the main peloton was the third group on the road as there was a small group of riders away and then a reduced peloton chasing and then my group which was the largest on the road and behind me was many groups of 3/4 riders and solos. Luckily I had three riders from my team in this group with me and another two of our riders were in the reduced peloton ahead.

Unfortunately though nobody other than me and my teammates were interested in trying to catch the group in front as we still had another lap of the hilly circuit. Therefore the other riders were solely focusing on getting round and eventually hopelessly tried to chase on the flat circuit but of course by this time the gap was impossible to close.

Even though the result was pretty frustrating I still really enjoyed getting to do a race of that caliber and I learned some valuable lessons from it and came away unscaved unlike my teammate who unfortunately crashed on the last corner of the final lap as the roads became greasy as it was beginning to rain. Thankfully she was okay just some sore ribs and a broken wheel.

After the race I overheard an United Health Care rider being interviewed where she explained that this was the hardest edition of this race she had ever done. Pretty chuffed to say I finished it and glad that even the pros thought that the pace they went up the big climb was mental.

GP Val David ~ Montreal 

I was feeling confident for this race, I had been in Canada for a week so was totally over the jet lag and had adjusted to the weather. The fire was definitely in my belly after disappointment earlier in the week.

This race was in Montreal which was two and a half hours away from where we were staying and after a slight miss calculation we ended up arriving at the race a mere 20 mins before the start. Due to the long journey to the race nobody in the team was in their chamois so we had to sign on, get changed, pin our nmbers on and warm up in 20 minutes. With no surprise my warm up ended up being a solid 7 minutes on the rollers and a 30 second ride to the start line.

Remember that confidence I was talking about before? Yes, well that was completely out of the window now.

Surprisingly however this was my best result of the trip, second place! Not quite the chicken dinner I know, but when you consider I was racing against elite women and I’m still only a junior its not too shabby.

The race wasnt all plain sailing though.

The course was 6 laps of a pretty rolling circuit with one main steep step like climb and a steep hill-top finish. As a result of the severe lack of warm up the girls and I were all really feeling it up the main climb on  the first lap. Especially since the pace was being set very high by another team to shell out the choppers. I don’t know about the others,  but my legs were screaming and there was no way I thought I could do this six times.

I seemed to have went from one extreme to the other as on lap two I found myself counter attacking over the top of the main climb and managing to get a gap with another two girls Despite the efforts from my team mates to block and stall the bunch, it only stayed away for about half a lap as all the other riders were still feeling pretty fresh as it was still a bit early in the race.

On the bright side, with three laps to go one of my team mates attacked and managed to get a substantial gap as a solo rider! and stayed away until a lap and a half to go. I must admit that I took some pleasure in disrupting the chasers, to the point that another rider actually tried to slyly push me off the road so she could get past…she failed.

As usual a flurry of constant last-minute attacks happened in the last lap but none of them were successful. The final run in was pretty technical, as you weaved through the town and  then up to the finish. Luckily I managed to stay upright. It was all going well one of my team mates was leading me into the bottom of the finish climb and she dropped me off just at the right moment but after a tussle of bars with another rider I lost some positions but a late surge saw me get second on the line. A little annoying as I could smell that win right underneath my nose but I really enjoyed myself and got lots of great experience. I’m pretty happy to say the least.

It was really refreshing to go to a new place to race where nobody marks you and not knowing who to watch out for really keeps you on your toes when you’re racing and of course getting to meet lots of new wonderful people!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Brent Atkins and Anthony Prior for being amazing team managers, drivers, soigneurs, tour guides…you guys really did it all! The trip wouldn’t have been the same without you guys and I’m really glad to have met you both.

Also a special thanks to Brent for putting up with me living in your house for two weeks. It is very much appreciated.

I’d also like to thank my parents for everything that you’ve done for me as I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without you guys.

Massive thank you to Billy Bilsland cycles for supply and prepping my bike for the trip and the loan of the bike box.

Also I’d like to thank Allan Dalziel Mctimoney Chiropractor for the financial support, as I couldn’t have gone on this amazing experience without your help

Finally again thank you to Genevieve Whitson for putting me in contact with these amazing Canadians!

Part two of the blog will be out soon, covering the Mardi Lachine criterium and sight-seeing in Ottawa.

Stay tuned,

As always thanks for reading,

Ellie

#Blog 15 Triple Champion

For the first time in 4 years I have managed to have an uninterrupted winter block of training, well from injury anyways, I did still manage to get ill. however it was the best winter I’ve had in a long time and  it definitely paid off.

One of my major goals for the 2018 season was to win as many Scottish championship titles as  I could across road and time trial, so far I’ve got 3.

CTT Scottish 10 mile TT championships

The first of the championships was held at the end of April at the west ferry course which is luckily only about 30 mins from my house. although it wasnt as much of an easy run in as you’d think as I had the opening round of the Scottish national women’s road race series the day before which was up north in Aberdeen which is a healthy three hours away from my house and to make things that wee bit more difficult it was a one day stage race therefore it was a very long day with a late finish meaning i got back home less than 12 hours before my start time for the tt the next day which was just after 8am.

Race day

5:45am wake up call followed by my favourite race prep food, nutella porridge, made the early start a little bit more bearable…with emphasis on the little.

My legs were feeling pretty heavy from the day before so I knew that it was going to be extra tough to smash out a good time. With it being a championship race there is always that extra bit of motivation which seemed to get me through.

Even though it wasnt a new PB or anything I was still fastest on the day and that’s all that matters, even with having to stop at the first roundabout for a car to pass and having sore legs. That is what truly made the victory sweet.

Id like to say thank you to the Glasgow Nightingale cycling club for putting on such a well run event, I really enjoyed it!

Scottish National 10 mile time trial championships

For 2018 the championships were held in true Scottish time trial territory way up north in Invergordon, the furthest north ive ever been! felt stage driving 4 hours for a race and it was in Scotland.

The course was pretty a classic out and back on the A9. The weather however made it pretty challenging  since the out leg was longer than the return leg and of course just with my luck it was a 20kmph head wind for the long outward leg. Therefore resulting in one of my worst 10 mile tt times ever! at first I was so disappointed in myself and really thought id blew it but when I got back to the strip and saw the times I was shocked to see that I had taken the win. it was only then I realised how brutal the weather was.

My dad and I were pretty gutted that it wasnt a nicer day since we came such a long way and it was currently 9:30 in the morning and I had finished racing.

But hey ho it was well worth it, another championship under the belt.

A quick stop at Fort William down hill world cup track on the way home was pretty cool though.

Again thanks to the organisers for putting on such a great event.

Scottish National Road race championships

When it was announced that the junior national road race championships were going to be held in Lanark just 40 mins from my house and I had a podium on this course the year before I was pretty excited.

Race day

It was looking to be a pretty overcast and cold day on the bike…untill the race started and as if by magic all the clouds cleared and the sun beamed down on us, i even had to take my arm warmers off in Scotland.

The race began and so did the carnage. Crash in the neutral section and then as soon as the car pulled of and the race was truly underway we turned onto this mud road and it looked as if we had all done a cyclocross race and this was all within the first 5 miles.

After that however the racing was pretty negative. I and a few other riders tried many attacks but the other big names in the bunch would just chase us down then sit up and ride round at cafe pace. Very frustrating. Still at least it was sunny.

Inevitably the race came down to a bunch sprint and I was being targeted by a group of women to stop me getting onto the favourites wheel and after I got myself out of the box three times on the fourth the favourite launched her sprint just as they got me so i got my elbows out and pushed my way through. I made up some serious ground but after it was a headwind uphill finish so after being exposed for so long it just wasnt enough.

On the other hand I did still win the National Junior champs and managed to still get a podium in the women’s so wasnt exactly a bad day out.

After all I did realise that my front brake was locked on after the finish. so that put my confidence up a bit! and it was pretty cool to have people deliberately having to box me in order to beat me.

All in all a great day was had, a win and the tan lines were topped up so what more do you want.

A big thanks to East Kilbride road club and most of all Sean Gordon for putting on such a great event.

Sadly I couldn’t make it four titles after not being able to make it to the crit champs to defend my title from last season at the weekend but happy that it went to one of my team mates!

Massive thanks to my dad for taking me to the races and as always thanks to Billy Bilsland cycles for the awesome race kit.

Next stop Canada for some more bike racing!

Thanks for reading,

Ellie

#Blog14 Velocity 44 stage race 2018

The opening round of the 2018 Scottish National women’s road race series kick started in Aberdeenshire with a one day stage race containing a prologue in the morning and a road race in the afternoon.

My dad and I along with my team-mate Abby travelled up the day before hoping to have a recce of the two stages. However for once the weather was actually better in East Kilbride than it was up north so unfortunately our pre race ride turned into a hotel car park roller session. Never the less I was itching to get back racing after struggling with illness meant I missed out on the British Junior series.

Stage 1 Prologue 

The race manual deceptively suggested that the 3 mile prologue was on a slight gradual gradient for the majority of the stage so I decided to bring my TT bike for that extra advantage but when we got there it was clear it was going to be much harder than I previously thought! therefore the TT bike idea was very quickly out of the window

I was one of the last riders off so I had plenty of time in the morning to watch the starter to see what his style was and assess how long the effort was going to be and of course identify the wind direction.

I gathered that the effort was going to be around 6-8 minutes long, so basically flat-out, and that the holder was pretty decent.

Possibly thee hardest prologue ive ever done! With no surprise it turns out riding around IOM promenade for a minute is pretty easy compared to the Northern roads of Scotland.

When I crossed the line i was seeing stars and couldn’t catch my breath, to be honest I don’t know if it was from the effort or from my raging hayfever…probably a bit of both.

Happy to be sitting top junior and a top ten overall after stage 1, I knew it was going to be a challenge to be up there with the top women in a TT on my restricted gears.

Stage 2 – Road race

After some much-needed rice pudding and jelly babies I began preparing for stage 2.

The course was about 7 miles of rolling roads with a super fun technical descent and a hilly finish, not forgetting the amazing views. I was feeling confident going into the race as I knew this course suited me quite well.

After an amazingly last-minute gear check from the comms just as we were all about to roll out, made better by them somehow managing to measure the distance wrong so every single junior failed. Luckily they realised it was their error and not ours and we were allowed to start.

Straight from the off attacks were pinging off the front from some of the top contenders fortunately for me I had  got my bunch positioning down to a T never leaving the top ten wheels of the bunch for the whole race, apart from the attacks I was in.

Despite many efforts none of the attacks stayed away however with one lap to go their was a split in the peloton leaving myself as the only junior in a select group of women. It all came back together for a brief few seconds before the final attack came up the final climb where me and two other women got away.

unfortunately I let my head get the better of my legs and looked over my shoulder instead of fully committing which cost me the win and left me with a third place. At first I was disappointed but in actual fact I gave the race everything I had I was totally spent at the end and truly had nothing left. Perhaps the hardest ive ever gone on my bike which is all I can ask of myself.

Besides now I have the confidence restored in my head and ill be gunning for them at the next round, and I cant wait!

Also the team managed to bag the team qualification!

As always thanks to my wonderful Dad for driving me around the country for all the races as I really couldn’t fo it without you, means a lot.

Again Billy Bilsland cycles excelled themselves as my bike rode like a dream with no issues.

Finally a big thanks to Velocity 44 and Scottish cycling for putting on such a great event, I will definitely be back.

Thanks for reading,

Ellie.

#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

#Blog11 The Gifford RR/New Team kit

First of all, sorry I have not posted much recently. Unfortunately both my team launch and the Mad March TT were cancelled due to the Beast from the east, so I simply had nothing to post about.

Luckily this race was a little closer to home being only an hour away in Edinburgh compared to my last race, the velo29 crit, which was 3 hours away. Scotland definitely lived up to its expectations on the weather front! Driving rain and wind made for a freezing, yet interesting race. Although this was an improvement from the relentless snow storms we had all suffered the week before, so I can’t really complain.

On the bright side, I got to race in my brand spanking 2018 Team 22 race kit!

Now onto the race. A total of 41 miles, five laps round a rolling circuit with an uphill finish which meant the seniors had no advantage with their 11/12 up cassettes. An ideal first season race and the course suited me pretty well and being from the west I know all about riding in the rain.

In order to ward off the elements I opted for;  mesh base layer, short-sleeved gabba, team 22 jersey, nanoflex arm and knee warmers, aero overshoes and finally nanoflex gloves. Seems like a lot to be wearing in a race, if you were there then you would understand.

Typical manic neutral section, car sped off at 30mph dropped the peloton, car eventually slowed down, car slammed on the brakes multiple times nearly making all the riders crash. You’ve got to love it.

The flag dropped and I had managed to hold third wheel in the group and im glad I did, because the next 5 minutes were brutal. Thankfully the pace dropped and the rest of the first lap was a fairly easy tempo with nobody really contesting the QOM as we had such a long way to go. Still I hadn’t dropped out of the top ten of the bunch not even for a second as I knew since the race was pretty short sooner or later it was all going to kick off.

BOOM. Second lap up the main climb the race split to pieces. A small select group formed from what was a savage attack from the one and only Jane Barr. I just put my head down and pedaled my heart out till the descent. Only then could I look around and assess who had made the cut.

Eight of us were now away and fully committed and putting out a good pace all working together. Then about three laps in just as we were rolling over one of the more minor climbs on the circuit the junior and 3/4 men’s race break away caught our group. I managed to follow Amy Gornal and Jane Barr onto the back of them which put a gap between us and the rest of the girls, but that didn’t last very long.

I had made the inexcusable mistake of under fuelling myself. Since this was my first road race of the season I was a little rusty with my eating strategy. As the race was only short I stupidly thought I could survive on gels. Well I was wrong. With the cold weather and pace of the race, this was just simply not enough food. I was very angry at myself as looking back this was pretty obvious, but hey we live and learn. Safe to say I will not be making that mistake again. All I can say is that im glad it happened now, this early in the season, and not during one of my top goals.

I dropped back and manged to stay in the select group of eight untill all hell broke loose when the junior and 3/4 mens main peloton caught us. As the race went I was getting weaker and weaker instead of stronger and stronger so when we hit the main climb I was gone. Left to ride on my lonesome for half a lap before some of the other junior girls within a group of spat 3/4s caught me and I manged to ride till the end with them.

Finishing 8th over all and 4th junior in my first road race of the season isn’t exactly all bad. Considering if I had been in the form I was this time last year I definitely wouldn’t have had such a great first half of a race, so really happy with that and cant wait to see what the rest of the season brings.

I knew I had more in my legs but there is nobody to blame but myself for that. However this has given me some extra drive for the next race.

Big thanks to my Dad for driving me there and to Billy Bilsland cycles for the amazing Mavic race wheels and the gazebo…its was much-needed.

Also big thanks to jimmy mach at Whats Your Meta for all your support.

thanks for reading,

Ellie

#blog10 First race of 2018

Just like last year my first race of the season was the Velo 29 criterium at Croft racing circuit in Darlington.

The day started with a 6:30am alarm. As it was race day I was straight up and out of bed, on any other day it is a very different story…

My dad and I began the three-hour drive down at 7am, so actually not that early, but still. My breakfast of choice was porridge as always before a race. Although in a slightly different form…👌🏼

When we finally arrived at the circuit I immediately knew it was not going to be shorts and jersey weather. Being from Scotland it wasnt that much of a big deal but its safe to say I am definitely missing the warm weather in spain.

The circuit at Croft is a little long for a crit at 2 miles but it is one of my favourite crit courses as it always makes for an interesting race with its many sharp corners and s-bend into the home straight and more often than not it will be blowing a gale.

On the day the winds were 15 mph, with a headwind on the home straight, I knew this would make an interesting race. The wind further played into my hands as this was a women’s race therefore my restricted gears would not be a disadvantage in the final sprint.

As soon as the race began a split of me and two other girls formed but due to the conditions we were brought back about a mile in. Splits continued to form for the first 5 laps but they were all brief as the wind was too powerful for anything to last.

The final two laps were a game of cat and mouse until the last half lap where it turned into a bun fight. After my elbows were sharpened from racing a UCI in Holland last year, I was able to hold third wheel despite many barges from other riders.

This was the first time in years that I was coming into the final few hundred meters of a race and I was saying to myself, I could really win this here, and I did!

After a long hard 3 years riddled with lots and lots of injuries I finally got my hands in the air again. Ah how I’ve missed that feeling.

Yes this may not be a championship race but for me this is one of my favourite race wins since I started cycling over 10 years ago. All the hard work is finally starting to pay off and all the bad luck has finally subsided and I am coming back stronger than ever.

I’m glad that part of my career is over and I managed to get through it. I am now looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.

I can’t thank James McCallum at Whats your M.E.T.A cycle coaching enough for bringing me out of a really dark place and helping me back up to where I am now and not letting me give up.

Also a massive thanks to Billy Bilsland Cycles for my pre season bike check to ensure everything was running smoothly and for the amazing new super feet insoles that were on point!

And of course a big thanks to my dad for driving me around for 6 hours, couldn’t do it without you.

I’m glad that part of my career is over and I am now looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.

Now onto the team launch this Saturday and the Mad March TT on Sunday!

📷 Gary Enever

Thanks for reading,

Ellie,

Team 22

Whats Your M.E.T.A

#Blog8 Winter training – Cyclocross

Over the winter I have opted not to endeavour in Track cycling despite living a mere 20 minutes from my local velodrome. Instead I have decided to partake in the wonderful winter sport that is cyclocross.

Round 1 – Callander Park Falkirk

Unfortunately I was suffering from the aftermath of a throat infection for this race and I had just taken my annual end of season break from cycling. However I decided to ride the race anyways as it didn’t really matter what the outcome was as its only winter, but a race is a race so it isn’t always that simple to think that way once you’re in the race.

Despite going into the race with low expectations I still managed to bag a podium. However during the race It was safe to say I was dying. Luckily the course was a mud bath which meant that I could use my technical skills to keep in front and pass riders because I was definitely not using my fitness!

Due to my low-level of fitness from lack of training the first half of the course I really struggles as it was tarmac and then a windy uphill, so this was where I was distanced but I managed to catch up when the course got tight twisty and technical, where most people were slipping and sliding I was motoring through and trying to get the biggest gap I could for the uphill.

In the end it came down to a sprint for 2nd place and evidently I lost. Still a great day on the bike considering the circumstances and It was great fun!

Thanks to David Lines for putting on a great event with a great course

Round 2 – Irvine Beach 

Ah the infamous Irvine beach course. As ever the sand was a nightmare for most yet the traditional Scottish weather was not, more like tropical for this round of the series. The warm, dry and dusty conditions made for a very fast and interesting race.

At the start I made the mistake of trying to hang on to a couple of ex pro road racers and about half a lap in I blew. Considering this race was only one week after the frist I should have been more smart and realised that training does not happen over night.

On the bright side I only slipped in the sand once and managed to pick off riders right u to the end which resulted in a respectable 4th for me, as an extra bonus I was able to beat some of the people who beat me the week before, yas.

Thanks to Walkers Cycling Club for putting on an outstanding race

Round 4 – Lochore Meadows

Unfortunately I missed round three as I was on holiday in sunny Turkey as part of my end of season break.

This round was by far my favourite of the series and was the best I felt form wise in the series aswell. The conditions were icy but by the end of the race the course began to become muddy which meant for some interesting racing.

After having a poor start and missing the split I begun to find my rhythm and managed to move my way up to third place and hold it till the end of the race comfortably which I hadn’t been able to do before.

There was a lot of criticism regarding the course at Lochore but in my opinion i thought it was great as much as there was no steep ups or steep downs i found the course was very interesting with some stairs to run up and technical tight corners aswell as some pretty massive hurdles, well massive for me only being 5 ft 1, and of course the infamous Lochore spiral which seemed bigger than ever.

Big thanks to the organisers for putting on such an amazing event!

Round 5 – Knockburn Loch ( National Championships)

Firstly a big thanks to the guys at Billy Bilsland cycles for lending me a sweet demo Kysrium Elite UST wheel set to ride from Mavic. They ran super smooth.

However despite some awesome kit today wasnt what I would have hoped for, even though I was only riding the cyclocross series as training its hard not to want the results, never the less i still finished the race in third place.

The conditions were very muddy, despite the course being covered in snow just one day prior to the race and freezing cold. I think that was my issue, I let myself get too cold before the start of the race therefor meaning that I felt very stiff and just generally rubbish for the first half of the race which mean I was distance by the leading riders at the beginning.

For the majority of the race I really wanted to quit my legs were screaming at me even though I felt like I wasn’t going very fast, I felt like I had nothing in my legs at all and it was frustrating me massively.

Although after driving three hours to get to the event and with the fear of letting people down I kept going and im glad i did.

Somehow the race timing was messed up and our race ended up being an hour-long instead of 40 minutes but that actually played into my favour. In those last 20 mins I started to come into my own and began to catch the rider in third place and in the last half lap I managed to overtake her and just hold on to the finish line.

This race was by far the hardest for me out of the series, it just wasn’t my day in the saddle but still enjoyed sliding around in the mud and sand to some extent.

Massive thank you to Deside Thistle and the Pryde family for running a really great race for another year.

That marks the end of the cyclocross season for me and the end of the 2017 race season. I have learnt a lot this year and enjoyed finally being out of the youth ranks and getting stuck into some racing on the open roads.

I would like to say a big thank you to my family for helping me get to races and with some of the funf=ding as I couldn’t do it with out you.

I would also like to thank my sponsors, Billy Bilsland Cycles for all the support with equipment and funds and also Sports aid for helping me with the funds for racing.

Finally I would like to say thank you to Colin Batchelor for being a great team manager at Team 22 and I cannot wait for next year.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Photos from Isabel Mcgorum, Barry Primrose, Paul Noble

#blog7 Arctic race of Norway

 

Last week I travelled to Tromso (Norway) in the Arctic Circle with Scottish cycling North East for an international bike race, incredible.

On the 10th of August the journey began at Aberdeen Airport at 4am…then to Amsterdam…then to Oslo and then finally we arrived in Tromso that evening. The team and I managed to get our bikes built and get out for an easy spin to loosen the legs off after the 3 flights!

Although the roads in Norway are not quite the flawlessly smooth jet black tarmac you would find in Spain the views were simply stunning. The snow dusted hills, glassy waters and unbelievable sunsets the place was utter bliss.


The following day we went for a course recon in the morning before going to a seminar with Thor  Hushovd and carrying out our final preparations for race day on Sunday.

Fortunately the course really suited my strengths, a hill that was challenging enough to split up the field yet not quite something of a mountain pass followed by a fast technical descent and an agonising uphill drag to the finish. The junior female race would tackle this circuit 9 times (shortened from 10 due to  tight schedule with the elite mens) Making the race roughly 40 miles.

Finally Race day,

As the pro’s race began just before the junior female’s we had plentiful crowds which was awesome!

The first half lap was neutralised however even though the race hasn’t officiallly started the neutral is just as nerve racking and chaotic as the sprint finish as everybody is trying to move up and get to the front.

Further as this was an international race there was no holding back from any riders and it was a total bunfight compared to the somewhat relaxed British races, luckily I managed to hold my place in the front even though I was one of the smallest riders in the field. This was heaps better than my first international race back in April

Read about my trip to Holland here —  http://wp.me/p8CxLN-54
The race kicked off as soon as the flag was pulled into the lead car. With attacks everywhere and crashes causing splits.

6laps to go I attacked from a select group only to be caught the next lap then to be countered by my Scottish team mate Jenny Holl who was followed by 5 other riders. This would be the race winning attack.

I spent the remainder of the race closing down any desperate late escapees and disrupting the peloton chase. Unfortunately my other team mate suffered an unforuanate machanical and the other was further back in the race so I was left to do this on my own.

In the end Jenny ended up finishing 2nd in a close sprint finish and myself 20th in a close bunch sprint, I made my move slightly early on the uphill headwind finish so unfortunately was rolled on the line by a few people but never the less I was happy with my result and can’t wait to go back next year!

I would like to say a massive thankyou to Scottish cycling for the opportunity and as always Billy Bilsland Cycles for keeping my bike in top shape for the race !

Thanks for reading!
 

#blog6 Early July update 

I apologise that I haven’t posted anything in a while, however I have recently raced closed to home in the Scottish National RR series and down south in the Bourne Wheelers Junior RR
Scottish RR series – Mortage Hub Trophy 

On a typical Scottish Summer day, which was especially windy, we set off for a 50mile road race in the hills of Lanark.

The strong winds caused the race to blow apart a mere 5 miles into the race. A break away of two formed a couple of miles after the enitial split.

Due to the adverse weather conditions I felt that it was too soon to make my move and stayed in the group and let the break go thinking it would come back.

I had a teammate in the chasing group with me so her and I and a couple of others managed to hold the gap at around one minute for the majority of the race.

Unfortunately due to a lot of negative riding in the group in the last 10 miles meant that the break stayed away.

At this point I quickly changed my aim for the race from going for the win to winning the bunch kick for third. As this was a junior and senior women’s race I would normally struggle to win a flat finish as of my restricted junior gears. Luckily the finish was a slight uphill and into a head wind which effectively played to my strengths.

I used the terrain to my advantage and convincingly won the bunch sprint for third. Helped by a lead out from my team mate.


Even though it wasn’t a win I was very happy with my result as this was the best I have felt in a long time since my unfortunate injury at the beginning of the year.
Bourne Wheelers Junior RR 

Since I was in the midlands it was somewhat different weather to Scotland…I came back like a tomato.

Another 50 mile race was on the cards. This race was action packed from the start, attacks were flying the whole race and constant pace changes and crashes it was totally manic but so much fun!

Luckily for me I missed all the crashes, for the people who know me personally will understand that this is an achievement for me…

A-midst all the chaos I managed to score third place in one of the QOM sprints.

The race calmed down with 1.5laps to go and everyone began to look at each other but of course the last feed was as mental as usual and unfortunately I missed my gel due to riders getting in the way. However I Managed to get one from of my team mates.

I was glad I got this as I definetly needed it. The last lap of the race went back to chaos for the first half then with 3 miles to go the race winning attack went which was a solo attack by my team mate. Therefore the job from me and the rest of the girls was to block the peloton as much as we could. The Liv Epic team put up a good fight but it wasn’t quite enough and our team managed to bag the win!

Even though I had not got my hands in the air myself the satisfaction of the team work paying off was just as good.

This was my favourite race of the year by far! So happy for the team to get its first win of the year.

Roll on the British Road Race Championships tomorrow.

I’d like to thank my dad for getting me to the races as always and Colin Batchilor for being an amewsome team manager ✌🏼

Also Sports Aid for allowing me to have the finances to make the trip possible

And of course Billy Bilsland Cycles for all the help and especially the new Fizik shoes to ride in, they were bliss.


Thanks for reading!

Ellie