Reports from the front line of grassroots women’s racing in the UK from feminist and second cat racer Hannah Nicklin. Let's go! 💪

Castle Combe Easter Classic – 14th April 2017

Photo credit: Huw Williams

I’m not going to do a detailed race report for every race I do, but I am going to use this blog to mark the turning points and the lessons learned as I progress. Castle Combe Easter Classic goes down as the ‘biggest bunch I’ve yet raced in’ with around 60 women on the start line.

It was a very different experience to the typical 20-25 person crits I’m used it, and demanded a whole different level of technique. It was also a fast race, with so many riders of a high calibre always ready to attack and drive the race on (Ford Ecoboost, Liv Awol, Drops, Team On Form and Aprire, to name a few), and a prime halfway to break up the field. Positioning was a lot harder in an aggressive fast based bunch of this size. For the first third of the race I was doing well, but eventually the brutal headwind on the home straight began to straggle the race out, and it became much harder to re-group, and then to find the power to move up in the group, at the same time as attacks and nervous cornerers kept it concertinaing. I kept contact, though, and in the final straight found myself with more energy than expected, and finished in the top 1/3 of the bunch. The aim was to finish in the front group, and I did.

Main takeaway: positioning vs. shelter from the wind. The easiest way to move up in the group was to move up on the side of the wind, as people moved over to shelter from it. This wasn’t really worth it though, as it was so brutal, very little progress was made! Better off taking the slower route of moving up through the centre of the group.