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

Race Report: Bedford 3 Day – Day 2

Day 2 of Bedford 3 Day today (see here for more on the race, and Day 1 report). Today was the Team Time Trial of just under 10km, and the longest road race of 80km.

The TTT course was largely flat, with the odd kick, a bit of a descent, and a few short corners. I was much less satisfied with my ride for this than I was the ITT, partly because I just really hate letting a team down, I can reconcile with letting myself down, but when other’s positions are at stake, that’s when I really struggle. We hadn’t ridden together before, and I hadn’t ever ridden a TTT before, I understood the theory of it but I think it will take a couple of goes for me to understand exactly how to judge my efforts on the front. Doing it with 4 practiced track riders was both helpful and made me stand out more as a sore thumb! Time was on 4th rider across the line. We rode the first 2/3 as 5, then one rider had to drop off, and then I was the weakest in the bunch, I persevered but we fragmented about 400m from the line, I did my best to catch up and teamie Emma was great at encouraging me across the line, but at the end I was a bit disappointed. We finished 12th of 17 teams, in the end. Top 5 teams were:

  1. Cycle Team On Form
  2. Les Filles Queen of the Mountain RT
  3. Team Ford EcoBoost
  4. Aprire Cycles-HSS Hire
  5. Lovelo Squadra Donne

Look at the winning faces of Team On Form

Team on form in the Bedford 3 Day TTT 2017
Photo by Huw Williams

Next up was a 3 hour wait for the ‘Queen’s’ stage, the longest stage, a rolling 80km with the occasional kick. There’s something to be said here about how (I am discovering) that stage racing is as much about body management and logistics as it is about actual racing. Basically, when not racing you need to be SITTING (lying down also acceptable) or SPINNING – you can’t let you legs seize up. You need to eat, lots, carbs to replace your energy, protein to repair and recover as quickly as possible. That sounds great, right? Your job is to eat and relax. I have been getting excited about all the carbs I’ve been planning to eat for weeks now; marmite cheese sandwiches, chocolate raisins, hot cross buns with Nutella inside. But it turns out that I’m just not that hungry, the stresses on my body mean that I’m having to basically make myself eat, carefully, not too much, but more than I want to, straight after TTs so I can digest it, and then grazing. Fuelling and rest is made harder too by the logistics of being away from home, of working to other team members’ schedules and transport (I am SO grateful for teamie Emma’s driving me places, by the by.) And also, perhaps obviously, you just get increasingly exhausted, and dippy.

Me wandering around aimlessly with my rollers
Photo by Huw Williams

So yesterday Huw snapped a pic of me just milling for about 5 minutes, unable to work out where to put my rollers, or today, it turns out I didn’t do one of my bottle lids up properly, and without knowing it flew off at some point in the RR, I only found out when I went to drink and ended up tipping sticky energy drink all over me. 👍👍👍

I am very envious of all the teams with DSs filling bottles for them, and erecting great canopies over prime roller sites.

Anyway, to the RR. 80km over a rolling course, with one or two kicks in it. The main player in the race today was the wind, strong, causing the bunch to string out, and making it hard for any losing contact to chase back on. This quickly whittled the bunch down to 20-30 riders, by about lap 2. Rider behaviour was so much better today, something coach Huw said is always the case with Day 2 apparently. I was very grateful for it. The commissarie did have to caution the bunch about riding over the line again, but in general, much calmer.

I was pretty despondent going into stage 4. I felt pretty bad about my legs in the TTT, and didn’t know what to expect. The first hour, honestly, was horrible, bad positioning, with no energy (psychological largely) to move up, I spent the whole time shosting in my head WHY DO I DO THIS, WHY DO I SPEND 10-15 HOURS OF MY WEEK DOING THIS JUST TO BE THIS BAD, etc. But then about an hour in suddenly, I felt like I had my legs again. 90 minutes in, and I actually felt strong! I had to work hard, but it didn’t ever feel out of my grasp, and I finished with the bunch. At this stage, that’s decent.

Ford EcoBoost win stage 4
Photo by Huw Williams

I didn’t have a chance to grab the Sprint and QOM points today, but I did note down the top 5 according to the photos:

  1. Charlotte Broughton – Team Ford EcoBoost (in a very decisive manner!)
  2. one of Team EDCO Continental (sorry, couldn’t work out who!)
  3. Tamara Davenne – Team Vision Innovative Leisure (winner from yesterday’s RR)
  4. Maddie Gammons – Team Vision Innovative Leisure
  5. Anna Henderson – Cycle Team On Form

I think I saw the yellow jersey of Amy Hill (Team On Form) with a mechanical in the last half lap, which was very bad luck. But Cycle Team On Form don’t have too much to worry about, they’re dominating GC.

Tomorrow is the last stage, a 76km RR, with a very steep hill in it. I’m not much of a climber on fresh legs, so we’ll have to see how I go after 2 days of racing…