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 3

Today I woke and thought ‘how lovely, I only have one race to do’. Before then groaning and trying to do as much packing/cooking/cleaning of teeth as I could from a sitting position.

Today was the final day of the Bedford 3 Day. See Day 1 and Day 2 for previous context/info. Stage 5 was a final RR of 76km, a rolling course, with a couple of sharp hills, the sharpest being Sunderland Hill (8% average, according to Strava), which was just followed by the start/finish line. The peloton of 85 that started on Day 1 was now worn down by accident, illness, and exhaustion, to around 65 or so.

The peloton under the water tower near bedford
Photo by Huw Williams

Yesterday I spent the first hour of the race being furious at choosing to do this ridiculous sport with my free time and limited income ‘why do I spend so much to be this BAD‘ I yelled in my head.

Today the first hour I spent feeling… Weirdly great. My biggest struggle is still positioning – the psychological fortitude to find myself constantly, towards the front of the bunch. But my legs felt strong, they suddenly felt like they were only right while they were pedalling. Walking hurt; pedalling felt like their natural state. “What if I have suddenly found what my body was always meant to do?” whispered my fickle brain. This did begin to wear down – it was another windy day, and it did begin to be harder to chase down the gaps others left as the bunch strung out into echelons (this, by the by, wouldn’t be a problem if I had positioned better), but as I went hard out of the saddle out of corners, my legs felt good. The hill wasn’t even that hard! I think the 7kg I’ve lost over the past 6 weeks is making a BIG difference to my comfort when climbing. I wonder how much I’ve put back on from 3 days of 4,000 calories.

The bunch whittled down over the laps, losing people to the wind as much as the climb, and shed while chasing down a couple of gaps formed after the QOM and Sprint point rushes.Then, suddenly, the final bell rang: I only had to hang on for another lap and then I had finished in the bunch for every stage of my first stage race. So I did. Pushing hard to the line past a couple of people slowing up, probably for somewhere around 30th. My GC standing before the final stage was 35/85, and I suspect I’ve roughly been able to hold onto the top 40. For my first Bedford, I’m pleased with that. [EDIT: I’ve now seen the GC and I was 29 overall! Out of 85 starters, very happy with that :)]

The stage itself was won by Charlotte Broughton from Team Ford Ecoboost, from another decisive sprint, you should probably look at a picture of her rather than me, which is much more glorious.

Charlotte Broughton wins Stage 5 of the Bedford 3 Day
Photo by Huw Williams

And then it was done! A presentation, and a rightful huge round of applause for the lovely Jon Miles, who founded the UK’s oldest women’s stage race, ran it for 25 years, and this year retires. An incredible feat of organisation, perseverance, and care. It was only my first year and I already felt what a warm presence he gave the race, and what a great job of organising. Chapeau, sir.

If you’re after results, all the official stuff will go up soon, no doubt, but in the meantime, I made a quick note of all of the final GC standings while I was at the presentation. Unfortunately I just couldn’t hear one of the names through all the clapping. Sorry number 7! But, anyway, here they are. Huge congrats to you all! I hope to get good enough to be up there next year 🙂

The winners of the QOM, Junior, Sprint and GC
Photo by Huw Williams. L-R, Lauren Humphries, Junior winner, Natasha Reddy, QOM, Amy Hill, GC winner, and Jo Smith, Sprint competition winner.
  1. Amy Hill – Cycle Team on Form
  2. Anna Henderson – Cycle Team on Form
  3. Julia Erskine – Cycle Team on Form
  4. Sian Botteley – Cycle Team on Form
  5. Alicia Speake – Cycle Team on Form
  6. Lucy Harper  – Cycle Team on Form
  7.  Emma Lewis [edit: I couldn’t hear this but Jo Smith kindly told me on Twitter it was Emma Lewis, though she must have been a sub rider, as I can’t find her name on the start sheet, so I’m afraid I don’t know the team!]
  8. Charlotte Broughton – Team Ford EcoBoost
  9. Alice Lethbridge – Lovello Squadra Donne
  10. Tamara Davenne – Team Vision Innovative Leisure


  1. Natasha Reddy – Team Vision Innovative Leisure
  2. Amy Hill – Cycle Team on Form
  3. Corrine Clark – Team Ford EcoBoost


  1. Joanna Smith – BowlPhish Racing
  2. Sian Botteley – Cycle Team on Form
  3. Jenny Corser – Team RGB Building Supplies


  1. Lauren Humphries – Aprire Cycles-HSS Hire
  2. Maddie Gammons – Team Vision Innovative Leisure
  3. 2nd and 3rd was a bit mixed up – they accidentally named 2 seniors, and I didn’t head the corrected results. I’ve since been told 2nd Junior via twitter, if you know who was 3rd, let me know!

Now let’s all curl up and have a sleep.

After the race, someone curled up in a ball in the grass, exhausted
Photo by Huw Williams