On 22nd January, Olivia lined up for her first road race of the year at Croft Motor Racing Circuit, organised by Velo29, who Bott and Co headline sponsor.
It was a particularly special first race of the year as Olivia proudly wore her Storey Racing cycling kit. Here, she takes us through the motions of the first race, giving us a taste for what’s to come throughout the rest of 2022.
A Cold Start To 2022 Racing
I’d only raced once before at Croft, at the Duathlon Age-Group Nationals, but going round the circuit in the opposite direction and it was draft illegal so it couldn’t be further from what a crit race is like!
I had planned on racing the first round of the series the week before, but when I got there, my Garmin was reading -4 degrees and there was ice all over the circuit. The race was cancelled so unfortunately, I’d have to wait until RD2.
It felt like a long time ago since I did my first one even though it was only in June 2021! I’ve learnt a lot since then and felt much more at ease going into this race.
My training has been going well; I’ve managed to do the biggest 6 weeks I’ve ever done on the bike in terms of hours and kilometres covered and I’m loving it! I think this is a combination of starting to understand ‘the why’s’ behind the training I’m doing, and also focussing my training on cycling, rather than trying to juggle too much tennis in with it.
I was excited to pin a number back on for a crit and test myself against other riders; it felt like a long time ago since I did my first one even though it was only in June 2021!
I’ve learnt a lot since then and felt much more at ease going into this race. We had 3 other riders from Durham Uni and for one of them, it was her first race. I remember how scared I was at my first race, and I have massive respect for anyone who pushes themselves out of their comfort zone. She reported back that she really enjoyed it and will be going back the next week so I’m hoping it will encourage some of the other women in the University club to give it a go too.
Like everything, it won’t be for everyone, but I think it’s worth trying at least once; you never know, you might love it!
It was great to see so many people there to race and especially women. 6 women raced the 2nd round of Croft in 2020 whereas this year it had over 20 women signed up. The community at these races is so supportive and friendly and it’s great to see it growing.
Tough start but a strong finish
The race started off fast with a lot of attacks going early and so the size of the bunch reduced quickly.
I got in a break of two with the eventual winner but couldn’t hold onto the pace she was setting so returned to the chasing group.
As we went into the final lap, I was trying to position myself the best I could for the sprint, which was made a bit more difficult by the fact that the men’s race had just passed us!
As we began to sprint, I had to manoeuvre round some of the men but I’m happy I managed to hang on to take 3rd.
I stayed to watch the E1234 men’s race after with two DUCC riders in it and then we rode back to Durham together afterwards concluding a really fun day out.
I’m excited for RD3 already, as long as I can get enough work done on my dissertation before then!