Friday, 3 January 2014

Manx Birds for World Domination!

So I was listening to the regular podcast at http://prowomenscycling.com/ which the brilliantly passionate Sarah and Dan do, my regular Friday night bathtime generally consists of me listening to these two giggle, rant and generally liven up an already fruitful women's pro scene. And (YEAH I'm starting this year with a sentence beginning with and...what are you gonna do about it?) it got me thinking....

Anna - courtesy of Huw Williams
It got me thinking about our domestic scene here in the UK, and more to the point, some of the absolutely stunning racing that goes on around the women's local circuits. Big leagues like CDNW women's league, the SERRL and London Women's leagues to name but a few, all showcase riders at the pinnacle of the domestic scale. So, as a Manx bird going into a big bad world of "proper" racing this season, I thought it only right to celebrate the talent this Island has to show... and more to the point, let the rest of the world know how much of a formidable force not only male, but female Manx riders can be!

So where do I start? Pretty much every lass I've met over here so far has had some success in some form, from doing the Island and Commonwealth games, former pros and just generally brilliant riders of all ages. So I'm going to have to narrow it down to a small handful of those riders, unfortunately!

My first mention you may well have (hopefully!) heard of already and that's Anna Christian. For of those of you that don't know who she is (where have you BEEN!?) she's the current Junior British National Champion, not only this but she's also now ridden in the Junior World Championships and finished very well. So I imagine you've got the idea now? One to watch..

Laura - courtesy of Huw Williams
I've had the pleasure of chatting to Anna both online and briefly in person, and also been able to see her race. Riding with what is now called Scott Epic WRT (http://epicscottwrt.com/ - formerly Scott Contessa Epic) this year, amongst a team full to the brim of high-class talent Anna will surely be at the forefront of the women's scene here in the UK. With the likes of the Women's Tour and National Series to look forward to expect to see a lot of purple in the top standings this year.

My next shout goes out to Laura Wasley who will be transferring from Scott Contessa Epic to Abergavenny WRT (http://www.abergavennyrc.org.uk) this year. As well as being possibly one of the most friendliest cyclists on the Island, Laura was consistently strong across the women's circuit last season, granting her a well deserved place in this years Commonwealth Games for the Island.

Lizzie - courtesy of Huw Williams
A spot with Abergavenny will certainly prove a formidable move, judging from their results last year they're going to be a force to reckoned with this season and I'm really looking forward to seeing Laura smash her way through the UK scene this year! Come on you reds!

Next up is one of our younger talents and that's Lizzie Holden. If you haven't seen her crop up on results sheets yet you probably need your eyes testing. She's already sporting an impressive palmares as a Youth rider and this year moves up into the Junior category where she's sure to make a rather large impact. She'll be riding with RST this season alongside some incredibly strong young ladies some of whom are already making an impact in the CX scene, they're a team to watch this year.

I had the chance to race with (albeit losing her and the rest of the pack within the first lap) Lizzie last weekend and it speaks for itself to see a young lady finish well ahead of most of the boys in the middle of winter. Looking forward to watching this lass get to the top!

Courtesy - Jayne's Twitter! (sorry! x)
My last shout out has to go to one of the cheeriest people I've ever met! The gorgeous Sophie Black. Sophie will be riding with BikePure LeMond Aspire Velotech (phew!) this year (awesome kit, by the way). Some of you may not have seen Sophie's name crop up as much perhaps if you've been following the Crit and Road series' however she's building a rather hefty name for herself on the track side of things.

Another young buck, Sophie again has an impressive palmares on the track, she's certainly made for speed and if you ever get the chance to meet her you'll see that it's not only her fitness that'll get her places - it's her sheer passion and excitement - a true breath of fresh air and I'm looking forward to hearing about her no doubt epic successes in the future!

So there you go, there's a small handful of ladies to watch out for this season. There's an equally brilliant circuit of women, who I've not had the chance to mention, in both MTB and TT here who'd give most men I know a good run for their money. While cycling on the Island is certainly built into the culture, I think it's important to make note separately of the achievements of our women. It's easy to get wrapped up in the glitz of our tour riders and world champions (I mean come on, who wouldn't be proud!?) - but let's not forget the rest, they're a large part of current and future British Cycling and they deserve every bit of attention and respect as any other bloke.

I for one am looking forward to racing with these women in the coming season, both locally and in my new fangled team kit in the UK. It truly is an honour to be part of such a blossoming scene and even more so to be surrounded by such overwhelming talent. Here's hoping I can keep up! More on that soon!

Peace! N.B HUGE thanks to Huw Williams (https://twitter.com/huw_williams1) for providing the bulk of the photos! X

2 comments:

  1. As a NW based youth coach I have watched the rise of Ms Holden and reckon she has a glittering career ahead. Nice piece. Thanks

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    1. Agreed! Fantastic rider, definitely bound to go far! :) Thanks for the comment!

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