Tockwith – Yorkshire Day @ The Races

Saturday 28th April

Race: Yorkshire Day @ The Races

One last race before I really knuckle down with uni work and get this degree out of the way. I chose to enter the local(-ish) race at Tockwith Aerodrome with is about ten miles to the west of York. For me, about 1.5-2 hours by train, and with a student return only costing £12 I thought it was probably worth it.

As usual I had work in the morning, but I had almost an hour at home afterwards to have breakfast and get ready before I needed to be at the station for my 10.47 train.

CrossCountry Sheffield>York

It almost went all wrong from the start. All the trains to Newcastle (the route I needed) were all delayed by an hour or more. Luckily I had an any-time ticket so after lugging my bike around the station after platform change I was able to just hop on which ever train arrived first.

I changed at York for a local service to Cattal which would leave me less than three miles to cycle to the aerodrome.

York Station

It was cold and windy and the roads looked like they had been recently flooded. ‘Road Ahead Closed’ signs were still up, which worried me. but luckily the water had receded and the roads were passable although there was an awful lot of standing water around in the fields. I could make a comment about the ‘drought’ here….

Anyway. I got to the race track. There appeared to be two go-kart tracks and a larger, more open car racing track. There were two portakabins providing basic (if grimy :s) toilets which was better than nothing.

After signing on I met up with Nicola Soden (Maxgear) who was lovely and let me sit her car and hide from the less than pleasant weather.

Here is a photo of me enjoying my lunchtime picnic in her car;

My quality pre-race fuel

The weather seemed to degrade from that point on, not that it had been anything to write home about previously. It was cold and windy and increasingly wetter.

It got round to time to start warming up. Nicola had come in her car so she had her rollers with her and got underway. To be honest I should have manned up and negotiated the long muddy track back out to the road and done a few ups and downs but I guess I didn’t fully acknowledge the necessity of a thorough warm up….I only managed a couple of warm up laps round the track before we gathered at the start line. I wasn’t prepared.

And it’s not like my competitors would be taking it easy either. When I first entered the race online there were maybe three other entrants and although I expected more entrants on the day I wasn’t quite ready for the number that had decided to brave the inclement weather. Also they all looked pretty serious riders too! No weekend warriors that day.

I started at the back, stayed there for a short while and then was unceremoniously dropped. No warm-up meant I (unsurprisingly) was not ready for 30mph race pace :p

However I carried on riding round, hoping to warm into it and maybe catch on the back again when they lapped me. I was cold, tired, poorly fueled and not warmed up – pretty basic mistakes (what a chopper!) and the bunch came past too strong for me. Eventually I started to warm into it but, even though the bunch seemed to have slowed, they sailed passed me for the second time.  I kept going round on my own however, and got some supportive cheering from Claire Rutherford which made me smile.

Here’s a photo from Claire of the last few laps.

Afterwards, in a quick post race chat, Nicola explained to me that I should have accepted I wasn’t warmed up properly when I was dropped and then focused on warming up properly on my own (rather than smashing it) and then jumping on the bunch the next time it came round. That way I would have got a chance to practice at race pace, as the way I did it I just had 40 minute solo effort that I could have done just as well on any other day and didn’t really get much experience of racing done. I will remember this advice for next time.

I then spent a shivery few hours on the trains getting back to Sheffield although I treated myself to a big hot chocolate at York station. It was so lovely – I got marshmallows and cream with it 🙂


I sat by the radiator for a long time when I got home….

In all it was a very tiring day, but it was still only my sixth ever race, so I guess it’s reasonable to expect to get it wrong a few times :p

The next few weeks won’t have much cycling whilst I focus on getting my dissertation done, a couple of essays and get revision under way. The next date in the diary will be the first round of Tour Series – somewhat ambitious!

Ps How do you like the team issue tyres? 🙂

1 Miss Alice Barnes Orbea
2 Miss Brit Tate Dirtwheels Cycles
3 Miss Iona Sewell
4 Mrs Catherine Wiggins Liverpool Mercury (Dolan) CC
5 Miss Lauren Brown Champion System/Maxgear/Kyklos
6 Miss Jessie Walker Matrix Fitness – Prendas
7 Miss Gabriella Shaw For Viored
8 Ms Jessica Learmonth BBM Revolution Cycling Club
9 Mrs Karen Poole Squadra Donne – Shutt VR/Bikefood
10 Miss Vanessa Whitfield VC St Raphael
11 Miss Lauren O’Brien RST Racing Team
12 Miss Alice Grieve Stockton Wheelers CC
13 Mrs Nicola Moore Active/CPCycles RT
14 Miss Racheal Bamford Dirtwheels Cycles
15 Miss Alice Miller Look Mum No Hands
16 Miss Jodie Brumhead Cottingham Coureurs RT
17 Miss Jessica O’Brien RST Racing Team
18 Miss Victoria Hood Team Swift
DNF Miss Claire Rutherford Vivelo-Bikes/Inverse Cyclaim RT

I’m sure there were more riders than this, but they haven’t been listed :s

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