Tuesday 27 April 2010

Crystal Palace: there's always a first time!

As we all know, there's a bit of a learning curve to Palace, but nonetheless it's one of the most exciting and challenging circuits around. Combine that with the friendly atmosphere and sunny weather and there's no better place to spend a Tuesday night. Sorry, Hillingdon!

Emily Bagnall from the Kingston Wheelers enjoyed the league race at Crystal Palace last week, even though it was only her first time racing on the circuit. Sounds like she'll be back for more, and we hope others feel the same! Races go every Tuesday evening at 7:15pm from now until late August, riders of all levels welcome.

Photo courtesy of John Mx of LondonCyleSport

"Enjoyed the race! I started off at the back of the line so had to move up to catch the lead group, the sharp corners mean you have to really sprint the flats and hit the up gradient hard to catch people, but I managed to catch the lead group on the second lap.

I was feeling my efforts at this point, it's a very hard short race and kicks in from the word go, so decided to give everything to stay on the lead bunch. The other riders were also feeling it, everytime we came out of a corner a few would fade from the group a little and it meant double the effort to get back on, then they would grab my back wheel and move in front of me again so it was a bit of a fight to keep on. The last two laps a couple of them fell off the back and just gave up, but I kept my head down and came in just behind the leaders.

Crystal Palace is a really nice place to meet and race, the setting and atmosphere are great, and I really liked the tight corners. No loos or water point though so be prepared. Entry costs £10 cash. I must say it's even a nice setting to cheer others on, sit on the grass and not even race yourself!"

Saturday 24 April 2010

May races -- enter now!

May is quickly approaching and with it two of the more unique races in our league calendar: the Hillingdon Grand Prix on May 16 and the South East Regional Road Race Championships on May 22. The former is one of the few opportunities to ride a women's-only race on the testosterone-dominated Hillingdon circuit; the latter is one of only two women's open road races held in the London area this season.

Despite the British Cycling calendar proclaiming that EOL (entry on the line, or on the day) is available for both these races, it's often a good idea to enter these events in advance as the organisers like to put together a pre-race programme containing the names of all the riders plus other essential info. And as Stuart Benstead of the Hillingdon GP has so gently reminded us, entering in advance shows our support for the hard-working organisers and encourages them to keep running these events for us.

So with that said, get busy and get entering! Print off a BC road race entry form, fill it out with the relevant information (don't worry about writing down your recent results, just the basic info will do) and get your chequebook ready.

For the Hillingdon GP, make the cheque for £15 payable to BC West Thames Productions and mail it with your entry form to:
Mr Stuart Benstead
1 Brackendale Close

For the South East RR Champs, make the cheque for £14 payable to British Cycling South East Region and mail it with your entry form to:
Mr Simon Mitchell
23 Fulford Road
KT19 9QZ

For a report of last year's Hillingdon GP, check out the BC site. For more information on last year's SE RR Champs, see the South East Cycling site.

Note: This race is open to women racers from all regions and all riders are eligible for BC points, however only South East based riders are eligble for the title of South East Champion. In this race a rider's region is based on where she lives rather than where her club is based.

Friday 23 April 2010

Crystal Palace results

1 Maryka Sennema Kingston Whlrs 2
2 Claire Beaumont Rapha/Condor 2 @ 1 sec
3 Emma Patterson London Dynamo 2 @ 4 secs
4 Elise Sherwell Pearson Cycles 3 @ 6 secs
5 Mathilde Pauls Pearson Cycles 3
6 Emily Bagnall Kingston Whlrs 3
7 Tracy Corbett Rapha Condor 3
8 Emily Barnes Palmer Pk Velo Y
9 Lauren Whitmore London Dynamo 4 @ 1.25
10 Anna Glowinski Mule Bar Girls 4 @ 55 secs
11 Dyanne Holland Dulwich Paragon 4
12 Emma Craddock Southdown Bikes -
13 Sabine Homrighausen Kingston Whlrs 4
14 Astrid Wingler London Phoenix 3 @ 1 lap
15 Vikki Filsell Pearson Cycles 4
16 Kate Butler Dulwich Paragon 4
17 Liz Rice London Phoenix 3
18 Lydia Bolan London Dynamo 4
19 Bridget Malarkey Addiscombe CC 4
20 Rebecca Charlton Mulebar Girls 2
DNF Maria David Dulwich Paragon

And there's a write-up of the race on LondonCycleSport with a full gallery of pics too.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Record women's turnout at Crystal Palace

Last night's Crystal Palace races saw 21 women on the start line, and some great racing on the twisty, fun park circuit.

Elise Sherwell won the AnaNichoola prize by retaining her league-leading position after coming in 4th place, in a race which saw a very close sprint finish from the lead women coinciding with the men's 3/4 group crossing the line.

Our picture, courtesy of LondonCycleSport, shows from left-to-right: London Dynamo's Emma Patterson, who came third on the night; race winner Maryka Sennema from Kingston Wheelers; second place Clare Beaumont of Rapha Condor; Lewin Chalkley from league sponsors look mum no hands!; and Pearson's Elise Sherwell in the LWCR leader's jersey.

Full results, updated rankings and a race report to follow soon.

Friday 16 April 2010

Race Entry News

1. Crystal Palace Circuits - 20th April - LWCR Round 3. You can ride to Crystal Palace Park from the City/West End in around 40-45 mins. The Park is accessed by going part way down Anerley Hill and taking the first left. Crystal Palace train station is also off Anerley Hill, on the edge of the Park. Very handy for getting back home. Services to London Bridge, London Victoria (via Clapham Junction), Croydon, Sutton/Epsom.

2. More racing at Hog Hill - if you enjoyed last week's race there's more on offer!
Tomorrow is the Eagle Road Club Crits - 2.15pm at Hog Hill. Entry on the day only - £12. Hour long race.
Saturday 1st May - ECCA Festival - 12.00pm at Hog Hill. £12 adv/ £15 eol. 32km

3. Smithfield Nocturne - 19th June - LWCR Round 9. Entries for this are now open. This is a great night of racing in the heart of London. All the cycling community come out and watch the packed programme of racing. Lots of people cheering you on from the pubs as well. Anyone who went to this last year will remember what a great time they had, and this year promises to be just as exciting. Sign up here. Preference is given to early entrants. Entry limit of 50 riders.

Thursday 15 April 2010

What's Palace Like?

Crystal Palace is one of the most well known of the London circuits, and possibly the oldest, with cycle racing having taken place there as far back as 1937. Circuits used in the past were on the full perimeter of the old 2-mile motor racing track.

In the modern era, the cycle circuit covers a 0.8-kilometre loop in the upper section of Crystal Palace Park. Its notorious dead turn known as “willow tree corner”, the sweeping bend at the bottom of the descent, and the drag back up to the finishing straight make this course a real adrenaline ride. Handy hint - on the sweeping bend at the bottom of the descent, look through the bush on the left, rather than down the banking on the right! Every Tuesday, while at work, racers of all levels are filled with a mixture of dread and excitement in the hours running up to the evening blast around the Palace.
After the race, people are buzzing after what will have been the best work-out of the week. In short, Crystal Palace is exciting!

It’s also a great place for spectators. The pleasant parkland surroundings allow people to sit on the grass and picnic while watching the riders whizz round no fewer than 30 times. It’s also a convenient weekly meeting point for the London cycling community.

Dulwich Paragon rider Karen Price, gives her thoughts on racing at Crystal Palace:

"It’s a love-hate relationship that I have with Crystal Palace. When I'm riding well I love that tough small twisting circuit. I love flying into the corners, braking as late as possible and then sprinting out but as it's such a small circuit, there's little time to recover and that hill always finds me out if I'm not as fit as I should be.

The trick with willow tree corner is to brake as late as possible going into
the corner, take the outside line and cut the apex. You'll probably be in
high gear before the corner as its at the end of the flat finishing straight
so remember to change down a couple of gears so that its possible to sprint
out of the corner.

Best of all, the Palace circuit is very close to where I live, and to the Dulwich Woodhouse which serves the best recovery drink of Double Chocolate Stout!"

We are pleased to announce that Ananichoola will be offering a goody bag to the highest placed league rider at the round 3 race at Crystal Palace on April 20th. It will be a well earned prize!

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Battle of the Hoggenberg!

Saturday 10th April. On a sunny Saturday afternoon at Hog Hill, around 40 women lined up at the ELV Spring Rumble for round 2 of the LWCR League. This was the first round that included all cat women racers.

Riders from across London and beyond made the trip down to do battle on the Hoggenberg.
The 40-strong field crossed the start-line and stayed together during the opening laps before it split after the prime, which was won by Mathilde Pauls (Pearsons CC).

An aggressive pace set by the front group split the field into two main groups, with a few gruppettos at the tail end of the field having their own mini battles.

With 4 laps to go, Maryka Sennema (Kingston Wheelers) and league leader Elise Sherwell (Pearson Cycles) animated things in the 18-woman leading group when they put the hammer down just before the Hoggenberg.
A number of contenders, including riders from Rapha Condor and MuleBar Girls dropped out of contention at this point, leaving the eventual winner to come from the remaining select group of 9 riders. Among them were strong locals like Twickenham pair, Dorchie Cockerell and Natalie Cresswick, and a London Dynamo pair in the shape of Rachel Armitage and Lauren Whitmore.

As ever, the outcome was decided on the final climb when Sennema launched an attack, but was caught by RAF rider, Jacqui Marshall who won the race, and youth rider Emily Kay (Halesowen) who finished in 2nd.

London Dynamo’s Lauren Whitmore, who was 9th, was the highest placed 4th category racer.

League leader Elise Sherwell finished in 6th place - good enough to go into the next round, at Crystal Palace, wearing the leader's jersey.

Photo Gallery

Reactions: Maryka Sennema (Kingston Wheelers): Coming third is a satisfactory result, as I certainly wouldn't have said going into the race that I was the third strongest rider! We had a great field. With nearly 40 starters, that’s about four times as many as we usually get at Hog Hill! Finally, a "proper" race! I'm just really happy that we got so many riders out for one of our rounds. To me, this is what I thought we should and could accomplish with the LWCR: proper races with proper fields full of riders at all levels. It was so satisfying to line up with 38 other women at the start line, and I really hope we continue to draw such fields to our races for the rest of the season. A new page in local women's cycling!

Graham Galvin (East London Velo), Organiser: We are over the moon at the turnout for the Spring Rumble. I would have been happy if 25 turned out, but to have more than 40 women racing, including the two who rode in the men’s race, is amazing. We always like to support women’s racing and we are really pleased that this has taken off.

What was it like for.......Astrid Wingler (London Phoenix)

The London Women's Cycle League league is a great introduction to newcomers like me to road racing.

Goodwood was my first ever road race, and the wide course was ideal for anyone not used to cycling in a tight bunch. To my own surprise, I really enjoyed the tactical aspects of the race, including the sprint at the end.

As expected, Hog Hill turned out to be technically quite challenging for someone like me with little road riding experience. Having done some cyclocross races over the winter probably helped me when I missed one of the corners during the first lap and, to the amusement of the others, ended up going straight down across the grass to re-join the field at the bottom. Fortunately, I was still riding my cross bike, although I did worry a bit that I would damage the fancy wheels I had borrowed for the race.

The good thing about Hog Hill was that it did not seem to matter too much that I was dropped early on. Even riding on my own, I never got bored on the varied course. Going at my own speed allowed me to explore the downhill section at a slightly more gentle pace, while using the uphill part to make up some of the places I had lost in the first few laps.

I'm now definitely hooked and plan to head to Hog Hill again next weekend, [at the Eagle RC Circuits] with the main aim to stay on the tarmac!

Photo gallery

photos by John Mullineaux


1 Jacqui Marshall RAF CC 3
2 Emily Kay Halesowen A
3 Maryka Sennena Kingson Whlrs 2
4 Natalie Creswick Twickenham CC 2
5 Mathilde Pauls Pearson Cycles 3
6 Elise Sherwell Pearson Cycles 3
7 Dorchie Cockerell Twickenham CC 2
8 Rachel Armitage London Dynamo 3
9 Lauren Whitmore London Dynamo 4
10 Elizabeth Chittenden Eagle RC 2 @ 25 secs
11 Georgina Schwenning Cambridge Tri A
12 Susan Wood Maldon & Dist 2
13 Natasha Perry Rapha Condor 4
14 Melissa Berry Sport City A
15 Kate Scotter Extreme Sports Therapy 3
16 Delia Beddis Dulwich Paragon 3
17 Hannah Bowers Mule Bar Girls 3
18 Lysandra Sinclaire Inverse RT -
19 Annabel Roots London Phoenix 4
20 Sabine Homrighausen Kingston Whlrs 4
21 Karen Price Dulwich Paragon 2
22 Clare Leonard Brighton Mitre 2
23 Astrid Wingler London Phoenix 4
24 Dyanne Holland Dulwich Paragon 4
25 Wiesia Kuczaj Twickenham CC 4
26 Sol Findley Twickenham CC 4
27 Vikki Filsell Pearson Cycles 4
28 Ansie Thorp VC Norwich 4
29 Nikki Wheeler Team Wiggle 4
30 Louise Croxson London Phoenix 4
31 Charmaine Brown Pearson Cycles 4
32 Helen Keaton Pearson Cycles Pearson Cycles 4
33 Sara Flatt Thetford MTB 4
34 Anna Buick Thetford MTB 4
35 Maria David Dulwich Paragon 3
36 Liz Rice London Phoenix 3

Monday 12 April 2010

Elise Sherwell retains League Leader's Jersey at Hog Hill

Check your ranking in the LWCR league after our second round at East London Velo's Spring Rumble at Hog Hill on Saturday.

Race report coming soon!

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday 6 April 2010

What's Hog Hill like?

Here’s what Claire Beaumont (Rapha Condor/London Dynamo) has to say about the Hog Hill Circuit.

The purpose built Redbridge Cycle Centre replaced the legendary Eastway cycle circuit in 2008. In the two years since it opened, Hog Hill (as it is more familiarly known) has certainly captured the hearts of London based riders with its modern clubhouse and ample shower/changing rooms, plus inspiring views across London. It’s proven to be a great place to race on.

Out on the smooth tarmac the 2km course is split into a lower and upper section. The lower circuit is out of sight of the clubhouse and has sweeping bends that allow you to carry your speed through. This is great for those not so technically minded, but it can also break up the race out on the flat as people sprint out of the bends.

The lower circuit connects to the upper section by a short sharp hill from which Hog Hill gets its name.
Many have nicknamed this the Hoggenberg, after its resemblance to the climbs featured in the Spring classic races in Belgium. As the climb reaches up to the finishing straight this provides for a more exciting finish to a hotly contested race.
The upper circuit stays within sight of the clubhouse and features a short descent and left hand bend which is slightly tighter than others found on the lower section of the course.

I like Hog Hill as it’s a great way to test fitness. Flatter courses can sometimes be unexciting and the course really does provide some entertainment. It’s a fantastic way to improve your bike-handling and climbing ability as well as to find your strengths!

For even more of a feel for what Hog Hill's like, check out this video of a lap of the circuit on LondonCycleSport.  

Monday 5 April 2010

Guide to Time Trialling and the G25/53

Rebecca Slack (London Dynamo) gives a beginners' guide to time trialling.

It's the simplest of competitive formats: riders start a minute apart, rather than together. It's known as the 'race of truth' because there's nowhere to hide, no one to draft off; just you, your bike, your thumping heart and a clock ticking.

Don’t be put off by other riders with all the gear (TT bike, aero front wheel, rear disc, skinsuit, pointy helmet etc)…. it’s not a cast iron guarantee they’ll beat you!  Many people take turbo trainers and warm up in the HQ car park, but the ride to the start suffices as a warm up for most mere mortals.

Leave plenty of time to get down to the start. Don’t be late!

It pays to know a little about the course – especially what to expect in the last few miles when you’ll be emptying the tank!

The start for the G25/53 course is in a quiet lay-by more than a mile from the HQ at Broadbridge Heath, where you will find the start timekeeper and a “pusher”. The pusher holds you by your seat post and will launch you from the start at your allotted time slot.

Try not to wobble - they won’t let you fall over… then it’s “five, four, three, two, one”…. you’re off!! It’s tempting to power off down the road at an unsustainable 350W, but from experience, not wise. Try to go off at a work rate you can maintain for the entire ride. Pacing is an important attribute in successful time trialling.

You’ll be pedaling like stink and hurting like hell – keep telling yourself to “embrace the pain – it’s only temporary!” Your nose will run and you won’t notice the traffic whizzing by.

Always look behind you if overtaking a slower rider and don’t be scared senseless if someone whirrs past you on a rear disc wheel. Pay attention to marshals at the various roundabouts to avoid going off course – remember they can direct cyclists but can not interfere with the flow of traffic so always be ready to give way at junctions if necessary.

On the G25/53 course you will go up a steep slip road and down the other side (rather than under the bridge) half way round the course. Enjoy the long drag up the course and enjoy it even more on the way down but don't forget to pedal hard on the downhill and downwind bits too! When inside the last few miles, dig as deep as you possibly can – every second counts!!!

By the time you arrive at the finish you should be ready to collapse in a heap and be barely capable of another pedal stroke. Well, free wheel down the road until at least out of sight of the finish line first.
There is a real feeling of euphoria as you pedal back to HQ – the early start will have felt worth it!

photo by Gavin Percy

Saturday 3 April 2010

Race Entry News

1. East London Velo Spring Rumble - Saturday 10th April
This will be round 2 of the LWCR League. Advance entry and entry on the day welcome.
NOTE: This race is open to ALL categories (not just 1,2,3 as shown in the BC Calendar)

2. Addiscombe CC 25 mile time trial - Sunday 25th April
This will be round 4 of the LWCR League. Advance entry to this is obligatory. Closing date is Tuesday 13th April. Entry to be done using a cycling time trials form. Event and organiser's contact details can be found either in the cycling time trials handbook, through your time trial secretary or email us and we can let you know.

3. The Women's Team Series race at Windsor on Sunday 18th April now has a full field of 80 riders. Those who have missed out on an entry to this race may want to consider going to the Eagle Road Club women's race on Saturday 17th April at Hog Hill. Race starts at 2.15pm and lasts 1 hour. Entry on the day only.

Finally, don't forget to affiliate to the LWCR League before your first race. As per the league rules, points cannot be added on retroactively. Details on how to affiliate to the league are in the "join" section.