So, as part of my targets for my winter training, I need to improve my technical skills. This is why, last weekend I did my first ever race training session. Having raced for over a year now, this is, perhaps, a little odd. Because there have never been race training sessions anywhere near me, I’ve learnt to race by err… racing.
Anyway, I signed up for the first “women only” race training session in the region because there’s always more to learn and I still consider myself a pretty novice rider.
I didn’t really knowing what to expect. With my level of experience, I was worried the session would be tailored to those with little or no experience, but Mark Wyer’s practical session was really good for all levels, it just worked out really well. We had some riders that had done a few triathlons, some that had done sportifs and one lady who had only just got her first road bike, as well as two of us that had raced before.
So, session consisted of a talk on women specific training by Mark Walker, which was very useful for me and those wanting to really improve their cycling fitness racing and then out for the practical session based around cornering techniques. I’m generally ok at cornering, with all my experience in criterium racing in the past year, but the conditions were wet with twigs and leaf mulch, something I tend to shy away from since my bike slipped from under me in torrential conditions at the Johnson’s Health Tech GP Aylsham round this year. Since then, I completely lost confidence when taking left corners (right corners don’t seem to phase me, which is odd for a British rider, since most races consist solely of left-hand bends!). The session started pretty basic, so it covered most things I had picked up already, but there were also a few tips that I hadn’t come across before. Myself and the 18 or so other ladies were pretty successful at improving our speed through the corner, riding individually and in groups and I feel much more confident in those conditions. Even though the last section ended up being a race which pitted myself and the other racer against each-other at the end of an “Italian persuit” style race. I was so focussed on winning that all the technique and knowledge I had just learnt, went straight out the window and I ended up taking a corner far to wide and went a bit off-course. oops! lesson learnt – focus on the job in hand, not the end goal!
I thoroughly recommend attending training sessions when they are available, whether women only or not. It doesn’t matter how much you know, there’s always room for improvement!