This season marks the first for Sigma Sport Women’s Race Team – a London based squad of seven riders supported by the Kingston bike shop. Riders include Cat 1 superstars, such as regional champion, Bella Leach and retired rower Mathilde Pauls. Despite being experts on the road, track, and in the muddy fields of cyclocross, all the riders juggle training with the demands of busy jobs and will be targeting regional and national racing.
We’ll be bringing you updates from members of the team throughout the race season – to give you a little insight into what it’s like being a working racer, and some hints and tips along the way. First up, we’ve got an update from Lydia Brookes, a road and track specialist who joined the team as a category 2 rider from Henley G.S.
For Brookes, the season started with the Dave Peck Road Race in April, where she was pleased to finish in the top 20, followed by mid-May success when she won the Cotswold Veldrijden road race. She then went on to ride the 500km from London to Paris with HotChillee events at the end of the month, returning from the trip just one week before the London Nocturne on Saturday 4 May and the Central Regional Championships the following day.
Brookes tells us more about her race preparation, and gives us a blow by blow account of her warm up for the central London crit race, The London Nocturne…
The week before….
At the end of May the team had a great opportunity to take part in the HotChillee London to Paris, a 500km event over 3 days. The event was an amazing experience, and more than any ‘training effect’ it was great to get time with the rest of the team. However, 500km of riding over 3 days does drain the body, so it was important I struck the balance right over the following week to ‘taper’ for the Nocturne and Regional Championships.
Having returned from Paris on the Sunday prior to Nocturne, on Monday I went out on a very easy 2 hour ‘coffee shop’ ride, an active recovery to stop the legs seizing up after the travelling back. Unfortunately, Tuesday through Thursday were extremely busy at work, and I didn’t get the chance to get on the bike at all. That’s not ideal, but I made sure that I was stretching and rollering to try and keep the legs supple.
On Friday I managed to squeeze in a ‘leg opener’, a short 1 hour session with some high cadence intervals, and a little bit of intensity, enough to prime my mind and legs hopefully, without really creating fatigue.