Saturday was probably the warmest day of the year so far providing perfect conditions for the first round of the ASSOSLDN Women's League, an event which is now in it's 4th year and thriving.
51 women competed on the night across A, B and C categories with some of the C women racing for the very first time. Women's participation in racing in London is looking strong this year which is brilliant to see and be a part of. It was also fantastic to see my team mate Kris back on the track racing only 4 months after giving birth, she was ripping it in the Bs!
After collecting my race number on the night I made a last minute decision to move from the B category which I raced in last year to the As, spurred on by one of my friends who had just made the move up the categories herself (thanks Lina!). This jump into the unknown paid off and I got to see that I am able to mix it with the fast women. It was reassuring to feel that my winter training had made a difference and It was also really great to overcome my nerves about moving up the As.
The first race was a warm up. Five laps warm up and then the last five laps as a race. After sitting comfortably in the bunch in the neutral laps I sat 3rd or 4th wheel and had the perfect lead out going in to the bell lap but then my line was stolen by cleverer riders and I ended up on the blue at the bottom of the track losing speed. I tried to sprint back in to the bunch but my chances had gone. I'll have to try to be more elbowy next time, Haha.
Next up was the points race with 15 laps and points every 3. This was my longest points race yet and sprint after sprint certainly took its toll. On reflection I was probably under geared at and felt like I was spinning out at times. I managed to hang on to the bunch but I learned where I need to work on my race tactics too.
The third race was a team sprint for which I paired up with Lina who rides for Cadence Colossi. We managed a lap time of 40 seconds, mainly thanks to Lina shouting at me to go faster before sprinting full pelt for the last part of the lap. Standing starts are all new to me and it showed, time to up my track skills so I can contribute more speed next time!
Finally, there was a 7.5k scratch race. I went in hard and fought for a good position in the bunch as much as I possibly could. At times a few strong riders went off the front during this race and pushed the pace but again I was pleasantly surprised to see I didn't get dropped which I feared could happen. Again I felt slightly under geared during this race, another important lesson for future races but I managed to push on to finish (I think) 7th out of 12 riders which was my best finishing position of the night.
I'm now sitting 11th overall going in to round two which will take place on 19th May and I can't wait to race lots more track events this season.