Sweet Bikes, Strong Women and the Sydney Road Titles

I wrote last week about how excited I am to be riding with the Sydney Uni Velo Women’s road team. Fast forward another week and we’ve already done our first race together – the Sydney Road Titles held at the Regatta Centre near Penriff.

For me, this event was all about discovering what these events are all about. I raced in the Masters 1 Women category with teammate Taliya Cikoja. (What’s that? – It means you’re between 30 and some other number and didn’t want to shell out the extra for an elite race license). It was intense. According to Strava, our fastest lap was quicker than the elite field.

The race went for an hour, and was a weird experience of over very quickly multiplied by checking my Garmin now and then to count down how many minutes of driving the pedals were left to come. I was curious to watch how the other riders moved and to learn how to ride safe and smart in the bunch – it was a big bunch too, full of heaps of super strong women on sweet bikes that made cool carbon wheel sounds in the wind.

How hard is it to move up the front? How quickly can you fall behind? What’s it like on the left? Where do people get twitchy? Where do they calm down? Why does that girl keep trying to bury herself and ride off? How good does some of this kit look? When do I get to stop pedaling for a bit? No really, where’s the part where you do some kind of roadie equivalent of relaxing in the singletrack? Surely, there’s a part like that?  (Be smooth, stay out of trouble, be smooth: the answer to everything is no longer 42.)

The images above give a sense of the racing, and what it was like to share this with a super pumped and encouraging team – people to talk to, work with, learn from, cheer for and be proud to be there with. I could feel so much of the race teaching me new things to take into mountain biking, and that was a win as well. I’m not sure I’m hooked on it, but I plan to give a few more of these things a go to find out.

On the podium front, Talz and I got a two-three finish in our category, and teammate Amber Jenkins took out the Elite win. I’m not sure what happened after that. Having used up my entire attention span for the day in my own race, my mind sort of ping-ponged around for the rest of the afternoon. It was nice to just wander around, think about where the nearest pie shop might be and enjoy the springiness that comes with trying a new thing.

Thank you so much to the broader Sydney Uni Velo Club for being so supportive, fun to ride with and for the a warm introduction to this other side of the sport.

Photos: Yvette Amaral (pode) and Kath Bicknell (the others).