If I think back to my pre-cycling me, I would have been amazed at my devotion to cycling, and I would have thought it was extraordinary that I’d given racing a go through the Come ‘n ‘ Try racing program.
I’ve spent my whole life being the ‘non-sporty’ type. I remember being reasonably involved in little athletics and other sport when I was at primary school but once I reached high school I tried my hardest to get out of any sporting endeavour, particularly any competitive one!!! At my school the sporty girls were encouraged to be involved but if you weren’t any good at sport like me you could easily glide under the radar.
In fact I think this was a real problem with physical education when I was at school and I hope it’s changed a bit. If you didn’t participate in an organised sport, then you pretty much did no physical activity except for a once a week PE session.
So when I started cycling my motivation was not to compete but just to get fit and have a bit of fun.
One of my best riding buddies Michell was the one who got me to the starting line of my first race. It was the Waratah Veterans race at Eastern Creek and I raced ‘F’ grade. They call it a social grade and award no prizes. From memory I think I came fourth in a field of six but I actually quite enjoyed it.
Since then I’ve raced a few more times with my club LACC at the tennis centre at Sydney Olympic Park, competed in a club time trial championship at Penrith Regatta Centre and a club championship at Horsley Park. I still don’t think I’ll ever be a cut-throat competitor but I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the events.
The main benefit I’ve gained from participating in races is learning how to push myself to my physical limits. This is a totally new concept to me. For anyone who’s participated in competitive sport this will probably sound a bit silly but for me it’s reality. And just in case you’re wondering……… I feel physically sick before every race and completely elated when I cross the finish line.
In October and November this year Cycling NSW is running a program it runs twice a year called Come ‘n’ Try racing. The series is specifically run to encourage female road cyclists to try racing in a nurturing, educational environment.
There are four or five events being planned for the Spring series in a variety of locations so hopefully you’ll be able to join one or more of them. There will be experienced female riders on hand to show you the ropes and answer any questions before or after the race.
So if you’re thinking of giving racing a go I recommend you jump in. You might surprise yourself and find you like it. If a non-sporty type like me can get something out of it, then anyone can.
Please share your experiences when you have given club cycle racing a go and consider coming along to Come ‘n’ Try racing, via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.