Sunday, 12 January 2014

For years the average time trial in the South East has attracted just a handful of women at best. Now there are 120 signed up for SEWTTS. So who are we? And where did we come from? Here are a few rider profiles covering a cross section of the riders taking part.

Isla Rush – Cat 3 and junior
Hi everyone! I'm Isla and I have been Time Trialling for two seasons now, and I first started when I was about 12. As I am 15 for this new season, I am still currently as High School studying for my GCSE's, however racing and training take up most of my free time. My Dad was the person that got me into cycling, as a year ago I was still a competitive swimmer. Last year I started doing Road Races and Track Racing, making 2013 an absolutely amazing year! Competing at the Sainsbury's Uk School Games in 2013 was the highlight of my year, as the whole experienced really taught me how to be a better cyclist. I can't wait for this new Time Trial Series, and I wish everyone participating the best of luck!

Jennie Male - Cat 4

I've trained for and competed in endurance sports for over 20 years, including running, triathlon and rowing. However, due to injury I'm no longer able to run and have been cycling solely for the past year. I've really missed competing and, as I don't want to take part in group racing, see time trialing as a way of racing without as much risk of injury to myself or wrecking my bike. I currently work at Sigma Sport advising and dealing with customers on the shop floor, selling road bikes, triathlon equipment (including wetsuits), clothing and accessories. I am also a qualified Level 1 British Triathlon Coach, a Breeze Ride Leader and will be taking a Level 2 Cycle Coach course this January.

Sarah Cashman - Cat 4
I am a 49 year old police officer with the Met Police, I have always enjoyed a variety of sports predominantly hockey, horse riding, squash and running. I think my best sporting achievement to date is to have completed 2 marathons......after stupidly getting drunk at my 40th and saying I could do one....Needless to say I will not be drinking on my 50th!
I started cycling 4yrs ago following an injury which has meant I have had to give up all impact sports and I wish I had discovered it sooner. I have a few Etapes under my belt (not The Etape....that is on the list), I started riding long distance so I could eat more chocolate and cake without getting fat and have no idea why I have decided to have a go at racing and TT....I was sober this time!!
After doing three 10 mile TT's last year I decided to buy TT bars to see how I got on with them but I think I'm a bit of an easy target as somehow I came home with TT bars....attached to a bike (which is currently hidden in the loft as my partner doesn't know about it yet so I hope he doesn't read this....I'm not sure how I'm going to explain this one) I managed to buy a TT helmet in the sales and have borrowed some wheels so although I have all the kit don't be fooled it is by luck I really am a complete beginner but hopefully before this season is out I'll be whizzing along like the old pro who I think is buried somewhere deep inside me!

Sandra Blenkinsop - Cat 2
I was so motivated when I heard that there would be a series of TT races for women in the SE that I enrolled immediately. I started competing in TT 7 years ago when I was 46 (you are never too old!)  because I wanted to improve my cycling speed to enable me to improve on my rankings at the World AG Triathlon Championships.  It worked for me and I achieved my goal of making the top ten at the worlds.  I cannot recommend time trialling enough for women as a way of gaining confidence, strength and fitness on your bikes, and SEWTTs certainly offers women the ideal opportunity to get involved and compete in an environment that is filled with like minded females.  I look forward to meeting new faces during the coming year at the SEWTTs Series. And remember, whatever your age, you can still be competitive at Time Trialling!
When not on a bike, Sandra is a School Games Organiser based in Kingston.

Bronwyn Ewing - Cat 1
I've always loved sport - ranging from skydiving, windsurfing and cross country skiing and came to cycling quite accidently whilst living in Norway. I rode the Norwegian Styrkeproven from Trondheim to Oslo on a mountain bike having done some 8 weeks of training which was complete stupidity but I was hooked. My main focus has been TTs for the last 4 yrs and ride for Trainsharp RT.  I've been married for a very long time to a  Scotsman, who is very supportive and long suffering and we have two grown up boys.  I'm currently working as a trainee Biomedical Scientist in cellular pathology.

Natalie Creswick - Cat 1

I’ve never really liked sitting down much and spent most of my childhood dancing.  I then rowed for the three years while I was at University in Southampton and afterwards was given a place at the London Triathlon by a friend as a bit of a bet but managed to win. I loved triathlon and competed for two more years including at the Age Group World Champs in 2007 and was fastest Age Grouper at the UK 70.3 in 2008.

The biggest thing I loved about triathlon was the bike so it was inevitable that as soon as I tried a road race I was hooked and haven’t done a triathlon since!  I’ve been racing, including TTs, since 2009.  At first for my club Twickenham CC and I then signed for a German UCI Pro team in 2011.  Unfortunately my season and time in Europe was cut very short after a back injury and I wasn’t sure if I would race again. In 2012 I joined Team MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sport with no idea if I would be able to compete that much but I’ve had a great two seasons with them and can’t wait for the third this year.  Last year I won the first round of the Johnson Health Tech GP series, 2nd overall and 9th at the National RR Champs.  My team mates are a fantastic bunch of girls and as we run the team ourselves it means so much to each of us.

I did my first TT on a road bike, I don’t think I even had clip on tri bars.  I was super nervous but everyone was really friendly showing me what to do, where to go and how to pin on my number.  I was particularly nervous about starting with both feet clipped in and someone holding me up but even shaking with nerves it seemed to work ok. I was 12th at the National TT Champs in Glasgow last year and put in a PB of 57.36 for a 25.   I'm really excited to be part of SEWTTS this year!

When I’m not on my bike I work for ChildLine, the national helpline for children and young people.

Charlotte Easton - Cat 1 - Old Croc*

I first completed a TT in 2006.  I've raced every year since then, making 2014 my ninth full season.  Initially a roadie, I enjoyed some success and raced my way to an elite license in 2008.  I have had some good results at National TT events, taking 7th place in the National 10 in 2009 and 9th in the National 25 in 2011.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with aggressive stage four breast cancer.  This means that that today I am racing complete with incurable metastatic tumors in my spine and lung.  I did race throughout my chemo therapy and am lucky to have had such a supportive team who have seen me through some very dark times.  Mostly I like racing on the tandem with my man Sam.  It makes me laugh, which is the principal point of bike racing!

Charlotte is a classics teacher at a secondary school in Wandsworth.

Charlotte Jackson - Novice - Old Croc*

Hi, I'm a 37 year old interior designer and I've been cycling daily for nearly ten years but only took up road cycling 16 months ago. I worked with and rode horses competitively until my late teens and after a short spell of laziness I took up cycling. What started as a means to get around soon developed. I started off on a very heavy Dutch bike which I would regularly cycle around the Surrey hills. It was certainly a good leg strengthener! I then moved on to a city bike and 80's Raleigh racer before being inspired by my husband to buy a 'modern' road bike. Things were going well and I had planned to start racing this year until I had a crash last October which left me with a broken femur and pelvis. Stuck in a hospital bed I decided I needed challenges for 2014 to keep me motivated on the road back to fitness so I duly signed up for the Etape and the SEWTT series. After 12 weeks non weight bearing I am finally back on the turbo and the long journey back to fitness begins!

* old croc = a subcategory for riders who have been seriously injured or ill.

Elise Sherwell - Cat 2

I have always loved sport and competing, my previous sport was rowing where I won several World Cup, World Championships and two Olympic Bronze medals. When I retired from being a professional athlete in 2008 I become a solicitor, but missed the buzz of racing... I was drawn to cycling through some old rowing friends and loved it. I was incredibly lucky to join of a great team of tough and fun girls in Look Mum no Hands RT!  I have raced on the road, cross and track but have never really embraced the TT circuit.  I find cycle racing addictive — it's exciting that the right tactics at the right time can decide the race as long as you are mentally strong enough to push your legs to the limit. This is the year to break into something new and see if I can learn to push myself against the clock, no tactics just me, the bike and a road. How hard can it be!

I have two young children so have not managed to get back to my previous fitness levels but I am willing to see if I can improve throughout the season and enjoy the early morning races.

(These are not all my children - just the blonde one in this picture, but you get the idea as to my current training methods!)

Jane Dennyson - Novice

This will be my first season competing in Women's cycling so this new Time Trial Series is perfectly timed for me. I've done a few middle distance triathlons (not very quickly) in the past so I'm hoping some of that will help with the TT racing. Until now, I've been mostly riding sportives and doing some longer distance cycling. You can't beat a good day out on the bike with mates! Last Summer I discovered cycle touring and I'm hooked. I cycled to Paris for the end of the Tour de France with a few mates and I rode from Geneva to Nice over the Alps at the end of the Summer which was a load of fun. My favourite event of last year was probably the Tour of Wessex in May - a brilliant 3 day sportive.

I joined London Phoenix CC 3 years ago but until now I've just done their social rides. There are some great girls riding there and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with their race team this year. I'm keen to combine these time trials with some crits and road racing too if I can.

When I'm not cycling, I'm a bin lady. I work in waste management and recycling and have to hold myself back from doing too much bin-spotting out on rides!

Michelle Greig Gwynn - Cat 2. Humorist and Old Croc*

Hello, My name is Michelle. I got into riding my bike because I have been In Love with Mr Sean Yates since I was 12, but it took me a very long time to figure out the best way to meet him would be to buy then learn to ride a bike. This I duly did in 2012, and traipsed off to the Pyrenees on an epic and successful TdF stalking mission.

That completed, but clearly not Mr Yates' type, I was at a loose end. The devil finds work for idle hands and my triathlete husband was despairing of me. We agreed the best option would be for me to go and try some competitions.  For me, TT's seemed the most accessible and least intimidating.

My only season was in 2012, when I entered a few races and had a lot of fun. I like the challenge as you are only racing yourself against the clock - and it is interesting just how far you can push yourself. I puffed along in a few races at the 10 and 25 distance, but was unlucky to have a bad accident that kept me off the bike and competing in 2013.

Things have changed a bit, and there are new challenges now, but I'm looking forward to riding again, and meeting all the ladies, sharing a few cakes and hopefully enjoying celebrating in your achievements and PB's.

See you in a layby surrounded by men in various states of undress soon.

I do not have any pictures of me. Other than the one with Sean Yates.

Monica-carmela Sajeva - Novice and Old Croc

I've been cycling aroun d London for years but only joined my club Dulwich Paragon 18 months ago - and that's when a whole new world opened up. T hings were just fine...cycling in the Atlas Mountains, trips to Europe, races in the diary and a TTT lined up ...and then I had an accident.

A fractured patella (knee cap) just as last July’s sun started to shine... It took 3 pitiful months for the docs to say that I could ditch the leg brace and start weight bearing fully and then a few weeks later this "keen and enthusiastic lady cyclist" was given permission to go for a ride. I duly jumped straight on to my bike only to discover how far I had to go with my recovery. So I drew up ‘the grand plan’ which included ambitiously signing up to SEWTTS. I figured that I could get inspired, learn the craft and happily (painfully) progress throughout the series without being noticed or bothering anyone… just me, the clock and the knee. ... straight after the series finishes I’m back to the op table to get de-pinned and de-wired. Recovery will then begin!

When not being an injured cyclist, I'm a limping librarian.