April 22nd and 23rd was the busiest weekend of the year for the Storey Racing riders with 5 events spread the length and breadth of the country.
Round 2 of the HSBC Women’s National Road Series was the first up and four riders took to the start. Without a rolling road closure and only 60 riders allowed to start under British Cycling rules, the race was quite different to round 1 and our team was instructed that safety was of paramount importance. Lying 3rd in the individual rankings, Chanel Mason was clearly feeling in great form and hit the race hard from the start. Although her first couple of attempts to escape didn’t work she didn’t give up hope and back in the bunch a plan was formulated with the help of her team mates Jen George, EJay Harris and Laura Cameron.
Jen attacked hard which instantly provoked a reaction in the bunch, as they brought her back Chanel countered and took Grace Garner and fellow Army rider, Charmaine Porter with her. The break proved decisive and again saw Chanel putting in some huge turns to ensure the trio stayed away. With less than 10 miles to go, the gap looked to be falling but Chanel wasn’t for letting the effort go to waste so another huge turn saw the gap go back out and the race decided between the 3 breakaway companions. As expected Grace Garner took the sprint with Chanel settling for 3rd after a brutal couple of hours in the saddle.
With a bunch sprint behind, Jen took 6th overall and EJay 14th. Full results here.
The podium presentation saw Chanel take three trips to the stage as she firstly collected the Most Combatitive Rider prize, followed by third in the race and finally the Series Leader jersey. To add to the excitement, the team has also moved the team up to the top of the leader board in the team standings. With a long way to go over the next 7 rounds it will be an interesting series to follow.
Whilst the Essex race was on, Monica Dew scored her first podium of the season in the Manchester and District Ladies 10 mile time trial event. Held on a familiar course it was not only a big personal best from our first year under 23 rider, but also second by the smallest of margins, with a lot more to come.
Sunday 23rd April saw 3 different events for the team with the Essex crew of EJay, Chanel, Laura and Jen taking on the men in the Les Ingman Road Race run by Norwood Paragon, Monica and Beth Crumpton heading to a women’s local race in the Cotswolds and Neah Evans in action for the first time on the road at the Scottish National Time Trial Championships.
The Les Ingman Road Race was held over 142km of challenging terrain which was made more brutal with the previous days race already in the riders legs. The whole team started well with the first lap run off at 41kph despite the hills and the team looking good moving around the bunch. Jen has a tough two-up to finish and everyone had a superb event in their legs ahead of what will be a brutal race in Yorkshire next Saturday.
Beth and Monica’s race was a women’s only event and saw the two riders take the race by the scruff of the neck. Beth was constantly stretching the bunch out and making others chase but on a mainly flat course a break wasn’t going to form. In the final Beth jumped a little early and got caught, but Monica was ready to back her up and secured 5th spot from what she described as a messy line to the finish.
It was 3rd time lucky for the team and a podium slot, with Neah Evans making her transition off the track and in to road racing with a 25 mile Time Trial for the Scottish Nationals. Having suffered with bad cold following the end of her track season it was a welcome opportunity to test her legs on hilly rough roads. Finishing in the bronze medal position she joked afterwards about the race being “around 23 miles too far for me!”
With a strong showing across the course of the weekend and the team spirit rising with every race, the team is now set up for an exciting entry in to the UCI peloton at the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday 29th April.