It has become an annual occurrence now, hosting a women's training weekend at my farm in Bristol. For the first time in 3 years we were actually blessed with good weather. It was also the first time I got to host the team in my own house, converting the barn left me little time to race last year.
On the Saturday we had a great turn out with Alan Sheldon, Nikola Butler and Vanessa Whitfield travelling from the North joining our southern based riders, Maddie Moore, Eva Barnes, Emma Sainsbury-Munn, Helen Gardiner, Adele Martin and El Jones. We were also spoilt because Kyle Hackett, our team masseur and soigneur for the season, also joined us for the weekend and came out with us on the rides. Jason lead the rides on both days, finding some climbs to test the legs. I gladly swapped my running trainers for cleats for a day on Saturday and joined the ride, although I wasn't quite as pleased dragging myself up Burrington hill. Thanks to everyone for waiting for me at the top! The hill showed the riders in good form and preparing well for the season ahead. Extra kudos have to go to Eva who rode a track session in the morning before embarking on our 40 mile hilly ride!
We were joined by Caroline Harding and Jenny Hudson for Sunday's ride, along with Liv Withers, a new recruit, just 18 years old and already a bit of a climber. This will be Liv's first season of racing and if her climbing skills up Cheddar are anything to go by, she has a promising future ahead. The weather held out on Sunday but the group had a tough ride out to Cheddar Gorge into a headwind. A well earned coffee stop at Cheddar set them up for the climb ahead and a welcome tail-wind home.
During the weekend the majority of us had sessions with Kyle, who worked his magic and will prove to be a huge help this year I'm sure. Bedford 3 -day will be his first event supporting us and will be of great benefit.
The weekend has given the team a chance to meet the new recruits and discuss plans for the season. First up will be Cheshire Classic at the end of April where our climbers will be coming to the fore. After that it will be onto Bedford 3-day, where we will be fielding an experienced diverse team that should challenge for all the jerseys on offer.
Good luck girls and here's to a successful season!