I’ve just seen the really great news that Belgian tv station Sporza is going to be showing all the women’s Bpost Bank Trofee races for the next three years – starting this weekend, with Ronse – so what better time to tell you how to follow the races?
For any cyclocross newbies, I’ll include which ones you really should watch, and while I’ll focus on the European circuit, I’ll include some details of the USA as well – but if you want to start at the beginning, my CX in a sentence: Riders race laps of a course that includes man-made and natural obstacles like sand, hills, barriers and SO MUCH MUDDY! which is so hard they have to get off and run with the bikes at points – they race for an hour (50 mins for the women) and the first across the line wins! Helen Wyman once described it as “the muddiest, funnest sport of attrition” and that sums it up nicely!
If you want more than that, there’s a great newbie guide to cyclocross, Cyclocross Q&A and a short primer on why CX is so awesome over on Podium Café, and there are four What is cyclocross? videos on Behind the Barriers, explaining the sport in general, starts, cornering and barriers & obstacles, presented by US pro Jeremy Powers.
I’m in the middle of a mini-series, looking at the 2015 and 2016 women’s road calendars. Part 1 looked at how the 2015 racing compared to the published calendar, and at the new World Tour and races for 2016 over here – and previous years’ articles over on Podium Café. And for anyone who’s new to women’s racing, I also explained a little bit about the racing terminology and background. In this post, I’m going to look at the 2016 calendar in terms of how the season might work… with more colour-coded charts!
In the last post, I put in a table of 2016 races, including new ones, and races cancelled since 2015, and of course you can look at the calendar on the UCI website (make sure you switch it to 2016!) but here’s my home-made visual view:
Over the last few years I’ve been analysing how the UCI women’s road cycling calendar has been changing, and what it means for the sport – with home-made, colour-coded charts and diagrams. You can find my posts from previous years in the Podium Café series, and you can look up the UCI calendars on their site using their drop-down menus, if you want the non-colourful versions (it defaults to 2015, so make sure you move it to 2016, if you don’t want to be confused!).
In this post, I’m going to be looking at how the 2015 calendar changed between when it was published in October 2014 and what was actually ridden, and look ahead to what’s changed in the 2016 calendar that was announced in September 2015 – and there are some pretty major moves that are exciting, and (spoiler!) really positive. Then in Part 2 I’ll look at the shape of the season, and in Part 3, the changes in the context of the past ten years or so, and a bit more about where the changes are happening. But enough talk, let’s start with a table!
For the last few years I’ve been doing some analysis of how the UCI women’s road calendar changes. You can see my posts from previous years in the Podium Café series, and you can look up the UCI calendars on their site using their drop-down menus.
Bike races can seem complicated for new fans, so I’m starting this mini-series with a post for newbies, or non-obsessives. I’ll try to keep this simple, so women’s racing über-fans, if you’re feeling nit-picky, please do just bear with me – and if you have any questions, or can explain things more simply, please do leave me a comment or tell me on twitter.
Women’s cycling teams and levels of races
While men’s cycling has separate levels of UCI rankings for teams (World Tour, Pro-Continental, Continental) and equivalent race categories, the women currently only have one level of ranking – either a team is a UCI team, or it’s a domestic team.
Sean Robinson started off his Velofocus site with the best women’s cycling race previews around, that were especially well known for the fact he mapped the races onto google himself, creating the race profiles that riders use if they want to avoid “surprise” hills! He started going to races, taking photos, writing race reports and interviewing riders, and in 2015 he was pretty much full time at this, which makes me so happy. You can see all his race galleries over on his site – and now you can buy his 2016 calendar, with 13 of his favourite images from the 2015 races.
The calendar costs GB £13.99, which by today’s conversions is approx €18.90, UK $21.25 and Aus $30, and it can be shipped all over the world, the shopping cart will work out prices for you. And because I love this calendar so much, I’m doing a giveaway – if you want a free calendar from me, send me a tweet or leave me a comment with the hashtag #VelofocusCalendar and I’ll do a draw on Thursday 15th October and send one lucky winner a calendar of their own.
G’day team, first of all, apologies for the delay in getting this episode out to you. We had major technical difficulties with our server during the week and it took a little while to fix. (For those who may be interested I’ll explain a little more at the bottom of the post). Anyway, we’re up and running now, and it’s a good thing too because what an amazing week of cycling last week was!
Richmond Virginia proved to be an excellent host for worlds and continuing on from last week’s time trials, this week brought us the Junior and Elite Women’s Road Races which proved to be incredibly exciting. We also discuss some controversy with Linda Villumsen and a recap of some other racing that happened in various disciplines. Enjoy! (1:10:15 MIN / 67.44 MB)
To stream the episode, click here (right-click, save-as to download).
Things we talked about this week
This week’s racing
All the videos, photos and links from the:
Specialized catches up with Lizzie Armitstead and Peter Sagan after their wins
and we approve of this:
Of all the things I’ve blogged about, one of the subjectss that gets most views are my posts from 2013 on cycling clothing for “bigger” and “curvy” women (Part 1, “plus sizes” and Part 2, XL & XXL). I wrote them because at UK size 18 (US 14, Aus 20, Eu 46) I find finding kit really hard, as cycling gear is notoriously weird when it comes to sizing. Things across the board tend to be sized small, so even women who normally wear size L (UK 14/US 10/France 42/Aus 16) can find themselves too big for most brands, and feeling shitty about one’s body, or struggling to find a jersey that fits is never the best way to feel good about cycling.
BUT! There are companies that understand that women who don’t fit the “skinny” stereotype love their bikes too, and even better? There are more about more of them every year. So here’s my updated 2015 “Cycling kits for curvy women”, post taking in clothes that fit “large” and large women, women with big boobs or broad shoulders, and more – anything over UK 18 (XXL/USA 14), with an emphasis on companies that go larger.
I’m planning a second post for companies that do L/XL, and if you want to share more companies you’ve seen, or especially, that you love for any sizes, please do let me know in the comments, on twitter, or by email at prowomenscycling [at] gmail [dot] com, and I’ll make a third post. And if you’re a tall woman, or know one, and have found kit that fits you, please do share it, because I know women like you would love to know!