SKCC member of only a few months, Bianca Pickett shares with us her new found love of competitive cycling…
Despite my love of cycling, both as an amateur and avid professional observer, it hadn’t occurred to me that I could or would ever race Crits.  Coming from a triathlon background (the natural rival to the cyclist), I never thought it was for me – until I tried it.  Armed with a three race pass, a little Dutch courage and a healthy dose of naivety, I entered my first SKCC C Grade women’s race. I sat at the back for most of the race, freaking out around every corner, carefully following the wheel in front of me as my confidence built.  The bell lap was insane, and on the final corner I happened to be nicely placed up the front, and incomprehensibly finished 2nd!  I discovered that not only is racing really scary and enormously fun, but that I could sprint! As the weeks passed, I stopped entering triathlons and eagerly showed up to Crits every Sunday morning. Women’s C Grade treated me well with a couple of wins under my belt and I was inevitably promoted to B Grade.
SKCC is an amazingly supportive club for women, with dedicated training rides, a women’s development squad, support and guidance that goes far beyond any other sport I have ever been a part of.  Once I made it to Women’s B Grade, the intensity picked up, and a few incidents on corners ensued.  The mind is a funny thing and I lost all my confidence. When the next race came around the fear of those two corners became a beast I couldn’t control.  I went to Latte Laps with Rob Crowe, which helped enormously, but once at speed in a racing situation I was still freaking out and backing off – a BIG no no in a race.  I asked for some help from the club, and did I get it!  Alison Raaymakers, a member of the women’s racing team, spent 30 mins with me going around the track, talking through my cornering fear, and tips and tricks on what to do.  CLICK!
As well as Alison’s help and advice, Anthony Seipolt, the Club President, marshalled my race and talked me through the corners, guiding me to a safe finish with my confidence well and truly back.
In summary, I’ve made friends, learnt new skills, faced a fear or two, and fallen in love with cycling all over again. SKCC is a supportive club for women looking to get into cycling and racing, and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.