Trying to find cycling clothing as a curvy girl

Originally posted on Unofficial Unsanctioned Women's UCI Cycling Blog:

I’m already thinking about “gift ideas” posts for this winter, and it’s giving me a real dilemma – one that touches on some real insecurities for me as a woman and as a cyclist – should I promote companies that make clothes I can’t buy?

Just typing this makes me simultaneously ashamed, and angry at myself for being ashamed, and worry you’ll think less of me, and hate myself for worrying about being judged by a bunch of strangers on the internet – but I’m a UK size 16 (US size 10, Continental 44) and in some lines 18, especially in jackets and coats (I have broad shoulders and big boobs, and even at my fittest and skinniest, I’ve always been curvy).   I don’t know if you’d think I was fat if you met me in real life, but I feel fat, all the time.  I’m in my…

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Introducing Lily Mclean, Andover Wheelers Girl Racer. Guest Blog.

I am a 2nd category junior women and would say I am a very keen cyclist. I ride for my local club Andover Wheelers. Throughout the summer I will race around 3 or 4 times a week at local circuit races such as Ludgershall and Thruxton and our club’s TT’s. There are few junior girls around my area therefore the majority of my training is with men, as well as local races, which usually results in entering the men’s 3rd cat races. This year I have started larger women’s races, this has definitely been an eye-opener! I have raced a couple National Women Team Series races; these contain some of the UK’s best teams such as Matrix Fitness and MG Maxi Fuel, they are also notorious for large crashes!! Women’s cycling has improved majorly over the past few years, this year I have had the opportunity to race the RideLondon criterium, rubbing shoulders with Olympians Laura Trott, Danni King and Joanna Rowsell (I can’t say I did particularly well in this race!). The race I enjoyed most this year is the 3 day stage race in Jersey, I certainly recommend anyone going to watch it!

My last race of the year was the Westminster Criterium. This was an amazing opportunity to race in the streets of London to mark the end of the Tour of Britain. I wasn’t particularly nervous until a crash on the warm up lap reminded what women’s racing is like! I started at the very back of the start line which once the race went like a rocket left me straggling of the back of the bunch, nonetheless Elz (and Rhys!) relentless cheering kept me going!
Next year I hope to try track racing, however travelling to either Calshot or Newport is going to be difficult, if not, I’m sure some cyclocross will be good training!

Lili Mclean

(I met Lili through my last job, and she kindly offered to stand in for me at work so I could do the Garmin Ride Out last year. Probably one of the nicest people I know! Keep an eye out for her in the future! And follow her on twitter @lilimayemclean :-) hope you enjoyed this – Elz)

Anthony Mccrossan – Commentating on the Worlds. Guest Blog.

I was asked if I would write a blog about commentating on the world championships to give you all a bit of an insight into what it is us commentators do all day, so here we go….

The World Championships for me is one of the biggest weeks of the year.  Its one of those weeks that starts high and ends normally higher.  The racing is competitive, the crowds get bigger as the week goes on and strangely the commentary box gets busier and busier!

So, I arrived in Firenze (Florence to us Brits) late on Saturday night, the day before the team time trials.  I was picked up at the airport by one of the guys who works on the caravan at the Giro where I am the speaker so I immediately felt at home.  Arrived at the hotel, met a good friend of mine Seb who does radio tour on the Tour De France and of course ended up having a glass of wine and dinner.  Its great to catch up on news and exchange views on the season so far and what might happen.

The next morning I headed to the race finish area to find my home for the week.  This championships I was on the upper deck of the big grey commentary boxes you see on the finish line of the worlds, in between Norwegian and Dutch tv, along from Italian and French tv.  So, this is where I would live for a week!  Watch the racing, commentate on the action, welcome my guest commentators, watch the victory ceremonies and be part of the incredible event that is the World Championships.

Each day is much the same.  Arrive in the morning at the finish area.  Go to the press centre to check any news, have a coffee, check the set up in the commentary box.  Read everything you can about news overnight, talk to other commentators and get their thoughts on the race, have more coffee, commentate, go to the press conference of the winner, back to the hotel, eat, chat more and sleep!

It would take a long time to go through day by day what happened at this years Worlds so here are some high points and some amazing things that happened.  My role at the worlds is commentator on the host broadcast feed, so my commentary is taken by a number of broadcasters across the world.  This time to places like SBS in Australia and also on the new live streaming to the Youtube UCI channel.  The audience is diverse, worldwide and as a result my commentary is generic, not related to any specific country and that means you have to know a lot about every rider.  It’s fun, challenging and an absolute honour to do what I do.

This year for the first time I had guest commentators on some days.  On the womens ITT day it was great to commentate with Team Manager of Wiggle Honda – Rochelle Gilmore.  She is working hard to change womens cycling and had some great insights during the race.  She also isn’t afraid to correct you or say what she thinks.  One moment of commentary was “I noticed you tripped over Elisa Longo Borghinis name Anthony – thats ok – we just call her Lamborghini!”

On Saturday I was joined by silver medalist in 2012, Rachel Neylan.  It was a tough day for Rachel as she has been injured a lot of 2013 and to watch a race she wanted to be riding in was an impressive thing to do.  She brought the race to life, giving stories about the riders, recalling her race with Vos in 2012 and for her first time in the commentary box, she was excellent.

Florence was a wonderful place for a world championships.  On the day between the time trials and road races, the circuit is closed for training.  The riders who are taking part in junior, U23, womens and mens races all go out.  This year I went round the circuit in a car as I unfortunately didnt have my bike.  I was joined by Jerome Pineau who was working with French tv.  He was great to listen to, giving us insights on who he thought would win, what the race would be like, showing us photos of him racing this year- its all helps with the homework for the racing!  

It’s a fans dream to be there on that day and I would recommend it to anyone.  You see all the stars, Mark Cavendish, Vicenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador, Evelyn Stevens, Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead, Peter Sagan etc etc all out training.  Its amazing.

On Sunday, the weather turned and we had the most extreme Worlds for a long time!  What a day for the riders.  I dont know how they competed in those conditions.  Thunder, lightning, a deluge of rain.  It was incredible.  I was joined by young British rider Adam Blythe for the race.  I have known Adam for a while and its always struck me that he would be good in media.  At the worlds our ‘shift’ in the commentary box is 7 hours + so you live the entire race!   I think he was surprised at how tiring it was, but he was excellent.  Not sure what his colleagues will think of him willing it to rain harder though!  His rider identification was incredible, even down to spotting shoes and legs!  

So what were the highs and lows?  For me the most exciting race was close run between the womens road race, the mens TTT and the mens ITT.  I thought Brads ride in the ITT was testament to how classy he really is.  The way the Americans rode for Evie Stevens in the womens road race was exciting, but Vos was in a different league.  And Orica Green Edge and OPQS finishing less than a second apart was stunning.

There aren’t many lows at a Worlds to be fair.  Katie Colclough retiring was a shame.  She isn’t mentioned much, but is a world TTT champion.  Having the only taxi driver in Italy to observe the speed limit on the motorway as I tried to get a flight home on Sunday night was probably a disappointment, you don’t get that too often!

Thanks for reading, the next races for me are Lombardia and then China for Tour of Beijing.

Anthony Mccrossan.

(A massive thank you to Anthony for taking the time to type this out! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did, as always feel free to comment, Elz)

The non cycling marlarkey

Having been asked by my non cycling friends more and more about the ToB, I’m in the process of requesting some people to guest blog. If I have asked you its because you have a sense of humour! And are involved or have been involved in some way. The first to step up and say yes is my friend Lily who rode the womens GP on Sunday…

So come on people – give it you’re best shot. All will be in your own words so you’d better provided a bit of background! Or I’ll ask your friends for a funnier bit of background ;-) as I too have a sense of humour

Keep smiling!!

It’s almost autumn

It’s been a while – after having so little internet etc. Just to say – Paris was a lot better this year apart from the heat!

Never managed to watch any of la vuelta – we’ve been flat to the boards since I came back from France. But I did manage to keep vaguely up to date with what was going on through twitter.

Unfortunately I have to leave my job down here in snobby surrey – so looks like I’ll be at home for a while around Christmas time.

Tour of Britain – well some interesting weather! Would have loved to be up at Honister Pass – or on anywhere in the Welsh stage, but I had to make do with Guildford and getting myself and Jen Hine roped into helping out at the finish of Stage 7 :-)
I’d volunteered for the London stage on Sunday with my friend Rhys. Great to see four of the Shutt Velo girls riding the womens race (Jen, Tracey, Sian and Saskia) and of course one of my lovely friends Lili who rides for Andover Wheelers. And yes I did stand in as Lili’s soigneur (although I also had a go on her bike – my god that girl has long legs!!).
Met up with Holly B and watched the Gentlemans TT from the inside corner of Westminster Bridge – before having a wander with the master baker @melaniebbikes :-)
Watched Stage 8 from the outside corner of Westminster Bridge – and think I have been fairly instrumental in getting the crowd going (amazing what happens when you shout ‘come on London make some noise!!) ;-)
Then a hair raising 5 minutes with a whistle, trying to get some of the public out of the road to let the riders through. Who had the bright idea to let me have a whistle??!!?? Good job I have a sense of humour!
Then finally drinks… where we met the now very famous Kenny v V at St. Stephens.

Yes I did manage to catch my train home :-)


Summer highs… and lows

Well it’s been an odd few weeks since I last blogged. It’s turned out to be damn near impossible to ride with Dorking CC. I can only join them every other Sunday, and as I had to work on my day off, I haven’t joined them. Not sure what to make of them in all honesty. Apart from Flick, the other women came across a bit snooty, and as everyone hared off up hills in front of me, finding myself the lone back marker wasn’t great.

So I haven’t ridden with them, going out alone around the local lanes hasn’t been too bad. But. It’s damn boring, and I’m still fair new to this.
Do I look for another club? No one appears to be interested in riding in the evening around here. So looks like I’m back to being the lonely cyclist!

Anyway. TdF has started! Arranging to meet up in Paris with loads of tweeps, it’s got to be better than last year! I’m planning on being in the Frog XVI Saturday afternoon with the team Sky Fanzone. Might see you there, or possibly on le Champs.

By the way my Velogames Fantasy team isn’t doing great. As I knew it wouldn’t! Just heard that Janis Brajovick (thats probavly spelt wrong but you should get who I mean!) is out of it today.

I’m about to be my own worst enemy, as I’m not going out on the bike tonight despite it being perfect weather. But hey, after finishing late 4 days in a row, I think one evening off isn’t going to kill me!

Don’t forget how physical my job is before you think I’m a lazy cow. I’d like to see some of you shift 700 bales of hay over two days ;)

Seriously if anyone has any suggestions of clubs, or knows anyone willing to ride slow an evening a week, please let me know! As I said to @accidentobizaro its a pity we don’t have @sparkieturner down this way! It looks great what they do up there.

But that is Yorkshire, where everyone is friendlier than Snooty Surrey!

Looks like I’m also going to trundle my way around the shorter route of the Magnificat at Newbury unless I get a better offer!

Ciao :)

A long weekend of cycling

I made it to Canary Wharf for the last 10 laps or so. Then promptly ran the wrong way to meet @HollyAJennings and Dan (I mean I ran the entire course) whilst trying to watch the racing and failing..


Great to see @teamukyouth win again, they’ve taken over from Endura as my ‘fave’ Elite team!


Anyway, we went off for a drink at the Cat and Canary (not a bad pub and not too pricey!) where we met up with the other Holly and Matt (thanks for lending me the ‘famous’ @vulpinecc jacket Matt!).

Then we headed back up to some other bar. Nice to breifly meet Stuart and Darren! Even if I do get introduced by my twitter name #fail #fame.

Yeah. I missed the last train home so had to get a mini cab. But it was worth it, great evening and excellent company!

Then for the Nocturne on Saturday. Just about got up there in time to meet up with Kara (one of my livesavers in Pau last year!) and then a quick (ha very slow) walk around most of the course to try and catch up with @rozjones. It was heaving with people everywhere!

Then to watch the womens race. I cheered Helen Wyman, Lucy Garner and the Matrix Prendas girls from the start.

Time for some wine. Thanks for suggesting Smiths (you know who you are)! Ran into a few people I knew and in all honesty didn’t see much of the mens race!

Only when they started taking the barriers downs did I walk over and finally talk to @ds_stef! And admired Lucy Garners bike


And laughed at @CXHelen on the bike


Massive thanks to Kara who dragged me onto the right train! And apologies to Ian Bibby for the awful photo Kara took ;-)


And finally…

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