"I was delighted to point out that cycling has the sort of inclusive nature we were discussing. From Time Trials attended by the whole family, to sportives traversing the British countryside we are blessed with a range of events that welcome riders at all levels."
It has been a while since I blogged anything so I thought it was time to get typing!
A brief rest from training after the success of the Track Worlds saw me busy as a labourer for my Builder extraordinaire husband who has been masterminding the extension on our home and has needed someone with the patience required to cut and hold plasterboard while he works out where to attach it to the studwork and batons!
I also spent some time in London with Links of London working on some media related promotion of the latest items to hit their London 2012 range and a photo shoot for the Guardian newspaper alongside team mate Jon-Allan Butterworth. This should appear in May.
A quick trip to Edinburgh to see Scottish Widows was also fitted in and a chance to speak at an Intermediary Sales conference. It was fun to do so many different things in a short space of time, but for the past couple of weeks it has been all about getting back into training and hitting the roads for a block of long miles.
At present we are out in Mallorca and will be until the end of March, but before we went there was time to fit in a weekend away with my new team. With a team of 11 British riders and a real strength in the squad, it is going to be an exciting road season for us and plans are afoot for stage races in Korea, South Africa, France and Czech Republic, as well as the usual smattering of UK races and for me the bread and butter work in the Time Trials.
Last week also saw me appear at Deloitte House on the edge of Olympic Park, for an evening to celebrate International Women’s Day. I was included in an illustrious panel to discuss the benefits of women’s sport, the way in which we can inspire more women and promote to them the benefits of sport and how London 2012 and the media coverage of the Games will ensure more women feel they are able to participate at any level.
It was a very interesting evening, with some great questions at the end of it and everyone had some interesting points to make. The role and importance of the National Governing bodies for sport came up time and again, as the panel and audience felt these organisations had the biggest impact and power on the promotion of sport to women and for women.
The subject of equality on events and distances competed over came up, as well as the difference in media coverage. We discussed how newspapers and television news stories are seemingly dominated by the men’s sports of football, cricket and rugby. However, the point regarding celebrity and whether every news report really is about sport, or whether there is a mistake in thinking men get more coverage because they have more written about their private lives and other none sporting subjects, means that perhaps the balance is not as bad as is often reported. Perhaps it is more to do with the sort of news that we are forced into hearing about and maybe the sports sections would do well to balance this out with results and the associated and necessary commentary rather than trying to dig up some dirt.
Of the women who are not attracted to sport, the reasons or excuses that come up the most seem to be along the lines of, “it’s not a feminine thing to do”, “I don’t want muscles” or “I couldn’t possibly be as good as the women you see on TV.”
These reasons seem to indicate we need more encouragement for women at grass roots, some less intimidating activities and perhaps things they can do with their families too. Obviously I am biased, but I was delighted to point out that cycling has the sort of inclusive nature we were discussing. From Time Trials attended by the whole family, to sportives traversing the British countryside we are blessed with a range of events that welcome riders at all levels.
For now though, I am concentrating on the elite end of the spectrum and the final few weeks of pure training before the racing is added in to the programme.
Out here in Mallorca we have two bases for the duration of the camp and in this first week are based in Alcudia, before we transfer across to Santa Maria for the final 10 days of the trip. With clear blue skies and 20 degrees since we have been here, it has been perfect for blasting over the mountains and my 4-5 hours a day remit has felt far shorter.
I’ll check in again after the camp with news of how my time with the Blue Peter camera crew went! Now where is the sticky back plastic!