Women’s Cycling caught up with rising star, Josie Knight, on her recent UK adventures at the Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series. Guesting for the Sunsport Velo WRT below is Josie’s account:
“Riding the tour series was such a good experience and even though I may not have got the results I wanted for myself or for the team I definitely learnt a huge amount!
The first round was in Motherwell Glasgow. I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest I had spent last year watching them on the tv thinking they looked like great fun and that I’d love to one day be able to ride them. Little did I know a year later I would be!
I was pretty nervous for the first one as I don’t like uncertainty and I really had no idea what to expect from them. I knew that having focused on track for the last few years my technical ability might not be quite up to scratch as cornering has never been my strong point especially not in a bunch of riders!
But nonetheless I was excited to see what the evening of racing had in store for me.
I was picked up by Tony Orell of Sunsportvelo RT who was my manager for the races and who had kindly let me guest for his team. We then went to the course and I went to investigate it as it was really playing on my mind. I like knowing what I am racing, hence why I’m such a fan of track haha they don’t differ much!! Once I’d walked the course I felt a little more relaxed it was just like a square really 4 corners a downhill, a uphill how hard could it be I thought to myself… (I later laughed at my mentality haha) On the start line good friend and track teammate Lydia warned me of the speed and told be to be prepared to suffer in the first ten minutes… I thought to myself okay that’s fine I’ll remember that. The countdown started and boom like a standing start 500m everyone was gone off the line, as the teams are ranked in order on the start line it meant that my team as we are new where at the back -not ideal! So I was on the back foot from the off but no excuse at all, nothing could’ve prepared me for the speed of that start. I never once saw the front of the bunch and when the bunch split to pieces I was at the back and for me that was any chance at doing well gone really. I remember looking at my Garmin and thinking shoot I’m dying. We were 5minutes into the race! I fought on for another 40mins with my group of 15 riders or so and focused on setting a goal as I always like to set some sort of goal for every race regardless of where you are, so I aimed to win the sprint from my bunch and focused on getting good positioning unit the final corner and hitting it. Lucky for me it worked out and I ended up finishing in 30th position, I was unhappy with it really but then it was my first one and I didn’t know what to expect so I wasn’t too disheartened I had learnt a lot.
The next round then came a week later in Redditch, again I had no idea what the course was like for this one so the first thing I did on arrival was walk it. This course was a lot more technically challenging and this made me nervous but I tried relax and focus on the job. The start of this one was a little better and I got myself into a good position and then we got to a nasty chicane in the road which dropped downhill quite suddenly due to inexperience I found myself pushed into the barrier and having to unclip again this knocked me from the front group but I fought on in a group of 20 just behind the front group to finish in 23rd still not a brilliant result but 7 places better than the week before.
My last round was then a week later again and this time in Stoke on Trent, I was eager to do well here as it was my last one. I again rode the course chose what lines I thought to be good ones and was ready for business. Again a super fast start for us women and a hectic neutral lap with a crash held me and a big bunch up but we fought back on only for me to be caught up in another crash and needing a change of bike, only the bike change was totally the wrong size for me and sadly with the thought of important events ahead I pulled out to prevent injury. I was bitterly disappointed as I wanted to get a good result and I felt I owed one to the team as well for all the work they put unit me over the few weeks of racing. The support around the races was fantastic I couldn’t have asked for more. I also can’t thank No. 1 Orla Hendron for putting me in touch with Tony. No. 2 Tony for inviting me to ride and providing me with all I needed and also all the staff at Sunsport Velo RT, watch them in future the team is set for big things!!”
More about the Matrix Fitness GP Series:
The Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series entered its sixth season in 2016, running alongside the well-established Pearl Izumi Tour Series on spectator friendly town and city centre circuits
- Round One – Tuesday 17 May – Motherwell
- Round Two – Thursday 26 May – Redditch
- Round Three – Thursday 2 June – Stoke-on-Trent
- Round Four – Monday 6 June – Stevenage
- Round Five – Tuesday 7 June – Croydon
- Round Six – Thursday 9 June – Portsmouth