It’s been a long, tough and mixed bag these last few months.
We’ve been working with the Bianchi Dama women’s race team for 2020, providing their kit for what was going to be an exciting season of domestic and continental racing. The team boasts a variety of talented riders capable of winning races ranging from fast, flat crits to time trials to Belgian kermesse to hilly National Series races in the hills of Northern England.
With the season up to now postponed or cancelled, the riders have been left in a limbo of unique personal situations. It hasn’t been a time to put the feet up and take stock of things. Condition needs to be kept for when racing resumes.
One of the unique things about Bianchi Dama is that every rider works or studies full time. During a normal season this presents its own set of challenges. Finding time to train, travel and take part in races while balancing professional responsibilities or a degree is a hugely impressive feat.
Doing that in the midst of a global pandemic? That’s another story, one we spoke to a couple of the team’s riders about.
” Reset, explore and rediscover”. Those are the three words Anneleen Bosma used to describe the pandemic for her. It’s a take that might feel familiar to many recreational riders. Working from home or being furloughed has left some with more time to ride and see new places in their locality they may not have noticed before.
“During lockdown I started playing around with komoot to find lots of new lanes both on and off-road. It’s been fun going to new places (ie. Cambridgeshire, Mersea Island), go back to areas I hadn’t been to in a while (High Easter), ride new trails and find new routes out of London. It’s been really refreshing to rediscover why I love cycling so much.”
It’s a similarly positive outlook from Beth Taylor who’s focused on the regenerative sides of the last few months. “lockdown has been, enlightening, restful and LONG”
“I’ve changed my training as I have much more time to train and I’ve taken up running and swimming and entered a triathlon to have a little diversity from just cycling all the time. I’ve really enjoyed the variety and it's taken me to new, beautiful places I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. It’s reminded me to open my eyes more to what’s on your doorstep and you don’t always have to go far to have a ‘holiday’ experience.”
As Beth mentions, training itself has changed alongside the routes chosen for riding. Anneleen echoes that, noting how the change in training strategy has allowed her to go a bit off piste with her ride planning.
“At first I tried to ensure I was ready for racing at any time, but once it became clear we wouldn’t be racing anytime soon, my coach and I decided it would be better to get back to base training. I’m currently testing a new training method and I’ve also been doing a bit of Zwift racing to keep my legs primed.”
Lockdown has been a time of reflection too. Whether it’s a change in living arrangements, more time at home with partners or housemates we’ve all learnt something about ourselves over the last few months. When you’re normally competing at a high level and training every day, lockdown has led to some handy tips. for the future.
We asked Anneleen and Beth what they'd learnt about themselves during lockdown:
A “The importance of rest. Before lockdown I was always rushing around training early in the morning, going to work during the day, college in the evening, then back to work to pick up my bike and get back home. Lockdown allowed me to take a step back and understand the importance of rest.”
A “As I don’t need to rush around as much at the moment (I’m currently working from home, and doing college live online), I’m able to sleep and recover more, which means I feel more prepared and rested for tougher training sessions.”
Beth: “Lockdown has taught me that I am better than I thought at handling stressful situations but need to make more time to do other things I like and not just prioritise training.”
The calendar is beginning to take some shape again after all this time away. As racing re-enters the riders’ focus, we asked what their plans were for the upcoming months.
A “I will be starting off with some Time Trials (my first one being the National 10M time trial championships on August 30th) and once it’s safe, I’m hoping to get back to road racing again. In the meantime I’ll just keep training and enjoying the lanes”
B “My plan is to focus on really building a good base and strength this winter as I’ve got the time to do so with there being no race season running into September/October :)”
You can keep up with what Anneleen, Beth and the whole team are up to via their social media channels and website.
You can also check our our Bianchi Dama Supporters Jersey here.