With the annual year-end party only days away, it seemed like a good time to look back on the 2014 season and take the opportunity to thank everyone - club members, training friends, and the many sponsors - for their support and encouragement during the year. It is also, admittedly, an opportunity to brag about the season’s results. But when the team has achieved so much in a year, why not brag a little?
Previous women’s teams were no strangers to the podium, a fact that is evident from the slew of leader’s jerseys hanging from the GSC Club office walls, acquired by GS women over the past 6 years. However, the results achieved in 2014 were particularly consistent and widespread. Here is a quick summary in numbers. The 2014 team collected:
- 2 General Classifications (GC) wins and 6 additional GC podiums;
- 4 Stage wins and 23 additional Top Five placings;
- 1 Top Ten placing at Canadian Nationals;
- 3 Top Ten placings at UCI Events;
- 6 Tuesday Nighter wins (including 1 Pineapple and 1 Melon Prime);
- 2 Spring Series wins; and
- 1 Gran Fondo 1st place finish.
In case you are not familiar, here is a quick introduction to the women who amassed such accolades in 2014. The team is made up of 6 women - Morgan Cabot, Alysia Withers, Justine Clift, Claire Cameron, Jenn McConkey, and Erin Redl - who each have somewhere between 2 and 10 years experience in racing, each have full-time non-cycling careers, and each possess a general love of all things bikes. GSC was also lucky to sponsor guest riders Alison Jackson and Ivy Audrain during BC Superweek.
The 2014 season began in March with cold, wet, and hard racing in the Escape Velocity Spring Series (except for Justine, who was doing her early season training in California’s prestigious races like Redlands and San Dimas. Lucky girl). Then in April and May, the team was busy with local races - Barry’s Roubaix and Race the Ridge - and travelling to Washington for the Tour of Walla Walla and the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race.
The month of June also required a lot of travelling, with some team members attending the Capital Stage Race in Olympia, the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series (BC Provincials) in Victoria, and the Banff Bike Fest. Some even travelled to Quebec and Ontario to race in the elite Grand Prix Gatineau and Canadian Nationals Road Race. Then in July, the team culminated their season with the well-known BC Superweek.
Most recent in our memory is Alison Jackson in GS colors on the podium many times during BC Superweek. Earlier in the season, Justine Clift did the same thing, on podiums at Enumclaw, Walla Walla, Race the Ridge, and the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series. Claire Cameron and Morgan Cabot cleaned up at Spring Series and the Tuesday Nighters, and Alysia Withers pulled in results in Category 3 at Walla Walla and the Capital Stage Race.
In addition to a long list of race results, the women also measure their success this year in their ability to work together as a team. Morgan Cabot recalls the Walla Walla stage race as her favorite memory of the season saying, “It was our first occasion for the season to really ride as a team at a bigger event, and it was then that I realized how well we could work together as a team for a team result - not just individuals riding alone.”
While “teamwork” may seem like an incredibly obvious part of being on a team, most probably underestimate the challenges of working together as a team in road racing -- especially with the recreational nature of a team like GSC, without a professional team manager and without month-long team training camps. For the GSC women, the successful teamwork comes from experience and communication, but mostly from selfless riding - valuing a team result above individual goals.
Aside from the racing, another big success of the season for the women’s team was the development of women’s cycling programs for the club. This was the first year that the women’s team organized regular women’s rides and a Women’s Skills Clinic. The clinic took place on four consecutive Wednesday evenings in May and, capped at 30 participants, quickly sold out, drawing women from within GSC and from other local cycling clubs, and from the general public. Erin Redl says, “Our intention was to develop a stronger community for women’s cycling, encouraging more women to develop their skills and enjoy group riding. I think we made some progress, and we’re really looking forward to repeating and improving these programs next year.”
With another year of experience and memories behind them, the women are now enjoying the amazing time of year when, as Alysia Withers describes, “...the training stops, and we ride with no purpose. We treat ourselves with coffee and waffle stops, have great conversations about life, laugh a lot, soak in the sunshine, and reminisce on the things we love about rolling on two wheels.” This sunny November is perfect for simply riding for fun and recharging for next year.
Glotman•Simpson Cycling is proud of its far-reaching involvement in Vancouver's cycling community and of its history of bringing novice riders into the local racing scene. If you are interested in riding and racing with the GS women's team now or next year, contact Morgan Cabot.