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Woburn Abbey Bedfordshire Cycletta

Jun 30, 2014 | Race Recaps | 6 comments

Getting up at 5.40am on a Sunday morning isn’t ideal, however when it’s to meet up with a friend to take part in a Women’s Only bike ride around Woburn Abbey in the sunshine, well then it’s a little easier.

After a last minute panic on Saturday night when I discovered that the first tube wouldn’t get me to St Pancras in time for our 7.04 tube, I opted to catch a cab to the station with time for a coffee and some breakfast. I was excited to be borrowing a bike from British Bike Hire, not least because I was excited to trial a road bike, but also because it meant I didn’t have to bring my bike on the train!

I LOVED the road bike. I want one!

But back to the ride.

Originally I signed up for the 70K ride with my friend Anna, however having not cycled since my triathlon, and with 30+ miles in my legs from this week’s marathon training, I decided that it was probably for the best to drop down to the 20K ride. Plus I would get to cycle with my Mum!

The three distances were set off in waves, with the 70K-ers first, followed by those taking on the 40K distance. We were one of the last groups to go

The first part of the ride was through the gorgeous grounds of Woburn Abbey. I was a little wobbly on the road bike, but wow, it was fast. It felt effortless pedalling, almost like there was someone giving me a helping hand on my back pushing me up the hills! It was definitely a little scary using the brakes on the front of the dropped handlebars, and my hands hurt a little from gripping so tightly with fear!

Once we’d left the park the route took us along the roads, whilst these were open to cars, they were quite quiet and well signposted and marshalled.

Halfway through the course there was a snack stop that was full of biscuits, jelly babies, bananas and water. I didn’t really feel like I’d earned a snack yet, but that didn’t stop me tucking in. About 200m from the pit stop the chain came off my bike. Luckily my Mum was with me, so she was able to help me get the chain back on.

Another 500m down the road and the chain came off again.

I really couldn’t work out how to use the gears, and although I thought I had it figured out, I clearly didn’t. I kept it in a middle-ish gear, (I think) and just left it there, not wanting to lose the chain again.

Whilst cycling along I heard a little commotion going on behind me, and before I knew it Victoria Pendleton cycled past me! I had seen her earlier in the day doing interviews, but hadn’t seen her on the course. Seeing her power past, easily talking to a camera crew whilst cycling uphill was all the inspiration I needed to pick up the pace.

For a while I was cycling behind her, which kept me pushing to try to catch up to her. Obviously I didn’t!

I saw Dave, my stepdad cheering from the sidelines, although he was so busy taking photos of Victoria Pendleton that he nearly missed me cycling after her.  I felt like I had to apologise to those watching that I wasn’t an Olympic celebrity after cycling through the group straight after VP.

Just a few deers crossing!

20K were over so quickly, and I can’t believe how much I’d enjoyed it. The ride was so smooth on the road bike, and I felt so fast, although I obviously wasn’t!

Finished in 1.19.34- with an average pace of 15km per hour.

Managed to snag another photo with my new best friend, I mean Olympic champ.

I met up with Dave and waited for my Mum and Anna to finish their rides. I think they both really enjoyed their races and we’re all thinking of signing up for another of the Human Race Cyclettas in the Autumn. And you should sign up for one too, if there’s one near you!

Have you ever taken part in a bike race? Do you have any that you could recommend? 

I was given a press place in the Bedford Cycletta, and complimentary bike hire from British Bike Hire although all lusting after the road bike is my own. 


  1. Tess @ FitBits

    I’ve just bought a road bike and I’m totally in love with it! It does take a while to get used to the gears though, I’ve commuted on mine every day since I bought it at the beginning of the month and have been out on a few long rides. It’s in for a much needed first service now as it’s got a bit cranky, prob from overuse. I wanna enter some bike races and events but got a wedding to pay for next month first!

    • Charlie

      OOh a wedding, how exciting! Glad you’re loving the bike and reassuring to know that it wasn’t just me being stupid with the gears!

  2. Elle Linton

    I really, REALLY wanna do one of the Cycletta events but they are just all so far away! Am considering making a weekend of the New Forest event in September though!
    Also, interesting to see your time for 20km – I’m doing 22km in the london duathlon in september and am wondering how long it will take me to cycle that distance (after running 10km)

    • Charlie

      I know, although our train was actually just over an hour and £18 return! I wouldn’t take my time too literally as that includes waiting for my mum a few times, 2 chain issues and a snack stop! Would say more like 1hr!!

  3. Lauren @Poweredbypb

    I really need to get a road bike, my cheap hybrid is so heavy and slow and it really puts me off cycling. This sounds like a great event.

  4. Hannah

    It started as a dare and my husband still thinks I should do the cycletta today however my bike is out of action. I did look at hiring but there’s zero info about cost etc on the website 🙁


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