Fun, friendly, fast… racing as a team | Clare Gillott

Ahead of Round 4 of the LWR Summer League (Crits at the Park #7) we invited Clare Gillott of Les Filles Racing Team to tell us a bit about racing as part of a team. Les Filles RT is a member of LWR, read more about their racing team here. We hope you enjoy Clare’s words and make sure you look out for the fun, friendly and fast Les Filles on the race circuit!

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If you’re racing with a Cycling Club, or as a Private Member, it’s highly likely that you’ve been on the start line with members of a women’s race team. Quite a few teams have sprung up over the past few years with more popping up each time we enter a new race season, and also some disappearing. So what’s it all about and if you’re thinking about joining a team what do you need to consider?

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I’ve been lucky enough to find a home with Les Filles Racing Team. We race nationally and locally, train, eat (lots of) cake, drink beer/wine, socialise and ultimately have a lot of fun together. We all work full time and pay for our own bikes, kit and race fees. Whilst, due to an unfortunate accident in 2015, I don’t race any longer I still stay involved with the team; helping out at races and getting involved with the social side of things. Not all teams are like this of course; and not everyone is looking for the type of team that Les Filles are.

Being on a team can be a lot of fun and it can make a big difference being at a race on the start line with teammates. Also, racing as part of a team to achieve the team’s race goals can be very rewarding. If you’re planning on targeting some of the bigger national races this can involve a lot of travel up and down the country, which is always a lot better with some team mates to share the journey (and costs) with. Some races, such as the Tour Series for example, will prioritise spaces to teams before allocating any leftover spaces to individual riders.

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Before taking the decision to join a team it’s important to understand what your own personal goals are before approaching teams, or accepting invitations if you’ve been invited by a team.   This is key to ensuring that you find yourself on the right team for you, so that you can get the most out of your racing. For example; are you wanting to race local or national races? Straight forward as it seems but, if you want to target national races and are on a team targeting local races you may still find yourself on that start line alone.

Once you know what you want, it’s important to understand what will be expected of you as a rider and what are the goals of the team. Number 1 on the list will be commitment. Generally, most teams are looking for any combination of the below commitments, depending on the team and their goals:

  • Turn up and race: Pretty straight forward, but this is ultimately where a Race Team differs from a Club
  • Train and ride with the team (including training camps)
  • Race national level races (including traveling up and down the country)
  • Get results
  • Race as part of a team: Are you willing to put your individual race goals to one side to help a teammate and achieve the goals of the team?
  • Fulfil sponsor commitments: Be that through social media, in interviews or attending sponsor days (this will be particularly important if the team has kit and/or bike sponsors)
  • Volunteer at races: Help race organisers with marshalling, registration and judging/results. It’s important to give back and support women’s racing, where possible.
  • Have FUN: I’m pretty sure that this isn’t limited to Les Filles only! ;o)

There’s probably some things that I’ve missed here, but hopefully this should give you an idea!

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Thanks to Clare for her insight! If you want to share your experiences with us too, drop us a line londonwomensracing@gmail.com

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