Happy #IWD2018 everyone!
This season in the North West, we have decided to see whether handicap racing will break down the barriers for women and encourage them to think about racing.
What is handicap racing?
Using handicaps in road racing used to be extremely popular many years ago, and it still is with age group road racing events.
The idea is that the field is split into several groups of riders who are at a similar level of ability, with each group being set off at set intervals. Each group then works together to try and stop the group behind them catching up, or to try and catch the group in front.
Why do that?
Road racing can be extremely daunting especially with the bigger fields, so having riders in smaller groups makes the racing much more approachable. You work together with your group and that builds a team ethos with the other members in your group. As you are put into groups with people of a similar standard, you are also more likely to stay together longer, so the worry about "getting dropped" isn't as prevalent.
That sounds like fun! Which events are being run as handicaps?
We currently have two women's road race events on the calendar (clicking on the link will take you directly to the event on the British Cycling website):
28 April 2018 - Southport CC - Bickerstaffe Road Races
24 June 2018 - The Racing Chance Foundation Pimbo Road Races
If the Southport event works, we will look at seeing whether we can promote another event like this later on in the season.
Is there anything else I need to know?
If you're planning on racing more than one event, it might be worthwhile thinking about getting a race licence from British Cycling. You can find more information on the British Cycling website here.