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This Girl Did!

How Cat Ferguson won the first Round of the Proper Northern Road Race

Cat Ferguson (Shibden Hope Tech Apex) blazed to an astonishing final lap victory at the Capernwray Road Race on 12 March 2023. Starting the final lap over two minutes down on the breakaway pair, she and Sammie Stuart (DAS-Handsling) set off on a speculative chase that ultimately led to them claiming the top two steps on the podium. We asked Cat for her report on what it was like to take part in the race. Here's what she wrote.

The Peloton

A big thank you to Cold Dark North for organising Capernwray Road Race. The organisation of the event was amazing, everything was super clear and on time making the day much more enjoyable and stress free from a racer's perspective. (We aim to please, Ed!)

As it was the first road race of my season and first road race as a junior i had no expectations going into the race but to just have fun. This I definitely did all throughout the race. The QOM competition was a big contribution to this. My original plan wasn’t to sprint for the QOMs, but to stay with the front group on the climb. However, half way through the race I found myself regularly up there at the finish line of each lap. So I decided to give the QOM competition a go and in the end was delighted to only lose out by 1 point to the eventual competition winner, Sammie Stuart.

Bell Lap QOM Hunting

The race then seemed to go sour after lap 4 as 2 riders from two of the main teams (Boompods and Pro Noctis) slipped of the front meaning chasing was difficult. Pro Noctis in particular were doing a good job of disrupting our team's chase. On the penultimate climb I still felt fairly fresh, so put an attack in to simultaneously try get the final QOM points and try to get away. My aim was to avoid a hectic bunch sprint and have a 3rd or 4th secured by the finish line. I never thought it would be possible to catch the two girls out front who now had a 2 minute gap.

Ellen McDermott (Boompods) and Bexy Dew (Pro Noctis) off the front

At the bell, Sammie and I had a gap and communicated well together to keep extending the distance between us and the peloton. I was really surprised to then catch the leaders who had split up on the windy back side of the course, playing to our advantage. But I was even more surprised when I crossed the finish line first in a sprint against a rider of Sammie's caliber! I am so pleased for my teammates too, with Imogen placing 5th and Esther 19th in our first race together. That also meant that we won the team prize - a great addition to the race too.

Esther Wong finishing strongly
Imogen Wolff pipping Bexy Dew for 5th
Sammie happy with 2nd and the QOM prize

Thanks again to Cold Dark North for a brilliant day and to all the riders who made the race as fun as it was, I will definitely be back for the next round!

We also asked Cat about her preparations and about what's next?

Regarding my preparation for the race, I did as I normally do for most races with a rest day and activation ride the day before. However, with this being a new type of racing (prior to being in the junior category all youth road races were around an hour) this was definitely quite a step up from riding around a flat circuit for an hour! Much more enjoyable of course.

I am now getting ready for my first Junior Nations Cup this weekend where I am riding for Team GB in Italy ~ Trofeo Alfredo Binda. This race is very similar in length and elevation gain to Capernwray ~ which was another great reason for me to race Capernwray and quite a confidence boost knowing that I can do well on that type of course!

Best of luck Cat!

Entries are open for Round Two at Oakenclough on 30 April - Enter Here.

Thanks to Ellen Isherwood (@lancsracingscene) for the awesome photos of the race - her album can be found here.

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