Emma Silversides is a professional cyclist for the Lotto Belisol team and is based in Belgium. Here she shares her insight into the continental women’s scene.
I am writing this blog from the middle of the Channel- I could be considered a frequent visitor to these waters this month! I spent only three full days in Belgium. Enough time to move out of my apartment, secure a contract for next year and return my Pinarello to the team (no one is allowed to keep the bike, I was sorry to part with such a lovely frame). With all this done I am now looking forward to a stress-free October.
My coach encourages me to keep active in the off-season; in reality I do not need any encouragement! I will ride the bike if I feel like it, but more often than not I will enjoy a run or a swim. The first few sessions of anything other than cycling usually play havoc with the muscles, however!
For my friends in England it is a mystery how someone ‘so fit’ struggles to walk up and down stairs simply because they ‘went for a run yesterday’! It is a reminder that, despite working your body into a top condition for your specific sport, there are still many other muscles in the body that are not being engaged! Building up things slowly is important in order to avoid injury; something I certainly do not need right now!
I can not report much from the cycling scene in Belgium since all the best action was in Mendrisio. I watched the women’s road race from the Eurosport studio alongside Sean [Yates] and Matt [White]. From the comfort of an armchair it would be easy to judge rider’s performances against what I have witnessed throughout the season, but I think that there are too many outside elements in a one-day event to make such a judgement when you do not know all the facts.
Do not forget that to be on the start line in the first place puts you among the world’s best; an achievement in itself. I have read in places that the British performances in Mendrisio were disappointing, if this is your opinion I would like to say that you should not let it overshadow what our girls have achieved this season- Emma [Pooley] has two World Cup wins and a Grand Tour to her name, Lizzie [Armitstead] has three young riders’ jerseys in Grand Tours and Nicole [Cooke] several stage wins in Grand Tours. Also remember that several of these riders are in the top echelon on the track or in cyclo-cross. I think we have plenty to be proud about where our female cyclists are concerned!