Helen with team mates outside a Hackney cafe
Helen with team mates outside a Hackney cafe

Helen McKay recalls meeting the team and navigating potholes

I can't say that doing a photo-shoot is something that I do often, or feel completely at ease doing (you may find it hard to believe, but none of us are catwalk models) so on the morning of the shoot I was feeling doubly nervous.

I was doubly nervous because this would be the first time the team would meet as Team CTC.

The women's racing scene is even smaller than the women's cycling scene (which we all hope will change), so we are not strangers. That said, there's a kind of nervousness that comes with meeting people you know in new circumstances. This manifested itself in nervous giggles. Luckily Nikki found an age-old method of breaking the ice by stepping in a doggy-do.

We had been asked to meet in a café in Hackney which was great because it meant we could add caffeine into the mix of nervous giggles and our natural inability to understand the poor photographer’s instructions.  Herding cats would have been easier.

It was pretty chilly out, so the green jackets - yes very green and any comments on their green-ness have probably been uttered by one or other of us, but we all warmed to it - were very welcome and proved that two coats were better than one.

After some group shots outside the café, the photographer bravely suggested that we get on our bikes and go into the marshes for some action shots. Asking us to ride together in a group was OK, but then asking that we did it so that each person could be seen, whilst at the same time avoiding the large potholes, riding towards her, and smiling, resulted in a lot of takes and much more giggling.

Having got thoroughly cold whilst getting individual portraits done, we raced back to the café for lunch and a manager’s briefing, going through calendar, kit, bikes, etc.

Parting ways that afternoon, I felt that we had taken an important first step in bonding and becoming a team. It is not possible to say what results we will have during the year, but if we can laugh together, we are half way to success already.

Helen McKay