Women’s race at Smithfield Nocturne 2009

A women’s race has been one of the big missing components from the Smithfield Nocturne‘s first two editions. But in 2009 that is set to change with the announcement of the Women’s Elite Criterium in the programme.

Having recently started writing about that side of the sport I think it’s fair to say that its omission was as much a reflection of the likely numbers as anything. A couple of years ago you would perhaps have been pushed to get a decent sized field.

This year, from what I’ve seen, there should be more than enough competitive women in London and the South East to make up the required numbers. My understanding is that they need 30 entries for it to take place. It says E123, which might miss out a huge swathe of women who are just coming into the sport this season as 4th Cats, but if you’ve got the points, make it a date.

Here’s what the course looks like

And here’s my top reasons why you should sign up to ride it:

1. It is the most fantastic atmosphere to ride in. Having ridden the folding bike and Press/All-Star races the last two years I can safely say that there a few occasions when a lumper like me gets to feel like a pro and hear the massive roar of people packed in all round the course.

2. It’s a fantastic course to ride. It may not look much on paper but the bottom corners on Snow Hill are fast and the sort of thing that gives you butterflies. In fact all the corners are exciting to ride and it’s so fast that you are buzzing all the way round, totally ignoring how much it hurts to be riding that fast.

3. You owe it to yourself to ride. Charlie Easton has been a big agitator for getting it to happen and credit to James Pope at Face Partnership for responding in the right way to the criticisms about the lack of a women’s race. It’s now up to you to make sure it happens.

So if you know a woman who races and holds an E123 licence, then sign up. The price tag is, in my opinion, a good reflection of what it costs to make races like this happen. It’s also a good reflection of how good racing at Smithfield is.

I might not get the chance to show my lack of speed this year but if it means that women’s racing has a place at this high profile event, then I’m more than happy to cede my place on the circuit.

So make sure you sign up for the Women’s Elite Criterium at the Smithfield Nocturne

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