First woman cyclist makes it to top Shropshire team

The first woman to make it into a prestigious Shropshire road cycling racing team speaks to Rebecca Dutton about fitting training in with family life and her hopes for the next season.

 

For Shrewsbury-based police constable Victoria Grimmer, cycling is more than a hobby.

It’s not only a way of keeping fit but a chance to push herself in as many races as she can.

She was even back on her bike two-weeks after giving birth to her second daughter.

The 31-year-old was announced recently as one of the newest members of the Paramount Performance Cycling Racing Team.

The successful team is made up of riders handpicked from within the Shrewsbury-based Paramount Cycling club and last year, both the club and the team came top in the West-Midlands points classification.

Victoria is the first woman chosen to make the team and will join Graham South, 40, Tomos Owens, 14, Elliot Jones, 18, Chris Wilkinson, 20 and Dave Griffiths to push the team forward next season.

“It’s a big deal,” she said. “The team will provide me with the experience in racing that I need.

“I want to get advice and training tips from them and enter into races that will play to my strengths and then succeed for the team.”

Victoria joined the club in January, 2012, and impressed members with her success in the Thursday Road Race League in Shropshire.

She  came fourth out of the women taking part in the 2012 Haute route in France, which saw her cycle 700km over seven days with 21,000 metres of climbing.  She also came third in the West Midlands Regional Road Race, which she is looking to enter again next year in Bridgnorth.

But she has to juggle training in between looking after her two daughters Poppy, three, and Matilda, four months.

The family also has to find time for her partner Greg, a fellow Shrewsbury police officer, to train for running races.

Before having children, the pair used to take part in triathlons but soon found they didn’t have time to train for all three disciplines so they both chose their favourite. Victoria picked cycling.

“I first started cycling when I met Greg in 2007,” she said. “He bought me my first bike after he got fed up with me stealing his.

“I carried on riding after we had Poppy in 2010 and then I got back on the bike two weeks after I had Matilda in 2013. With having children, you just have to manage your time but I couldn’t stop cycling. It’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Victoria is hoping becoming a member of the Paramount Performance Racing Team will enable her to race in more women-only events.

She said: “Cycling is becoming more and more popular at the moment and there are more women-only races, although still not as many as I would like.

“Women still remain underrepresented in the sport but things are changing. “Cycling really does cater for all abilities and it’s a great way for women to keep fit and take up a new hobby. You don’t have to take part in races but just enjoy the rides out.”

Victoria said Stan’s Cycles in Shrewsbury, which sponsors the team, has really helped women in the town to get on their bikes.

The shop runs regular turn-up-and-ride jaunts for women and they cycle up to 25 miles at a time.

“It’s a great way to get women more involved and I want to encourage that and help inspire other women,” Victoria said.

This season, Victoria said she will be targeting national races, as well as anything local.

“I’m hoping to get all the knowledge I can from everyone who has raced over the years. I just want to do my best and I hope that’s enough,” she said.

Ben Lawrence, managing director of Shrewsbury-based insurance broker Beaumont Lawrence, which sponsors the team, and the racing team manager, said he was excited to welcome Victoria to the team.

He said: “It’s very exciting and bodes really well for the team’s future.

“We had a fantastic season this year, becoming the top racing team in the West Midlands, and we want to keep that momentum going next year.

“During her first year with Paramount, Victoria had a really good season without much training and pretty much won every women’s race she entered. We think she’s going to get some amazing results this year.”

The Paramount Performance Cycling Racing Team is also sponsored by Stan’s Cycles, nutrition manufacturer Torq and cyclist Bob Grinsell.

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