Q & A – Annie Simpson (Drops)


A new recruit to the Drops cycling team, Annie Simpson donned her striking Prendas kit for the Tour of Reservoir last weekend

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Q & A – Annie Simpson (Drops)

1. What was the toughest stage/part of the Women’s Tour of Reservoir
Annie: I had never ridden the Women’s Tour of Reservoir before, but have always seen the pictures and heard the horror stories. Having been at University in Newcastle for three years, I was well aware of how unforgiving the weather in the North East can be, but in April I wasn’t really expecting snow!

The hardest part of the race for me was Stage 2 and I think it was probably the distance. 111km is pretty long for a British women’s race, and seemed especially long compared to my last race which was the CX National Champs in January!


It is great though that the Women’s racing in the UK is getting tougher, as the country definitely has the calibre of rider to tackle it. Having only very recently joined the Drops Cycling Team, my training hadn’t really been geared to a) racing road & b) racing so soon; so I was well aware I was going to find the race tough. Thankfully I had some very talented team mates that came up with goods, and I can’t be too upset with 17th overall after being absent from the road scene for a fair few years.

2. The weather was epic – how much of the team clothing did you have to wear during the race?
Annie: Yes, it was down near zero degrees each day and felt just like cyclo cross season again! I had a fair bit of kit on which had thankfully landed with me in good time thanks to Prendas. I went for A prendas undervest, my Santini race fit long sleeve and then the Santini equivalent of a Gabba, shorts and legwarmers both days. I had expected to feel cold but I was near perfect. I had put warm up balm on my legs under the leg warmers and all over my hands too. A trick I learnt for cross but it definitely seems to help. Drops oversocks and Prendas winter gloves to finish it off. It really helps having all the right kit, as I really didn’t give the weather a second thought once I got into race mode.


Karla and Annie in the Prendas kit for Drops at the freezing cold Tour of Reservoir

3. What stresses and challenges does racing in such cold weather and strong winds place on a rider in races like the ones on Saturday and Sunday? How do you know what to wear before you start pedalling in anger?
Annie: It is always a tough decision and takes a fair bit of deliberation within the team. I would always prefer to be slightly over dressed than underdressed, but you can’t really stress about it too much. Just pick it, stick your number on and get on with it. We had extra gloves and waterproofs in the team car if the weather took a turn for the worst but thankfully Sunday was a cold but clear day.

4. Riding the road must be very different to both MTB and Cross – what differences have you found going from MTB say where there is little bunch riding compared to the road
Annie: Yes it was a huge shock to the system to be back in a bunch of 100 after a few years of mainly CX & MTB, where there is very little bunch racing. And that was my main issue, the bunch! Few years ago, I used to feel confident moving around in the bunch and holding my position, and this weekend I did struggle with that. A little out of practise ;). But I am sure it will come back with the more races I do.

The training has been completely different too. With MTB races being a lot more self paced and shorter, and with cyclo-cross having a lot of emphasis on power, I have probably spent more time in the gym than banking long road miles over the past few years. But throwing myself back into national level racing so soon has definitely highlighted where I need to change up my training to aid the road racing. I am still going to be focusing on some key MTB races this season, and of course the cyclo cross season for Hope Tech, so now I need to find the right balance in my training to do it all.

5. The stage on Sunday was pretty hilly – how does that race compare to other road races you have done?
Annie: Compared to UK races, it was a refreshing change. I love the harder, hillier races and have always wanted more events like that in the UK. The road racing scene has changed so much since I was racing it full time in 2012, and everything so far seems to be for the better. It’s great to have two day races too that really require strong teams and tactics to make the racing.

6. Finally, what is your next race for the team?
Annie: I am heading out to Luxembourg at the end of April for a three day UCI race, then I will be racing in Lincoln GP which I am really looking forward too. Again another British race I have never done. Then mid-May the team splits, half go to Tour of California and and I go with the rest to Tour d’Occitane in France. Looking forward to getting stuck back into some international racing. I have raced at this level before and just hope I can do my job for the Drops Ladies and help them keep bringing home some more fantastic results like they have been getting in Bira this past week.



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK