Bex Rimmington will be eager to get full value from her local knowledge when she returns to Melton for her home race this weekend.
The 34-year-old will face eerily familiar challenges when she competes in Sunday’s Women’s CiCLE Classic as part of a formidable Team WNT squad.
Melton-born and bred Bex set up home in Lancashire several years ago, but her grounding in the sport came along the borough’s country lanes and minor roads.
“It is my home race and I was desperate to do it,” she said. “I’ve been down to watch the men’s race every year so I was made up to be named in the squad.
“I have grown up riding my bike on these roads so I know where I’ll need to be at certain points of the race.”
Bex has been given race number 40 in the official start list, but as with most riders who will take the start line in Sherrard Street, she may have to focus on supporting her team-mates on the day.
Her team-mates will include world and Olympic champion Katie Archibald (no 42), British criterium champion Eileen Roe (no 44) and Gabriella Shaw (no 45) who was sixth at last year’s inaugural Classic.
Team WNT have also drafted in the help of Ian Wilkinson, the only two-time winner of the men’s international race.
“We will see how everyone’s feeling after the recce and see what everyone’s objectives and aims are then,” Bex added.
“A lot of the girls are using it as a hit-out for the Women’s Tour the week after.
“This year I’ve been helping out the team a lot, but we’ll have to see on the day if we’re running out of wheels.
“It’s going to be either sacrifice my chances or go for it myself; we’ll just play it by ear and see what happens.”
The women’s race will be held on Sunday afternoon from 2pm, with the junior men’s edition going off in the morning (9.30am).
Both will face the same tough 95km course which covers much of the men’s international race.
“It’s going to be tough, there’s no other way to describe it,” she said.
“The off-road sectors make it very unpredictable so everyone will need to be on top of their game.”
Having made her UCI debut on the Continent this year, Bex will return to Melton a better rider than when she left.
Since signing on as a full-time professional for this season when WNT took the step up to UCI status, Bex has had to get used to living out of a suitcase, or kit bag to be precise.
She made her international debut in a two-day race in Luxembourg in April and has ridden in Spain and France in recent weeks.
She will head to Slovenia next week for a one-day race and after a week at home, she then heads to the Isle of Man for the National Championships.
“It’s been crazy, but it’s so much fun,” she added. “Everything I own is in my kit bag basically.
“My best UCI result was last week in France when I was 39th. On paper it doesn’t look so great, but the temperature was in the mid-30s, I was doing bottle runs for the team and only 40 seconds off the winner going into the final climb.
“I was pretty pleased overall; it shows I’m starting to find my place in the peloton.
“Every race I come away from having learned something. You’re stepping into the unknown every time, but the amount you get back from it is incredible.”