Bedford 3 Day is a classic event on the women's calendar and has been running since 2005. As one of a very few stage races for women in the UK it's always a highlight of the season and a chance for some really solid racing.
Jon Miles, race organiser, has written an interesting document on the rich history of the race and illustrates how many of the UK's talent have found their feet racing here.
Here's the Race manual
10.00 am - Stage 1 - ITT - 3 km
13.30 pm - Stage 2 - RR - 55 km
10.00 am - Stage 3 - TTT - 7 km
13.30 pm - Stage 4 - RR - 80 km
10.00 am - Stage 5 - RR - 76 km
Stage 1 (Prologue) - Individual Time Trial (ITT)
Stage 1 is a short individual time trial: each competitor against the clock. The racing starts at 10am with riders starting in reverse order of the start list.
This is normally a really important stage for individual riders to get time on the bunch. Commit to the time trials and you can get an early lead in the overall race.
On the way up to the race we stopped by Scimitar to pick up our brand new gazebo and flags which were absolutely fantastic throughout the whole weekend, providing a perfect basecamp for us between races.
Stage 2 - Road Race
Stage 2 follows on Saturday afternoon with the first road race of the weekend.
The peloton will take in 4 laps of this 14km course.
With reasonably rolling terrain, this stage tends to end in a bunch sprint.
As the first road race of the weekend, we had a huge bunch of 90 excited riders so ineveitbly the race got off to a rather unsteady start.
Unfortunately Alice was caught in an early crash, and although it didn't take her down or result in any injury, did cause a mechanical forcing her to stop and quickly fix her bike.
Although Alice was only stopped for a few moments, the rest of the peloton soon swept away, leaving her to ride alone into the wind. In order to be allowed to continue the weekend's racing, she needed to finish within 10 minutes of the leading bunch. At race pace, the main peloton was speeding around the course at over 23 mph, so this took a pretty big effort!
Meanwhile Jenny was having a fantastic race, right at the pointy end of the peloton.
Every road race has intermediate sprint competitions and hill climb competitions at specific points on various laps. Jenny surprised many of the usual suspects by coming from the back to win both intermediate sprints, putting herself into the green jersey at the end of Stage 2.
Coming into the final 500 metres of the race Jenny was perfectly positioned for the finish, ready to sprint yet again when suddenly there was a big crash ahead of her. With nowhere to go Jenny was also caught in the crash and came down hard.
Despite deep cuts to her face, damage to her bike and bruising all over as other cyclsits piled into the prone riders, Jenny was soon up again and riding through to the finish line to claim her green jersey.
Thankfully both Jenny and her bike were not too badly damaged, so after a trip to Bedford A+E and a local bike shop, everything was patched up ready for day 2.
Stage 3 - Team Time Trial (TTT)
Stage 3 starts the second day of racing with a team trial.
Teams ride together to try to complete the short course in the quickest time.
A well drilled team can strengthen their lead on this stage.
With just two riders against other squads of up to six riders we expected to lose some time here on the overall GC but the girls rode a very tight and fast time trial, finishing above a couple of much bigger teams despite the clear disadvantage.
Stage 4 - Road Race
Stage 4 keeps us busy on Sunday afternoon with 4 full laps (and one partial lap) of the course.
With Sprint and Hill competitions throughout, the pace will be high.
The girls still seem to have some energy left...jumping for joy ahead of Stage 4
Some tired legs today & strong winds caught a few out. Main bunch followed by a group of 12 and another of about 10. Blustery #Bedford3Day— Cycle Engage UK (@CycleEngageUK) April 30, 2017
Stage 5 - Road Race
To round out the weekend the racing finishes with our third road race of the weekend.
With 6 laps of this 13 km course the finishing hill usually causes the most casualties with riders' legs starting to suffer after back to back racing all weekend.
After starting the race really badly with a mechanical right at the start of Stage 2 and then not having the best race in Stage 4 I was happy to finish in the front bunch in today's Stage 5 (despite even more mechanical problems - I had to change gear with my barrel adjuster by the end!!) It was fantastic to have Jenny in the Sprints jersey after Stage 2. I was so proud to watch her moving around the bunch in green 😍 #Bedford3Day is always such a great experience and I'm sure I learn so much every time. But after 160 miles of racing this weekend I'm pretty tired now!! 😴 . . #womenscycling#fromwhereiride#devon#roadslikethese#devongirlscan#thisgirlcan#womenonbikes#cyclelikeagirl#BuildingPerformance
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