Deeping St Nicholas cycling starlet Jessica Woodworth (15) is determined to make her presence felt at the biggest competition of her career so far later this month.
The Bourne Wheelers rider will be flying the flag for her club and the East Midlands at the UK Inter-Regional Road Championships at Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, in three weeks’ time.
I’ve progressed and got to know everyone, I found cycling a lot more enjoyable and now I don’t mind going out and training.Jessica Woodworth
Jessica, a student at Spalding High School, is part of an increasingly impressive line of promising young cyclists to emerge in the south Lincolnshire area alongside fellow Deeping St Nicholas teenager Tilly Gurney (16) and Bourne Wheelers clubmate Maddie Gammons (15).
Tilly and Maddie both competed at the Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester over the weekend a month after Jessica impressed at the arguably more Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix in August as part of the East Midlands team that narrowly finished second.
Jessica said: “I used to swim quite a bit but then I was given the choice of a few sports and ended up coming to a Monday Go-Ride session at Bourne Wheelers.
“I wasn’t too fond of it at first but as I’ve progressed and got to know everyone, I found cycling a lot more enjoyable and now I don’t mind going out and training.”
Jessica took up cycling less than three years ago but in that time, she has won seven club titles at scratch, handicap, ten-mile and hill climb levels.
Derick Woodworth, Jessica’s dad, said: “Jessica got into RideLondon when the coach heading up the East Midlands team for girls aged 14 to 16 looked at some of the results over the year and thought she would be good enough to put forward for the race.
“It was a fantastic event where each region had their own gazebo and just before the girls’ team talk, the cyclist who won the women’s event came in and borrowed Jessica’s bike rollers.”
Mark Botteley, Jessica’s coach at Bourne Wheelers, said: “It’s difficult to tell where all these riders like Jess will end up but if you ask her to do something, she’ll do it and she’s totally committed to the sport.
“But having seen how well she raced in London and the confidence that gave her, Jess may well have the self-belief she needs to make me think that you’ll see a completely different person next year.”