Introducing Scarpa - A Grassroots Female Cycling Team

February 02, 2018

Introducing Scarpa - A Grassroots Female Cycling Team

As you might know by now, cycling has always been a passion of ours. We even have a little Camden Watch Co team over in Switzerland. So after collaborating with Kitty Pemberton-Platt on our special cycling edition watch we took our involvement with a step further by sponsoring the all new grassroots racing team SCARPA in collaboration with Rapha Custom (which launches today).

Supporting the underdog has always spoken to us here at Camden Watch Co., even more so when the people behind it are as passionate about what they do as the SCARPA ladies are.

We took the opportunity to sit down with Kitty, Gem, Emma and Olivia and have a chat about all things cycling, a perhaps gain some behind the scenes insight of what it's like to create an all-new, all-female racing team... 

SCARPA female cycling team sponsored by Camden Watch Company

Why and when did you decide to be part of a cycling team?

KPP: I began racing in 2016/2017. It's an intimidating sport - both physically and mentally - and it's made that much harder when you don't have the comfort blanket of a team around you. As the 2017 season came to an end, one of my best friends was also looking at team options for 2018. The combination of our friendship, experience on the bike together and vision for what a female team could and should be, was the perfect set of ingredients to start, rather than simply join, a team. Gem, even though she’ll hate the compliment, has been the female who has inspired me and taught me the most on the bike so having the chance to be part of her team vision was a no brainer. After a few weeks of everything falling into place so seamlessly that we knew it was meant to be, we had the four females, team identity and vision for the year ahead. Scarpa had been born.

OC: Four years ago, I was on a 2 week tour with my club Dulwich Paragon in hot, beautiful Sri Lanka. A number of the group were racers and persuaded me that I should give it a go! I came back and got the racing bug and spent a couple of years racing with Dulwich giving everything a go; crits, road races, time trials and more recently CX. I wanted to join a team, so that I was not flying solo in races, but also sharing the experience with others from the drive to the race, but more importantly supporting each other, playing some race tactics and having some fun! I moved to Sigma Sports WRT, learning from some more experienced riders and the joy of riding the team Cannondale bike. For 2018, I wanted to focus on having some fun with some girls I’d enjoyed the racing journey with and was super excited when the Scarpa Racing plans were hatched!

EJH: Having raced as part of a club for a couple of years, I enjoyed being friends with my club mates but I’d often go to road races alone or with friends riding for different teams and would be riding for myself. I wanted to ride for a team, to get that cohesive racing nailed and to feel part of something, but wasn’t really sure where I start so I was over the moon when the message from Gem popped up in my inbox sharing their vision for Scarpa. I’m already getting the team support and we haven’t started racing together yet, which bodes very well for the season to come!

GA: I spent a season on a team where I didn't really gel with the set-up. It can be quite an intense environment, After a while, it began to grind on me a bit. I had this seed of a thought that I should try and bring together a small team that was free of politics, and focused on helping each other with our riding goals. A bit of a co-operative if you like, in that every has equal say and stake within the team. Luckily, after a nervous pitch to my wingwoman KPP, she loved the idea and was pivotal in driving us all together. We were four friends, who, for various reasons, all wanted to come together to be part of something positive and encouraging, and that's really what underpins the whole ethos of Scarpa racing for me - we will turn up, give it our best, but the focus will always be on the process and on taking positive elements from our experiences, no matter how tough. It’s about encouragement and support.

 

What is it like to be a member of team Scarpa? Tell us more about you guys.

KPP: The three other girls in our team are such strong, amazing women and unique in their own way - to be connected to them in such a special way is an absolute honour. Though only a few races into the season, having a team has changed the sport for me completely. Not only are there endless benefits of turning up to a race as a squad rather than solo, the team also provides a constant supply of support, development and trolling. People are constantly looking for something to be a part of and I’ve found my tribe, a group of misfits who have made racing something much bigger than that.

OC: First of all it's fun. There is a lot of sharing going on and a lot of chat. Like anyone, we all have our ups and downs. I’ve had some frustrating races in the mud but post race, the girls are there to pick you up. And when you or one of the others do something you’re really proud of, we’re all buzzing off each other. We’ve all been racing over the last couple of months and the support has been solid and I can’t wait until we all get to race together and have some fun on the tarmac.


EJH: I’m a big fan; we’ve started to plan the year and I can already feel the support from the team! My kit hangs in eyesight in my bedroom to remind me to get moving and knowing the girls are there doing the same motivates me even more. For me, it’s as much about learning from each other off the bike as it is on and the benefit of a team is it brings us together with our different skills and mindsets.

GA: What I love is we are all quite different riders, with our own strengths to pool. There's always stuff to learn, discuss and try. We like to think we have created a supportive and encouraging environment; on our day we are each capable of a race winning ride, so its figuring out how individually we can all play a part in trying to achieve that on the right day with the right person. Everyone also possesses a wicked sense of humour, the banter can be quite savage sometimes!

 

Why did you choose to partner with Rapha Custom and The Camden Watch Company?


KPP: Rapha has been a pivotal part of my cycling career for years and Gem has been part of the brand for many more than that. Not only are they British and close to our heart but they also offer the most premium and beautiful product on the market. We knew we wanted to shake up the female peloton with our kit, and so the announcement of Rapha Custom for 2018 couldn’t have been better timed. During the first year, we decided to keep sponsorships quite low. We need time to develop and nurture the team as organically as possible. However, partnering with Camden Watch Co. was a dream from the beginning. My relationship with them started years ago, and we joked about starting a team in the early days. Again they are British, close to our heart and share similar values to Scarpa. We’re so proud to be turning up to races with both the Rapha and Camden Watch Co logos emblazoned across our jerseys. 

OC: Getting new kit is always exciting, but one designed by the team for our team, in a cut and feel that is extremely comfy and designed for women...is something else. The support that friends of the team have given us to help make the kit design and for Rapha to support our Women’s team is a privilege. It was great fun getting to know the team at The Camden Watch Company and having them behind us, supporting us adds to the excitement of the Scarpa Racing journey.


EJH: I guess it’s a lot of cyclists dreams to have their kit made by Rapha, so that in itself is pretty ace. But it’s very cool to get to represent Camden Watch Co. and wear their logo - the artistry and detail in their products is just beautiful but I’m still a little bitter about how much better than me Jerome is at pictionary. How many teams can say their sponsors back what they do AND feed them grilled cheese?


GA: We’re really proud and excited to represent The Camden Watch Company in the 2018 season. We know how much Camden Watch Co. loves and appreciate the aesthetic of cycling, they’ve had an amazing year with the success of their beautiful KPP watch, designed in collaboration with our very own sprinter extraordinaire Kitty. To have their support demonstrates their belief in the grassroots side, and that's something important to us. We’re not interested in sporting the logo of a faceless corporation, we want to represent real and passionate people. Anneke and Jerome (the owners) are not only our supporters, but our friends. I'm not aware of any sponsor that throws a raclette party as amazing as these people.


Any upcoming cycling races where we can expect to see Scarpa?

 

KPP: The team have began racing in the Winter Series which consists of weekly circuit races. Over the next few months, expect to see us at a range of regional and national level races - circuit and road - as well as training in and around London in the Scarpa colours. 


OC: I’m teasing out the last of the CX season, heading off to Belgium for the European Single Speed competition! Then it will be road races and crits with the team and some adventure rides for the spring/summer.


EJH : Kitty and Gem have already started racing this year, whilst Olivia and I have been embracing the mud of cyclocross! The team will be tackling regional and national road and circuit races together, as well as local races in London. Always followed with a recovery beer. All support and beer welcome.

GA: We’ve a really exciting and varied racing calendar for 2018, with everything from unsanctioned adventure rides, time trials, to regional and national level road races, peppering these with local criteriums. One of the highlights is a weekly appearance at the iconic crystal palace races starting in May, continuing (fingers crossed no rain) for the whole summer. We encourage all Camden Watch Co. fans to come, chill out in the sunshine, give us a cheer, then most importantly - join us for a post race pint in the pub after! (details to follow in the future)
.

Scrap all female cycling team in London sponsored by Camden Watch Company 

So there you have it, what a team! Be sure to follow their adventures on Instagram and maybe even, as Gem says, go watch a race or two and for the all important post-race pint.

Good luck ladies! 

 And don't forget to check out the watch that we designed in collaboration with Scarpa member, Kitty Pemberton-Platt, the Camden x KPP Cycling Watch.




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