Yesterday’s National Cyclocross Championships saw Fran Meehan add another gold medal to her collection. The Aquablue rider confirmed her dominance in the sport, seeing off the challenges from Chicago Cuttin Crew’s Maria Larkin, who took silver and XMTB McConvey Cycle’s Claire Oakley in third.
It was a race that played out exactly to the script. However Meehan, who was the clear favourite going into the race had never raced against her two closest competitors. Maria Larkin has been racing on the competitive Chicago Cyclocross scene, while Claire Oakley has been the dominant force north of the border, on the Ulster Cyclocross scene. Despite their unknown quantity Meehan dominated the race from start to finish.
Participation in women’s cyclocross has been growing steadily and the rise in popularity of the sport here meant that the race attracted a field large enough of women to qualify as a National Championship event. As a result Fran claimed her third National Champion’s Cyclocross jersey. Cyclocross is a challenging discipline but the women taking part welcome the chance to try something different in the off season. Not only is the scene fun and sociable, but it’s a welcome break for those who struggle to get the miles in during the cold winter months.
“After today I have even more respect for her efforts to race at the highest level”
That was fellow competitor Orla Hendron’s take after the gruelling race. She was delighted for Fran and like many others hopes that Cycling Ireland and the Off Road Commission send her to the World Championships. Orla hopes that the sport will continue to grow and that some skills days could be organised so that some people could share or lend bikes to let younger riders and those sitting on the fence have a go.
Full results of 2015 Women’s National Cyclocross Championships:
- 1. Fran Meehan (Team Aquablue)
- 2. Maria Larkin (Chicago Cuttin Crew)
- 3. Claire Oakley (XMTB McConvey Cycles)
- 4. Michelle O’Halloran (Lakeside Wheelers)
- 5. Lisa Miller (Dromara Cycling Club)
- 6. Mairead McGurk (Carn Wheelers)
- 7. Orla McClean (Orwell Wheelers)
- 8. Emma Convey (Orwell Wheelers)
- 9. Monica Marconi (Orwell Wheelers)
Photos courtesy of Sean Rowe
Fran Meehan sets off in yesterday’s race
Maria Larkin of Chicago Cuttin Crew
The field sets off
Fran, Maria and Claire make up the 2015 National CX Championships podium
Orwell’s Emma Convey battles the mud
Claire Oakley in action
Orwell’s Monica Marconi grapples with a tricky course