On Saturday 2nd April, Pauline Russell (Killarney CC, and current Munster Representative on the Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland) and her able-bodied assistants ran a Training Day for Munster women racers. The following report, on was what was a very successful day, was compiled by Pauline…
“The Training Day convened at 10am at the Killarney Travel Inn. Other than the organisers, 6 women, and 6 girls signed on. After introductions were made, and everyone was ready, the group rolled out at 11am under the guidance of Visiting Coach, Stephen O Shea (Orwell Wheelers) and under a blue cloudless sky.
In planning for this training day we had chosen a 1.1km circuit near Beaufort that we felt was ideal for race-training. The circuit had everything one might expect to encounter in a race, including… a descent into a tight left hand turn, a pinching hill on a bend, some nice straights, a left hand 90 degrees bend with gravel on it, and a bit of a drag to the designated Finish Line!
This circuit was ridden in both directions, because every race circuit riders encounter won’t be left-handed. But because safety is always a priority, and because feeling safe allows riders the confidence to practice new skills, …all junctions on this route were marshalled by volunteers.
Stephen advised and guided all participants through the skills needed to….
- power safely through gravel,
- sprint correctly and in a straight line,
- pick the best race-line through corners.
The girls present had all raced at some level over the last year or two, and several of the women had also raced. This mix of women and girls, and of experienced and less experienced, worked very well, with each group learning from the other, and in an atmosphere of respect and admiration across the age range and skill mix.
All participants enthused that the on-road training was fantastic, and all were keen to do more of the same soon. By the end of the Training Day the riders present were even discussing plans to get together regularly for training sessions.
Over the break for lunch at the hotel, the chat was all about the season ahead, and was boosted with renewed energy after the morning skills session. Stephen O’Shea was happy to have his brain picked about all things racing over lunch…. so long as no one picked at his actual lunch!
For the afternoon session we retired to a meeting room in the hotel. Stephen gave the assembled group a talk that included further instruction on technique, race lines etc . There was even a discussion and demonstration of the correct way to fall! Following an interesting Q&A session, the Training Day wrapped up at 4:30pm.
But the experience didn’t end there…
Three of the women who attended the Training Day went on to compete the following day, in **the women’s race held by Dungarvan CC. This trio reported that their newly-minted knowledge increased their enjoyment of the race.
Others amongst the Training Day attendees plan to race in Broadford on Saturday 9th April. All of the group expressed their interest and enthusiasm at the prospect of further similar Training Days, and the hope is to soon organise a similar opportunity for the racing women of Munster!”
** Results of Dungarvan CC Cyclesports GP, Sun 3rd April:
1: Emma Walsh – Waterford RC
2: Autumn Collins – Starley Racing
3: Claudia Lane Mary – Waterford RC
4: Niamh O Donovan – Dungarvan CC
5: Martina Cronin – Waterford RC
6: Diane Behan -Waterford Racing Club
Congratulations to Emma on her win, and to all who raced!