NPS Cross Country Round 1: Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park hosted the first round of the Cross Country Mountain Bike National Points Series52 women and girls raced across 9 categories, with Klaudia Bajolek taking 1st place in Senior 1, Leah McCarthy winning Senior 2, and Christine Kelly taking 1st in the introductory Senior 3 category.

Overall winner of the Senior 1 category  Klaudia Bajolek (Scott Eurocycles) was in flying form: 

“The race started off a little slow for me with my foot slipping off the pedal and my legs not cooperating the way I would like them to at the beginning. But luckily, after about a lap I managed to find my own pace and just made sure to make the smallest amount of mistakes possible.

Our 4 laps were changed to 3 and the race turned out to be a perfect length of 1h20mins. Great to see some technical bits and even a few A or B lines added to the NPS course. Well done to Niamh for the second place and all of the ladies racing on the day!”

Leah McCarthy (Liv Giant), having just moved up from the introductory Senior 3 category, won the Senior 2 category: 

Another sunny day leaving Dublin heading North. Loaded the van with Ronan, put “Tollymore Park” into Google Maps and ended up in the middle of nowhere. We then spotted the trusty black and green “Scott” van in the distance and followed it to the correct location. I gave myself plenty of time to get a practice lap in as I’d never ridden in Tollymore and MY GOD it did not disappoint!

I moved up into the S2 category and I’m delighted I did as the whole course was savage!

There was a choice of A and B lines throughout the course so I’m glad I got to suss them out before the race. It was great to see an increase in the number of ladies on the start line and always good banter between us before the race. The whistle blew and we were off, another draggy grass start before heading into the single track forest. 

The forests were technical; kicker climbs onto roots, wet mucky rock gardens, loads of line choice and fallen trees that we had to hop over (great craic).

The course then split for S3 and S2. We headed up a fire road into another technical kicker climb for more forest single track fun. The course was well marked especially the A and B lines which varied for me for my x2 laps. Each lap took around 32 minutes, so I’m glad we only had to do two! I came through the finish line with a massive smile on my face as the course was so much fun!!

Delighted to take the win and want to say a massive congratulations to Amanda Draper (MBCC) who finished second and my pal Niamh McGreen (MAD MTB) taking third. I missed my podium photo as I was stuffing my face back at the van.

Well done to Dromara Cycling Club for hosting a savage day and big love always to the Giant Store for all the support this season #RideForRyan

First time racer Christine Kelly (Feel Good Factor) topped the Senior 3 podium. A great result from her. 

I had never done a xc race before and literally just turned up and signed up on the day. The atmosphere was friendly and I really enjoyed riding the course. It was good to see a number of different age groups and women participating too, a very inclusive event. My children took part in the fun race and were delighted to get some sweets when they finished!!

Youth Riders

In the Youth categories Caoimhe May won the Under 16s category, Erin Creighton in the Under 14s, Aine Doherty the Under 12s, Cara Suckling the Under 10s, and Aoife Craig in the Under 8s. 

Full results here

In depth race report from Martin Grimley here

Cross Country Mountain Bike Races in May

Never heard of Cross Country (XC) Mountain Biking and want to find out more? 

Read our Cross Country Mountain Biking (XC) 101 here!

Photo credits: Leah McCarthy and Klaudia Bajolek 

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