This year has been another busy and successful year for the Women’s Commission.
This year we undertook several new projects including:
- Women’s Leisure Rider Recruitment Initiative
- Women’s Commission Team in Rás na mBan
- Women’s Commission Strategy Document
In parallel, we continued our involvement in the promotion and organisation of Off-Road cycling camps, the Corkagh Park Racing Series and the Intermediate League.
For the second year running, we entered a Women’s Commission Team in the Tour of Omagh, brought a large group of riders to Manchester Velodrome, sponsored riders competing in International events through our Racing Bursary scheme, and issued the National Rider Rankings.
I would like to thank the outgoing committee for all their support and work over the past year, and to wish the new and returning Commission members every success in the year ahead.
Activities and Achievements 2019
The Women’s Intermediate League that had been introduced in 2018 was again a great success with big fields in all four provinces. The League comprised of eight races, with Junior Lucy O’Donnell (Kanturk CC) the Overall Winner. Over one hundred riders participated.
The Women’s Commission Road Team built on its reintroduction in 2018 to the Tour of Omagh, by returning to the International Stage Race this year and winning a Jersey. A Team was entered in Rás na mBan for the first time in years, the riders and support team performed well with only one rider failing to finish after sustaining injuries in a crash. We intend to return to both stage races in 2020.
The Women’s Track scene continues to grow. In January we were able to bring fourteen women to Manchester Velodrome for training and racing. It was a very successful weekend culminating in the Team competing in an Omnium hosted by the ACT Track League. We will be back racing at Manchester with a Team in 2020.
The Racing Bursary we introduced in 2018 helped many more riders achieve their International goals in all disciplines this year. Maria Larkin – CycloCross (Belgium) and an Orwell Wheelers selection in the Youth Tour of Scotland in April were some of the beneficiaries.
In Off-Road we held a Women’s Downhill Skills Development Day in Rostrevor (27th April); an enduro skills development day in Tollymore (22nd April) and a BMX Coaching Day for Women in Ratoath (17th February).
We have also selected a Team (Junior & U16) to compete at Round 3 of the HSBC National Trophy CX at Beach Park, Irvine on 26th October.
The Women’s Commission were successful in getting a Masters Time Trial added to the National Championships. After an Application to Cycling Ireland, the Board approved the holding of a Demonstration Masters National Time Trial for 2019, to reach full National Status in 2020.
A Leisure initiative introduced some new members to Cycling Ireland, with the riders writing popular training and event reports for our website (www.womenscycling.ie).
The Corkagh Park women’s Race Series ran throughout the season with many riders taking their first steps into Road Racing.
We made some adjustments to the National Rider Ranking System that had been introduced last year and the rankings were used to determine eligibility for the Intermediate League, Team Selections and the Tour of Omagh rider classifications.
Our subsidised Women’s Commission Cycling Clothing range has continued to prove popular with riders this year. We also invested in some larger assets, which we hope will be used for many years to come – the Perpetual Trophy for the Intermediate League and a branded Women’s Commission Gazebo. Finally, we also made financial contributions to Rás na mBan, the W3 competition in the Tour of Omagh and the upcoming Youth Track Trip to Alkmaar.
The Commission has drafted a Strategy document which will be revealed for member feedback at our AGM in September 2019. Once agreed and finalised by the newly elected Commission, it will be submitted to Cycling Ireland for approval. This should be useful in directing future Committees and help to build on lessons learned.
Planned Activities for 2020
As stated in the points above, we are planning to build upon the projects that were completed during 2018 and 2019.
Our key objectives will be set out in our new Strategy document which should be finalised in advance of January 2020. These objectives will likely include an increased focus on the recruitment of new women to Cycling Ireland, a full review of our National Championship categories for gaps (especially for Masters and U23), and the incorporation of our National Rider Ranking (W1/W2/W3) on our Cycling Ireland licences.