Siobhan in Broadford – Pic courtest of Kanturk Cycling Club
As we’re about to head into the start of the women’s racing season in Broadford this weekend, womensracing.ie caught up with former professional rider Siobhan Horgan who herself just completed one of the toughest stage races on the Irish Calendar, Rás Mumhan, last weekend.
I asked Siobhan about her cycling career to date.
“I started cycling at 24 when a running injury forced me onto the bike. I did a local league race and won the novice race against the men. This impressed the coach of the local club and he asked me to join them for a training session which I did, and it just took off from there. I cycled professionally for 8 years and did all the major women races, including the World Road Race Championships. I also won the National Road Race a total of 5 times.”
After 8 years as a pro, in 2012 Siobhan decided it was the right time to retire and move on with her life. She started working as an Engineer in Belgium and rather than sit at home and relax, she took up Triathlon and Duathlon. Never doing things by halves, Siobhan went on to win the National Duathlon Championships in 2013 and successfully defended this title last year. After representing Ireland in the Elite World Duathlon Championships in 2014 and finishing 12th, Siobhan set her focus on this event for the 2015 season. Unfortunately an injury has once again forced Siobhan away from her runners and back onto the bike – until at least May/June.
Duathlon’s loss is cycling’s gain as Siobhan decided to make a return to bike racing this year. “I joined Aquablue for the season and because my husband rides for them too, there are no arguments at home over ‘wasting’ the whole weekend at a race”, Siobhan says. I didn’t ask which partner usually started those particular arguments….
Her first race of the season was the Lacey Cup in Tralee where she was nervous but in flying form and she has raced pretty much every weekend since. Unlike a lot of us whose Easter weekend was spend bathing in Chocolate, Siobhan was tackling the tough roads of Kerry in Rás Mumhan, a 4 day stage race which covered over 500km. She was the only female racing and in spite of a nasty crash on the last stage which resulted in a cracked rib and concussion, Siobhan finished in 92nd place on the GC.
“I really love the buzz of being back racing and although this was a tough race – it was absolutely brilliant craic! I loved being there! Unfortunately I crashed with about 7km to go on the last stage – but it could have been much worse.”
Siobhan who is now 36, has no plans to slow down any time soon, she is hoping to be back running in June so that she can return her focus to Duathlon for the second half of the season. In the meantime she has this advice for anyone starting out.
“I would advise them to try to take as much advice from those in your club or training group who have a lot of experience. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Since coming back to racing I can see a big increase in the numbers of women racing – and it’s great to see! The Women’s League is a great initiative to get women racing. Now there are 2 Women’s Stage Races in Ireland and the focus on Women Racing is improving all the time.”
So how does Siobhan manage her training around work? “I train 8-10 hours per week. The turbo is a great for those who are stretched for time. We have flexitime at work so normally I start early and try to finish early – it doesn’t always work out though!”
As if she’s not busy enough, Siobhan has recently joined the team at A1 Coaching. On her latest venture she says “I love working with enthusiastic people and I want to pass on everything I have learned over the past 10 years to the new generation of Irish female cyclists.” So if you’re looking for female coach, you can get in touch via their website.
Womensracing.ie would like to wish Siobhan all the best for the rest of the season.