Ulster Cross Country Race Round 1: Report from Senior 3 racer Leah McCarthy

This year, a new category for beginner riders to have a go at Cross Country Mountain Bike (XC) racing was passed at the Offroad Commission AGM. Senior 3 riders have reduced entry fees, and race a shorter distance course which lasts about 50 minutes. A great opportunity for anyone thinking of giving Cross Country Mountain Bike racing a go.

Find out how Senior 3 racer Leah McCarthy got on at the weekend at the first Ulster XC Race of the year. 

So, the first round of the Ulster XC series took place on Sunday 15th April at Craigavon Lakes. We left rainy Dublin early and headed North. It was one of those “What do we wear” days, so I packed everything for all weather. It was my first time to race at Craigavon so I didn’t really know what to expect but we bumped into some friendly Ladies during our practice lap who guided us on certain sections.

After practice I headed straight to the start line where I saw some familiar faces and new faces in the S2 and S3 women’s category. A draggy grass start onto a path along the side of the lake, then a sharp right into single track forest. I really enjoyed the forest sections as they were tight and technical. There was plenty of kickers along the course, all different types of terrain; grass, rock and slippy pipes. Loads of line choice and plenty of options to overtake.

Going into the second lap, you could see how chewed up the course was which kept it fun as line choice had to change. I was delighted to come away with the win and want to congratulate Louise Friel (XMTB) on 2nd and Norma Rea (XMTB) 3rd. Thank you and well done to Apollo CT for such a brilliant race and huge love to the Giant Store for their support this year.



In the other categories, there were 47 women and girls racing with Tarja Owens winning Senior 1, Trudy Brown winning Senior 2, Darcy Harkness winning Under 16, Hannah Mullin winning Under 14, Aine Doherty winning Under 12, Cara Sucking winning Under 10, and Aoife Craig winning Under 8.

Full results here.

Sign up for Round 2 of the Ulster XC Race series here in the ever popular Tollymore Forest Park. 

Read a full race report from Martin Grimley at Ulster XC here.

Photo credits: Leah McCarthy and Tony Corey

Are you racing offroad this year and like to write a report for the website? Contact women@offroadcyclingireland.ie. We’d love to hear your race stories!