Women's National League Round 1

Post date: Mar 16, 2015 8:49:42 PM

(By Steve Franzoni)

Although the racing season started in Clonard last Saturday with the Midlands World Champs, this weekend really sees it move up a gear with the first of seven rounds of the Women's National League. The league remains a strong focal point for women's racing in Ireland, and always attracts strong fields of competitors from around the country.

As usual the girls represented themselves and the club very well. All was together until the start of the second twenty kilometre climb, and as the gradient steepened Siobhan and Aisling lost contact from the charging group. The attacks had taken nearly half the field out if contention, but Wendy and Sonja proved their strength and stayed in the lead group.

As further attacks from Fiona Mead and others continued the Lakeside pair calmly and defiantly, helped chase and cover moves, and even tried themselves to get away. As the course turned into the downhill stretch though the inevitable sprint finish loomed. With the inevitable sprint also came the realisation that the ever so capable Fiona would show us all how she had won the coveted national champions jersey.

Low and behold with five hundred meters to go Fiona attacked into the tricky left hander, to show a clean pair of heels to the chasing group. Much to the delight of here home crowd. Sonja fared best out of the Wheelers for tenth with Wendy not far behind. The other girls finishing in the chasing groups.

This raced proved to be the hardest women's race we have seen so special praise should go to Elaine and Siobhan for their baptism of fire.

Thanks as always should be given to the girls support crew Paul, super photographer

Down in Blarney the weather had changed to a cold overcast day. After I had finished my wardrobe advice and prepped all the bikes the race got underway at one o'clock. The course was a tricky 80 km, over two laps. Half the lap was a climb only to turn and descend back into Blarney for the difficult town section which included the finish line, one hundred meters after a very dodgy ninety degree turn.

This Sundays race in Blarney Co. Cork was no different. Five girls from the Lakeside Wheelers team made the journey down, only Michelle O'Halloran was missing in action, left home alone to recover from a recent chest infection. The national champions jersey of Fiona Meade was the most obvious danger this weekend. Fiona won the re-ran national championship event in Multyfarnham last September with her well timed sprint and, just having signed for the summer to an American team was going to be hard to beat on home turf.

The day was always going to be long and with a three hour journey looming we set off from OE at the unearthly hour of eight o'clock in slightly muffled moods. I had already lost ten euros on the who would turn up the latest competition after Elaine grabbed a lift with Sonja and caught me out. She redeemed herself by making light of the journey with her great sense of humour though.