Photo Fran Hollywood with thanks!

Caoimhe told us this week: “On the 23/07/23 I took my second senior XCO National Title in Bellurgan, Dundalk. Going into the race I definitely felt a bit of pressure from myself to keep the jersey. Knowing how important it felt to wear it for the past year of racing I certainly wasn’t willing to give it up just yet! After course practice on Saturday it was clear the conditions would be wet and slippy for Sundays race which was fine by me! Growing up with MTB as my background, I knew the technical side of the course would suit me well especially as I knew the course from last years nationals. I lead the race from start to finish without any crashes thankfully and rolled in with roughly 2:19 before the next rider.

I didn’t really know how the race would pan out as I hadn’t raced Aine (2nd) or Hannah(3rd) this year and knew they would be strong riders, but I’m in the shape of my life right now so I just had to trust that my strongest was enough and it turned out to be- much to my relief! The race itself, although it ultimately went really well for me, I did have quite a few issues out on the course with my chain dropping from mud clogging up my chainring. I had to stop and put the chain back on about 6 times throughout the race and without knowing what kind of gap I had to second place I definitely panicked a bit each time I had a problem! Despite the chain problems however I have no complaints from that day, I was really happy with how I rode technically and physically. I felt really strong which is always a nice feeling, its just a shame after such a good block of training pre-nationals, I have no more races to prove myself in for the rest of the season. Time to kick my feet up now for a short while before heading into cross season!

Finally, big thanks to Dany for one of his wonderful bursaries this season. I’m extremely grateful for all the help I can get while travelling abroad to compete as a 20 year old student with an expensive hobby that one day I hope could be a career, Best wishes, Caoimhe.

My personal thoughts: First off all good luck to all our Irish Cyclists in Glasgow, you all deserve a call up, but in the off-road section not a women to be seen…Caoimhe should have been a obvious choice in my opinion, what else has a girl to do to get a chance to prove herself on world level…raced in Europe multiple times, even had a training camp in Sierra Nevada to get the optimal preparation, and resulting in becoming and retaining the XC MTB senior Women Champ last Sunday, even proposed to CI to pay all expenses herself!! Surely a place in the MTB Worlds would have been a recognition of her hard work and talent…What’s the point to promote Women on Wheels and other brilliant projects to get new girls in the sport…there is no gold at the end of the rainbow comes to mind…I speak for a lot of people, and would love to hear Cycling Ireland’s explanation why!!!, with disappointment, Dany B

Caoimhe in action in Eupen (Belgian Ardennes) in a big international field a few weeks ago!!