Over the weekend, I travelled to Kanturk for my second stage race of the year. It was my first-time racing in Munster, so I was excited. For this event, I was glad to have Naoise Byrne (Carlow Road CC) as a guest rider for the Orwell girls’ team.

The weekend started off with stage 1 on Saturday morning.  The stage was the longest and hardest of the weekend, with it consisting of a hilly 30km route. The splits began on the first major hill, with a group of 10 riders tried to get away the gap from that main bunch was around a manageable 30 seconds.

During a fast descent, I was only a few metres away from the bunch, when one of the cavalcade cars slowed down in front of me: unfortunately this caused me to slow down and stop at that corner. The group started to climb again, and I had to be careful and go around the cars, I was left chasing them alone until I caught up to Shane (Kilcullen CC) a minute later. The gap increased to 2+ minutes at this stage, we couldn’t see the lead group. 

Shane and I worked together, with the two of us powering through. With the support of Lorna and Terry, we caught up to the main bunch with 3kms to go. It came down to a sprint finish, with me securing 2nd girl behind Katie and 9th overall.

Stage 2 was a flat 8km TT with a small hill towards the end. Due to the previous night’s lack of sleep, I was left feeling tired by midday and the long wait before my start time made me feel worse before the start of my TT.  I managed to finish 3rd U14G which left me 2nd going into Sunday.

Stage 3 was mostly flat with a few short hills. The race rolled out until the first junction, and it was a go from there. For the first couple of kms, the bunch was riding closely together with everyone’s wheel inches apart from each other. A few times during the race, I nearly got pushed out to the side of the road but managed to stay up. The main bunch decreased to 15 riders, with multiple attacks going on. As we approached the steep, uphill finish, everybody started sprinting to the line. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I crossed the line in 1st and took my first ever stage win! I also came 7th overall and me and Katie kept most of the podium places with the club, so I was delighted with the results. 

After the race, Katie, Naoise, Clodagh (Foyle CC) and I got ice cream from SuperValu and hanged out while watching the U16 race. At the presentation, I was so happy to hear everyone clapping for us as we received our prizes.

To end off the day, I was over the moon to receive the pink U14G winner’s jersey, along with 2nd girl overall. Chapeau to Katie for getting the other pink winner’s jersey and 1st overall: plus Naoise, Katie and I won the team prize even against the boys teams which was amazing!

Thank you to Orwell, Lorna, Katie and Naoise for making the Kanturk Youth 2-day a memorable race. As well as to Senan from Bohermeen Cc, Mossy, William and my brother for the fun times after Stage 3.