Having read Catherine Mahoney's report from the A Race at the Appleby Women's Evening Stage Race it is now the turn of B Race challenger Cleo Jensen to give us the inside scoop on the rollercoaster ride she had! New to Orwell and to racing Cleo is definitely one to watch.


Last week I took part in my first ever stage race, the Orwell 3 Day Women's League. I only started racing this year with the likes of the Corkagh Park Women's series but was itching to try my hand at a stage race. Given that this league was over 3 days and none of the distances were particularly long, I thought it would be the perfect one to start with.

The stage race consisted of 2 crit races and an ITT. I took part in the B league, which kicked off with a crit in Corkagh park. The race itself was great craic and I think you learn something every time you race there. I didn't feel like my legs were great going into that but I think the mind plays a huge part in success so with some tactical positioning and a lot of positive self-talk I managed to come second in that race.

Next was the ITT. I really gave it everything I had and made sure not to leave anything on the table. In the end I was happy with my performance as I knew I had given my best and that's all you can do.

Heading out to Mondello for the final day I was filled with a mixture of excitement and a little bit of nerves too. I had somehow managed to land myself 1st in the GC, so although I didn't have any expectations for a result in that stage, I was dead set on defending my position to the end. This race was definitely the most challenging as we were in with the As in a handicapped race, but it made it all the more exciting and tactical. I stuck with the group and was feeling good going through the final lap. Unfortunately, on the final bend I got caught up in a crash with a few others. That was the end of my race, but the main thing is that everyone was ok in the end.



Despite the rollercoaster ride, I managed to come out with 2nd place overall! I'm absolutely delighted with the result and I had a brilliant experience racing. I'm already looking forward to getting back at it, once my batters and bruises have finished healing. Next on my list is to try an open road race.