The very popular Women’s Beginner Crit League promoted by Scott Orwell Wheelers had it’s second outing of 2016 in Corcaigh Park last night. Sophie Loscher made an impressive début in the B race, while the evergreen Orla Hendron took the win in the As.

Around 40 women signed on for the two races organized for the evening, which is a healthy increase on the average numbers from last year. They were split into two groups based on ability/experience with each group racing independently. The B race was first out of the traps, and roughly half the riders who were new to the league, were given a short handicap and sent off into the unknown with a 30 second advantage.

As soon as the two groups came together after 4 or 5 laps, the bunch seemed to be transfixed with a collective paralysis. No one seemed to want to take the initiative almost as if it might be showing off or a little impolite to launch an attack!

It’s easy to forget that the women were all relative novices, and nobody actually tells you how racing works. You’re supposed to know all about the finer points of racing; the attacking, counter-attacking etc. without ever having it explained. Meanwhile, Orwell’s Brianne Mulvihill was happy to stay out of trouble even if that meant towing the bunch around for the remainder of the race.

Unfortunately, that didn't end well. Sophie Loscher used her track craft to position herself perfectly on the final corner, and launched her sprint as Brianne faded in the last 100 metres. To add injury to insult, a touch of wheels took her out in the finishing straight, and ended both their races prematurely. Thankfully, both riders involved were relatively uninjured.

Loscher coming home ahead of the bunch sprint

Sophie won by 5 or 6 bike lengths to cap a fine début in the league and earn herself an instant promotion!

While the B riders were fed and watered by Orwell’s version of Willie Wonka (Jen Sheridan) the A riders were sent on their way for 30 minutes plus 3 laps. The group immediately split and a strong foursome got clear. Aideen Keenan, Fiona Guihen, Catherine McAteer and Orla Montague powered ahead and soon had a decent advantage.

Keenan, fresh from her victory in Limerick on Saturday, decided to go for broke and launched a strong attack. The break splintered behind her, as Guihen went out the back, McAteer and Montague clawed back the advantage and eventually made contact with Keenan. However, the cohesion had evaporated, and after dangling for several laps, the groups merged again with 5 laps left.

Keenan and McAteer made huge efforts to break clear in the closing stages, but the bunch wasn’t about to make the same mistake again, and closed everything down.

A bunch sprint was now inevitable, and as the group rounded the final corner, Orla Hendron had found the perfect position and launched her new Scott Addict to the line. Keenan paid for her efforts during the race, just failing to come around the veteran and Hendron took the win by a tyre!

The closely contested sprint

The battle resumes next Tuesday!

Photos thanks to Brendan Culleton, more available on Facebook.


Scott-Orwell Women's Beginner Crit League - R2 (12/4/2016)

B Race

1 Sofie Loscher (Sundrive)
2 Kate Earlie (St Tiernan's)
3 Aishling Barry (DID Dunboyne)
4 Angela Hoare (Ossary CC)
5 Louise Keane (Scott-Orwell Wheelers)
6 Rachel Glendon (Scott-Orwell Wheelers)

A Race

1 Orla Hendron (Scott-Orwell Wheelers)
2 Aideen Keenan (Scott-Orwell Wheelers)
3 Catherine McAteer (Garda CC)
4 Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre for Cycling)
5 Orla Montague (Dublin Wheelers)
6 Laura Tighe (Northwest MTB)