Jagruti Rathod - 2023 Women's Cycling Advocate
Current cycling club?
St Tiernan’s Cycling Club
What is your current age?
What cycling discipline are you involved in?
Road Cycling, Ultra Distance cycling
What age did you get involved?
Why did you start cycling?
I wanted to find a hobby that was outdoors and had a physical/fitness element to it. I also like adventures and exploring, so cycling ticked all the boxes for me.
What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?
I have always enjoyed cycling. In 2018 I decided to buy my first road bike on the bike to work scheme and joined a cycling club. There was a group of other new to cycling women starting at the same time at the club, so it was nice to meet them each week and develop my skills and confidence on the bike.
I signed up for a few sportives that year, some probably a little past my cycling experience at the time, but I went with the mindset of if I finish then great and if not then that’s fine too. I really enjoyed them and continued to sign up for sportives with increasing lengths and difficulty.
Alongside this, I also started doing triathlons in 2018 so all these things were increasing the time I spent on the bike and subsequently my abilities on the bike. Through the years I realised that I was not particularly fast on the bike but I had a lot of endurance, so I fell into the world of ultra-distance cycling.
In 2022, I signed up for an ultra-distance event where I cycled 1,600km over 9 days. I really wasn’t sure whether I would be able to complete the event, but I went in with the attitude of doing my best and having a great time along the way. I just loved every part of the ultra-cycle, and I knew that this is the type of cycling that I will be doing in my cycling future. I’ve now signed up for a 2,300km ultra-cycling event this summer and I cannot wait!
Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?
“You’re only competing with yourself” is one of my favourites. I like to remind myself this as it pushes me to try harder and improve each race/season based on my previous performances. As long as I am improving my own performance and I am having fun along the way, then where I place doesn’t matter to me.
What have been your cycling highlights?
Completing the ultra-distance race. I never thought that I would be an ultra-distance cyclist when I bought my first road bike!
How do you feel cycling has benefitted you?
Cycling has opened a whole new world of exploration for me. Cycling has helped me to build my confidence, both on and off the bike. It has also given me lots of new friends within the cycling world. I have built up my fitness levels and the belief that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
What is your favourite thing about cycling?
The freedom to explore on my own power. I love being able to jump on my bike, pick a city in Ireland, and just cycle there. I love being able to see the greenness of Ireland whilst cycling around quiet country lanes. Being able to discover new route, new hills, new coffee shops whilst on my bike is so exciting. It’s very fun and extremely addictive!
What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?
Give it a go! There are so many different types of cycling so there will be something that you enjoy, be that road racing, mountain biking or ultra-distance cycling etc. It might feel quite daunting at first, but over time, this will fade.
A really good way to meet people, and feel looked after too, is to join a cycling club. They often have beginner cycles and even women specific cycling sessions to help to build initial confidence.
How do you feel about becoming a Cycling Ireland Women in Sport Advocate?
I am delighted! Being a Cycling Ireland Women in Sport Advocate will give me the ability to spread the word about ultra-distance events and hopefully be a point of contact for women who are interested in getting into this area of cycling.
It can be quite a daunting step to sign up for your first ultra-cycle – there are many things to consider and many questions/concerns about the unknown. I am excited to be able to share my experience of partaking in an ultra and to help anyone in any way I can.
What is your * when it comes to the IT’S NOT A RACE* campaign?
Do your best and enjoy the process!