Keela MacHale - 2023 Women's Cycling Advocate
Keela MacHale (Picture: BrughaPhoto)
Current cycling club?
Sundrive Track Team
What is your current age?
What cycling discipline are you involved in?
Track but occasionally road too!
What age did you get involved?
Why did you start cycling?
I started cycling as my Dad was involved with our local club and I wanted to join him on the club spins at the weekend - but really I just wanted to cycle further and faster than him!
What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?
I originally started cycling with my Dad and doing charity cycles every few weeks. I then joined my local cycling club where I was able to join group rides at the weekend. After going as far as I could in my local club and attending a few cycling camps I found the track and knew that was what I wanted to do.
I spent a few years with Arcane Cycling Club where I learnt how to do everything on the track. This was my first experience being part of a cycling team and I had great teammates. Over the few years I won National and Leinster medals on the track which I am very proud of. During this time I also tried road racing too and although I enjoyed it, I never quite loved it the way I love the track.
I was selected to ride for the Cycling Ireland Women’s Commission Team a few times to race at Manchester Velodrome. Here was the first time I ever won a race. It was the elimination race which is still my favourite race to this day. Getting a taste of the indoor velodrome made me sure that track was what I wanted to focus on.
Last year, I made the move to Sundrive Track Team to continue my progression at the track. This year I have had one of my most successful seasons with many track podiums throughout the year. I have started racing abroad too and this year alone have been on tracks in Portugal, London, Derby, Newport and Denmark.
I am lucky to be supported by my family and friends. I also have an incredible coach who gives me the best advice and helps me along my journey.
Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?
My favourite quote is one that both my coach and my Dad always says to me. ‘Create your own luck.’
What have been your cycling highlights?
My career highlight has definitely been becoming Team Pursuit National Champion 2022. It was a moment I'll never forget with a fantastic team. This year I also came 2nd in Individual Pursuit where I rode a massive PB which I was delighted with.
A lot of other races I won in 2022 were solo attacks till the end which goes to show how much I benefited from my pursuit training! Another highlight this year was partaking in the DBC 3 day in Denmark where I raced a points race with the current World Champion. That was an incredible experience.
How do you feel cycling has benefited you?
Cycling has given me the opportunity to ride my bike all over the world, which means I have had great racing experiences as well as now having friends in lots of different countries.
I have really learnt about discipline and consistency and that hard work pays off. Cycling has been a great benefit to my physical and mental health.
What is your favourite thing about cycling?
My favourite thing about cycling is all the bikes! I'm starting to run out of space for them all. Besides that, I really love racing my bike every weekend and pushing myself to the limits.
What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?
Definitely give it a go! Gradually you will become addicted, whether it is racing or just getting out at the weekend for a coffee spin. There really is something for everyone and many different disciplines to try!
How do you feel about becoming a Cycling Ireland Women in Sport Advocate?
I am absolutely delighted to be a Women in Sport Advocate. I am passionate about encouraging women and young girls to cycle and to stay in sport. As a student teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching in schools and I see first hand the decline of teenage girls in sport. This is something I would love to see change.
What is your * when it comes to the IT’S NOT A RACE* campaign?
*Until I pin my numbers on.