Lara Gillespie 

IT'S NOT A RACE* Campaign Ambassador

Current cycling club?


What is your current age?


What cycling discipline are you involved in?

Primarily Track and Road, also Cyclocross 

What age did you get involved?

Started racing on road, track and CX when I was in TY, 15 years old. 

Why did you start cycling?

I wanted to join a MTB club to do more racing, but accidentally joined road club, did a road race and hated being the worst one but loved the challenge. Trained really hard at it when I was injured after a cycling crash and couldn’t run or play hockey so I trained for the Youth Olympics on the Road instead of 800m running.

What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?

I always loved my bike, did a few MTB races as a kid and Triathlon. Joined Orwell Wheelers when I was 15, racing on road, track CX since then. My dream since I was 10 years old was to be Olympic champion for running, my dream has changed slightly now, but only slightly! I ran for Ireland and was strong in other sports and dancing, during school I played hockey and over the summer I focused on cycling. I got some great results as a junior and stepped up onto the Senior Track and Road Irish Team just after my Leaving Cert in 2019. Became National Senior Champion for CX at 17 track and road at 19.

Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?

‘You can be anything if you put your mind to it’ – my mum

What have been your cycling highlights?

Youth Olympics, when I realised I could actually do this. Junior European and World Championships, my coaches and I worked so hard for those results. Senior Omnium and Team Pursuit World Cup medals in 2021, during a tough year we showed our strength.

How do you feel cycling has benefitted you?

It makes me feel powerful in my own skin, makes me feel I can do anything. I have got to meet some amazing people and work hard by their side. I’ve learnt so much about the world, life and myself so young and I think it will stand to me. It’s given me freedom and independence in my life, which I am so grateful for. 

What is your favourite thing about cycling?

Being out in nature and pushing my limits.

What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?

Get out there, embrace the fear and push past it, it will make you so mentally strong. 

How do you feel about becoming a IT’S NOT A RACE* ambassador?

I feel proud to be apart of this campaign, it is helping people understand this is a sport that is welcoming and for EVERYONE. I really hope more women can step into their authentic selves and start doing things that make us feel good, and do things we want to do without expectations or any pressure.