Women In Sport Teams Set For Mondello24 Hour Cycle Challenge

Ahead of this weekend's Mondello24 hour race, Cycling Ireland have a number of teams entered to this fun endurance cycling challenge, taking place in the famed international race circuit, this year will be the third edition of Mondello24.

Check out some of the riders competing this weekend below and make sure you check out our social channels over the weekend to check in on how the teams are doing! 

Team Wise Women Wheelers

Berdien Driscoll - Killarney Cycling Club

Demelza Franssen - Cork BMX Club

Joan Potts - Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club

Josie Kissane - Un-Attached Munster

Martina Condell - Limerick Ladies Cycling Club

Mary Shirley - Un-Attached Leinster

Nina Doyle - Gorey Cycling Club

Sarah Mackle - Emyvale CC

Wise Women Wheelers are quite the novice team, with none of the team having ever done and event or challenge like this before. The team aims to showcase that anyone can do this event and have fun, no matter your experience, fitness level or age. 

Team member Mary Shirley never thought she'd be capable of taking on such a huge challenge: 

"I remember in 2021 a friend of mine taking part in this and I thought “wow, imagine having the ability to take part in such an event … that would never be within my reach” At the time I was relatively new to cycling and could just about manage 20km. I loved hearing all about the event, the craic, the comradery, the darkness, the rain and then the feeling of incredible accomplishment and elation at 12noon on the Sunday when they completed the 24 hours.

"Fast forward just two years and here I am! I’m still in disbelief and probably will be until the event itself starts. Over the last two years my cycling has improved, I have cycled up to 80km but am still more comfortable with distances below 50km. I’m slow, but I get there eventually and am often paddy last but it doesn’t bother me as my motto is that “it is all about completion rather than competing”. 

Sarah is also relatively new to cycling, here's what she had to say about taking on the challenge:

"I am delighted to be given the opportunity to participate in Mondello 24. I purchased my first racer in 2020 through the bike to work scheme and must admit I thoroughly enjoy cycling. I do cycle mostly on my own but I have just completed a Couch to 50km with Emyvale Cycling Club to gain more experience in group cycling. The Couch to 50km was a brilliant format which helped build fitness, confidence on the road and most importantly meeting some very supportive and encouraging people. I hope to carry on cycling with Emyvale as I have met some good friends and had some laughs along the way.

I am looking forward to the challenging experience of Mondello 24 and to be part of a fantastic group of women. It is going to be challenging both physically and mentally especially cycling at night but I am sure we will support each other throughout the 24 hours and maybe beyond. Here is to having a superb journey and a beanie hat/medal at the end."

The second Women in Sport team have a different feel to it and aim to be competitive against the other eight women only teams.

Wheely Fast Women

Agnieszka Samsel - Sundrive Track Team

Aoife Mooney - Navan Road Club

Clodagh Allen - Clonard RC

Gabrielle Fox - Emyvale CC

Helen McParland - Longcourt Hotel - NCW Wheelers

Julia Cooper - Arcane Cycling Team

Rachael McKendry - Apollo Cycling Team

Sharon Cahill - The Chain Gang Cycling Club

Helen McParland only took up cycling during Covid but has fallen in love with racing and is looking forward to the challenge!

I first took up cycling during COVID when I availed of the cycle to work scheme. I quickly joined Phoenix CC two weeks after collecting the bike, the group spins have been a great way of exploring the country! I started road racing six months after starting and fell into a great community. 

In 2021, I took up track cycling and fell in love with it! I attend weekly training at Orangefield track in Belfast and travel to Sundrive in Dublin at the weekends for racing and training with my new team. This year I transferred to Longcourt CC/ NWW to train and race with a great bunch of gals, it's been fantastic having women with similar mindset and goals to meet up with. 

I've also recently bought a time trial bike and have really been enjoying the solo element of racing against the clock. I'm super excited to compete in Mondello 24 with a fantastic team of young women!

Best of luck to all the teams this weekend!