Ysabella Huele - 2023 Women's Cycling Advocate
Image: Sean Rowe
Current cycling club?
What is your current age?
What cycling discipline are you involved in?
I’m involved in 3 disciplines: Road, Cyclocross and I recently joined the track last April of 2023.
What age did you get involved?
Why did you start cycling?
In 2017-18, my dad got me involved in CX to be more active. It was tough at the start as we had to get ready early in the morning for race but as I did more races, I started to enjoy cycling on muddy places and under the rain and we can get as dirty as we want!
What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?
.I was 9 years old when I entered the Leinster Cyclocross and Specialized Ireland League and won the U10 girls category. I felt so proud coming to school with a new medal each week! After the 2018 CX season, I stopped racing to try other sports such as taekwondo, camogie and park runs. I was missing cycling, then dad got me a new bike.
In 2020, my brother and I joined the Orwell Wheelers. It was an eye opener moving to road from cyclo-cross, it was fun learning new skills in Corkagh Park each week with diverse group of kids and supportive coaches and that’s when I got interested in road racing.
In 2021, I entered my first ever road race, which happened to be the South Kildare GP, hosted by Athy Wheelers. After that race, I was hooked to the idea of racing more! Each race was tough, but I managed to claim a few wins that summer including the Peter Bidwell Memorial, Bikeology Youth league in Mondello and Leinster Championship. That year, after about 5-6 months of road riding/training, I participated in my first Youth National Championships, and I got into the podium in three events. I was delighted with my results as I was still getting used to the change from CX and just like that I moved up to the under 14’s which was a big shock to the system.
At first, racing in the U14 category was frustrating as the distance has doubled and the speed was entirely a new level. I put in a lot of time training, learning and it helped me to adjust quickly. In 2022, I gained many achievements such as winning the U14 Leinster Bikeology Youth League and received the Noel O Neil perpetual cup from Orwell Club youth league. I also came home with two silvers and a bronze from the Youth National Championships in 2022. I was delighted with myself for gaining new experience and have made great memories.
Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?
’’Winning doesn’t always mean getting first place, it means getting the best out of yourself’’- Meb Keflezighi. I always make sure that I am enjoying my time on and off races and in everything that I do, may it be in school or other sporting activities.
What have been your cycling highlights?
One of my biggest highlights was winning the Leinster RR championships for two years in a row. In my first year of racing, I get to bring home the U12 perpetual cup and then the U14 perpetual cup the following year.
Racing in Derry for the Ulster 3 Day international is an experience I will never forget. It was my first-time representing Cycling Leinster. I was so thrilled racing in a big field of 16 girls, with some of them coming from the UK! That weekend, I finished 3rd young rider and 6th overall. Most recently, I did 3 stages race in Kanturk Youth Race for the 1st time. I placed 9th in GC points overall against boys and girls and placed 2nd U14 overall. I came home happy after winning my first stage race, a pink winner’s jersey, and even prize money!
How do you feel cycling has benefitted you?
Cycling is a bonding activity for our family, taught me discipline, perseverance, through hard work plus I have made new friends all over the country. It is also keeping me active, fit and feel a lot healthier. Ever since I started road racing it gave me boosts of self- confidence to be more open to other people and to adapt to different personalities,
I was super shy before but cycling helped me come out of my comfort zone and to always look forward to every weekend of fun memories on the road! Cycling has taught me the benefit of trainings, goal setting, safe racing and to be respectful to my competitors-win or lose.
What is your favourite thing about cycling?
The atmosphere and the energy from the crowd. It is giving you boosts of energy. There’s always someone to cheer you on when you feel like giving up.
What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?
Don’t shy away, don’t’ feel intimidated by others. It doesn’t matter if you are cycling for leisure or competition. Have fun and enjoy the best version of yourself on or off the saddle. Some of the best rides and memorable ones are the ones wherein you take its slow, you get lost and just forget about your bike computer.
What is your * when it comes to the IT’S NOT A RACE* campaign?
It’s not a race, it’s about enjoyment and getting the best out of yourself.