Emily-Anne Doyle pictured at the start of her time trial at the national championships in Wexford on Thursday night. Photo: Sean Rowe.
A member of Naas Cycling Club pitted herself against the best in the country, and indeed the world, on Thursday night in Wexford at the National Time Trial Championships.
And despite being significantly hampered by a chest infection, Emily-Anne Doyle managed to come 15th out of a field of 17 of the best female riders in the country.
A time trial is not like a traditional race where riders line up together. Each rider competes alone and against the clock.
Speaking to the Leinster Leader she said she was approximately “three minutes down on where I was two weeks ago but faster than last year despite the most badly timed chest infection ever!”
She described the route as challenging due to nature of the rural roads near Johnstown, Wexford.
“My aim was 55 minutes and I was on target for that based on my performance in the Naas Cycling Club Time Trial two week previously.”
However such as the impact on her health she considered pulling out before the start of her ride.
“I was going to pull out after bike/body check the night before (my bike was perfect, but my body was not) but sure I'd paid my few bob to be there, so there was no point in letting it go to waste.
“I knew I was going to be awful but it was still really rewarding racing in that setup with great support from such numbers on the route. That rarely happens for the average cyclist.”
She’s not so average. Emily’s time for the 34kms was 58 minutes, which was 8 minutes and 44 seconds slower than the winner Eileen Burns who is currently one of the best women time trialists in the world.
The number three placed rider was Eve McCrystal who won a gold medal in the Paralympic Games during the summer.
And the fourth and seventh placed riders, Lauren Creamer and Josie Knight are on Ireland’s track cycling team which regularly scores in the top 10 against the best in the world.
If she had knocked three minutes off her time, Emily-Anne would have certainly been knocking on the door of the top 10.
In any event, she average 34.6kph with a maximum speed of 60.8kph.
And on several stretches of the route she is credited as being the third fastest woman to cover them.
“It's super to see the growth in women cycling, I just wish more of them would have belief in how good they can be. It’s a pity more women don't realise it's their nationals (championships),” she said,
“At my end of things the only person you’re trying to beat is yourself.”
Meanwhile another Naas Cycling Club member, Kenneth Conlon competed in the men’s, finishing 13:57 down on winner Ryan Mullen.
It’s a respectable showing given that Tour de France rider Nicholas Roche could only manage second.