Dionne Allen – International Triathlete and Aspiring Ironwoman
To celebrate International Womens Day we asked 3 of our sponsored riders to share their stories of what inspired them to take up cycling, what motivates them and what their goals are for 2019 and moving forward.
After all, the number of female riders currently involved in cycling has sky rocketed over the last few years and we hope the riders stories below serve to inspire more women to take up this fantastic sport!
How I got into cycling
My mum was a competitive runner and whenever we would go away to keep fit and spend time together we would hire mountain bikes. I guess it sparked something inside of me. However, following in my mums footsteps I persisted with competitive long distance and mountain running.
After falling out of love with running I turned to triathlon at university, here there was a heritage and wealth of female inspiration. From the likes of Chrissie wellington and Non Stanford, 2 of my idols today. As soon as I hopped back on the bike and raced my first triathlon I knew this was my sport. I was well and truly bitten by the triathlon bug!
I have been lucky to be a part of a sport full of female role models and friends which serve to motivate and inspire me each and every day.
Cycling is a big part of my life, it’s my job working for Ribble and my obsession. If I’m not working, I am swimming, biking and running with the majority of training hours spent on the bike. Being on the bike empowers you, it is my happy place, my sanctuary, the places you can travel, the miles you can tick off, the pain of a good session and the people you meet along the way, nothing beats it!
” The only real stress is finding the right pair of socks to match your kit! ”
Biggest Achievement and Goals for 2019
My biggest achievement in triathlon is winning European Gold in my Age Group and Third over all at the European Middle Distance champs. My biggest goal for this season is to qualify for the world 70.3 Ironman Championships and compete highly there.
” Do it for you and don’t feel put off by anyone around you, take it at your own pace and enjoy the journey…most importantly ride with a smile!”Dionne Allen – words of wisdom
Alison Salthouse – One in a Million
Why I got into cycling
I’m 60 this year and my goal is to podium at the UK Track Masters in June and maybe the World Championships in October………… but it hasn’t always been that way…In my late teens I played football – then did no sport or exercise again until I was 53 and fat.
I weighed 100kg, my Dad died of bowel cancer and my Mum became a couch potato, both suffered from type 2 diabetes. I felt something needed to change so I bought my first bike. How hard could it be, I’d ridden one as a child… In the bike shop I told them I didn’t want ‘curly handlebars’ or ‘funny clothes’ and would never ride more than 20 miles. I left with a flat bar hybrid.
3 months later I decided to go for my first ride. I couldn’t ride half a mile without getting out of breath. I rode home and collapsed on the sofa with jelly legs. How atrocious! It would have been so easy to give up there and then.
I wanted to change. I used social media to find a local social cycling group. I hooked up with a helpful man who took me out on a 3 mile loop from my house. There was a hill involved and I had to get off 3 times before I reached the top. It would have been so easy to give up there and then.
From Road to Track
In the next 6 months I conquered the hill in one go. I set new goals – 5 miles, 10 miles, 15. I entered my first sportive – 13 miles…. And received my first medal. I was proud!
I signed up straight away for the following year…. And 52 miles! It gave me something to work towards. I bought a second hand ‘curly handlebar’ bike …. And lycra….
I started to lose weight, I got fitter and I loved it.
Since then I have accumulated 5 bikes – 2 roadies, a MTB, BMX and my best love – a track bike! Who would have thought it – riding a bike with no gears, no brakes and no freewheel…. In excess of 30mph on a track with 42 degree banking…. Eek!
When I first went on the track I wasn’t sure I would let go of the barrier – but once I got going I loved it. I feel completely in control of the bike – my legs, my power and totally at one with my bike.
I’m also a Breeze ride leader and take ladies out at the beginning of their cycling journeys. It’s my way of giving something back, like the man who helped me at the start of mine. I’ve attended ladies only sessions at Derby, Manchester and Newcastle Under Lyme velodromes. Some ladies find mixed sessions intimidating and ‘too fast’ so it’s great to have the opportunity to develop and ride in this way.
I now race…… I’ve taken part in ladies road track races. I’ve always been the oldest lady by far and often lapped – but I’ve taken part and loved every minute.
Biggest Achievement and Goals for 2019
Last year I was 4th in my age range in the UK Track Masters. It gave me a flavour, and a belief, that I could work hard and maybe get on the podium this year. I’ve now got a track coach and the support of Ribble (despite being old and a lady!) and am working hard to get there. I’ve been working in the gym, lifting weights and am now 30kg lighter than the beginning of my journey 6 years ago. I’m so looking forward to the rest of this year and everything that I have yet to accomplish – hopefully a podium and maybe a National or World Championship jersey…. Or both!
Ailbhe Carroll -International Triathlete
Why I got into cycling
My love of cycling blossomed when I started the sport of triathlon. It soon became my favourite of the 3 as I found my long legs and almost 6 feet of height helped when it came to putting the power down. The simple art of pedaling a bike, in the countryside, seeing the world through your sunnies on a beautifully warm day…
Ya, it doesn’t get much better. Cycling has allowed me to see parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for my two wheeled friends! It has also introduced me to many a new cafe and many a new brew and for both of these things, I am truly grateful!!!
Biggest achievement and Goals for 2019
In the cycling world my biggest achievement would be an u23 Time Trial national title. My goals for 2019 are pretty simple… Be better than I was in 2018 and progress further up through the rankings on the world stage. An exciting year lies ahead and I am very ready to get motoring!