Photo Credit (Karen M. Edwards)
by Caroline Martinez
Former professional cyclist and multiple Irish National Champion Siobhan Horgan has confirmed that she has come out of retirement and will resume racing with the Munster based Aquablue team in 2015.
The 36 year old announced her retirement less than three years ago after finishing second to Mel Spath at the National Road Championships in 2012.
After retiring, Horgan tried her hand at duathlon, just to keep fit.
“Initially I just switched to stay fit. That was my goal,” she said
“But I went to the 2013 Duathlon champs which was my first duathlon and surprised myself by winning. I remember being absolutely wrecked for about 2 weeks afterwards because I hadn’t sufficient training done but I suppose I had the engine after all those years on the bike. After that I decided to do a few more duathlons and really enjoyed them. I wasn’t as keen on the triathlons because I don’t really like swimming.
Being new to the sport didn’t stop her winning the National Duathlon Championships in 2013 and again in 2014. She also finished 12th in the 2014 World Duathlon Championships. Horgan was not going to let her engine go to waste. However, due to a recently diagnosed stress fracture, it seems that things have come full circle for the cyclist turned duathlete.
“I was hoping to take duathlon seriously this year and go to the world champs with a real chance. Last year I only had 6 weeks running training in the lead up to it as I was struggling all year with a running injury. Despite rest, rehabilitation etc the injury hasn’t improved and I finally got diagnosed with a stress fracture in October 2014. I reckon I had it for about 2 years. So I can’t run for about 6 months. I decided to go back racing to maintain some level of fitness with the goal of getting back running asap and taking it from there.”
Still unsure of her form ahead of the season, the Cork woman feels thrilled to be back racing her bike. Last weekend, she lined up alongside the best male riders in the country for the Lacey Cup. She finished first woman.
“It feels strange – but good! Its different than before though because I have different goals and ambitions now. I won’t be taking it too seriously and won’t race every weekend.
I feel good but its difficult to say. I suppose I will know after a few races. I don’t plan on being in top condition for a while yet because as I said I still have plans to return to duathlon.”
“John, my husband joined the local team in Cork – Aquablue so I decided to do the same. They are a great bunch of lads and Fran Meehan too and of course the manager Timmy Barry has great racing knowledge. There is a good team spirit and plenty of slagging so I think the team will have fun this year and hopefully get a few results too. We got off to a good start last weekend with Sean McKenna winning in Tralee. And of course the fabulous verge clothing helps too!!”
Considering her return to racing as a necessary temporary step in her recovery, the former international rider is still keen on lining up against tough competition, given the opportunity. However, she still puts her job as a Validation Engineer in a pharmaceutical company as her main priority when it comes to racing abroad again.
“Not full time anyway. Definitely not. I have been there and done that and I don’t want to repeat it again because I enjoy my job and my life right now. But if an opportunity came up and it suited me timewise, then sure why not!”
As for her plan for the season, Horgan is mainly hoping to retain her form and perhaps even race Rás na mBan for the first time in her career.
“I just play it by ear. Even if it all goes to plan and I go back to Duathlon I would hope to ride Rás na mBan as I have never done it. I would like to work as a teammate for someone like I did in a previous life. From all the reports it is a great race, so I would like to experience that for myself. Hopefully I can get the time off work….”