In January this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Annie Glover and Karen Ager from Holyhead Cycling Club. Both had travelled all of the way from Holyhead in Anglesey to attend our women’s race training session in Tameside, just outside Manchester, which I thought was pretty impressive! But that was just the start…
Annie, Karen and their club mate, Jasmine Sharp, are all keen cyclists, and are active in North Wales and Anglesey with encouraging younger riders to take up the sport. All three women are British Cycling coaches but until this year, they have only really participated in their local club time trials and, in Jasmine’s case, Audax events.
This year, for the first time, the women have decided that they want to step up their involvement in competition, and they used the Racing Chance Foundation’s women’s race training to give them the helping hand they needed. But there was also another reason for starting to race – for the first time this year, Ynys Mon (Anglesey) are fielding a women’s cycling team in the Island Games, which take place in Jersey at the end of June/beginning of July.
So, without further ado, I asked Annie what the Island Games was all about (coming from Manchester, I had no idea). Here she explains:
“The Island Games were founded in 1985 in Isle of Man and take place every 2 years. It is a friendly competition between small islands from across the world. It creates an opportunity for sports people from smaller communities to compete in international competition.
“The Island Games are a catalyst for sport & cultural exchange and aim to increase youth participation in sport. It presents an opportunity to represent the region & community whilst building links with other regions and promoting Anglesey & UK.
“Ynys Mon Island Games Association (YMIGA) was a Founder member, YMIGA was established in 1985, Island-wide consisting of Voluntary sports association – members are all volunteers. YMIGA promotes participation in Island Games sports”.
As YMIGA is run by volunteers, the each team has to fund its own way. Knowing from a personal perspective how much it can cost to get to a bike race, I asked Annie to give me some further detail about the costs involved:
“As well as training hard for these events we have to raise our own funds for the travelling, accommodation & logistics of getting the cycling team, their support team and their bikes to Jersey & back,” she explains.
“The team consists of a squad of 11 people, which includes a manager and assistant for logistical support on the road whilst competing and mechanical assistance. The cycling team needs include transport of 2 bikes per team member to Jersey & back, (via van/ferry), logistics of travel for the team, accommodation, team kit (shorts jerseys, skinsuits). Total costs have been estimated at around £8250.”
Jasmine, Annie and Karen put a lot into developing younger riders, and the hope is, by raising the profile of the Ynys Mon team both on a local level (in Anglesey and North Wales) and by attending the event in Jersey, it will hopefully in future provide the aspiration and motivation for younger riders from the smaller islands to take up cycling competitively.
The team have been busy raising funds, with team member doing a 24 hour sponsored ploughing (yes, you read that right, and it wasn’t the ladies doing it either) but any help that you can give them would be much appreciated.
If you can support the team, please pledge funds via their Go Fund Me page, which you can access by clicking here or if you can assist them with kit, van hire or anything else you can also contact the team via the page.