Freshly crowned inaugural L’Etape Australia sprint champion Min McDonald is leading the push to get more local ladies out on the bikes as the Tamworth Cycle Club gears up for another big year.
McDonald only got on a bike two years ago after a friend convinced her to do some cross training away from her usual running regime, but it didn’t take long for the bug to bite, and it doesn’t sound like it will ever let go.
“I don’t know anyone that has ever got on a bike and not instantly liked it,” McDonald said.
“When I first joined the Tamworth Cycling Club there was just me and one other girl racing and now we have 99 Tamworth Female Cyclists.”
This year McDonald wants to ride that momentum even further after being appointed in the new position of Women’s Development Officer of the Tamworth club.
“I am very excited and honoured that they are trusting me in the role,” McDonald said.
“We have already come along in leaps and bounds and it is going to be a big year.”
“I just want to get more women into cycling, both socially and race cycling, and this year we are going to be putting a Tamworth team together.”
That team will compete in Gran Fondo endurance style events around the state, and the club is also hoping to host one of their own in conjunction with the annual Nemingha to Nundle.
“It will be a female specific event alongside the men.
“We want to put Tamworth on the cycling map and bring them to us.”
January is the sign on month for the Tamworth Cycle Club and with strong numbers already, and McDonald is urging anyone that is interested to either sign up and have a go or go and have a ride with the girls on Tuesday nights.
“We have a beginners night where we meet at 6.45pm at the skate park and ride out along Wallamore Road.”
“It is nice and flat without much traffic – suitable for beginners with lots of support from experienced riders as well.
“We really want to push the message this year that all riders of all different levels are welcome.”
Just two years ago McDonald was one of those beginners, and then last month, two years on, she was being congratulated by Chris Froome after taking out the women’s sprint at the first ever L’Etape event to be held in Australia.
At the 75km mark of the grueling 126km ride, McDonald took off to smash the sprint in 26.984 seconds to win the women's sprint and record the fifth fastest overall time on her way to a top ten finish.