From humble beginnings to the Tokyo track…

Speaking to the Roscommon People earlier this month, Richael Timothy said the sport of cycling has always been there for her, even as she represented St. Croan’s and Roscommon in Gaelic football.

“As a kid, I used to cycle everywhere because I lived in the country so I had the cycling from before…I even used to do it during off-season from football because I didn’t like the thoughts of running!

“The bike was already there so that’s how I got into it rather than me going and (specifically) choosing it as a sport,” she said.

Even as an accomplished footballer, Richael was in for a rude awakening upon entering the often lonely world of cycling.

“It’s such a tough sport. I thought I used to have hard training sessions in football but it’s like a recovery day compared with the cycling. It can be tortuous and I’m still at a point where I don’t really know where my limit is because I thought it was much lower than what I have now reached.

“You’re always pushing yourself on the bike. It’s really tough and sometimes I don’t think people watching it realise just how hard it is,” she said.

Throughout her sports career, Richael has always received support at home, particularly when she made the move to the saddle.

“My parents would probably say I chose the most expensive sport because there’s bike equipment everywhere!

“They knew that for my mental health I needed a sport so it was my dad who made me get on a bike. He changed the pedals for me and put on a pair of flat ones,” she said.

“I remember every time I came to the gate after a spin I’d forget I had weakness on my right side so I had to lean to the left. If I was accidentally leaning to the right then I’d just fall over. At the start they’d be asking if I was alright, and then it got to the stage where mam was just laughing!

“They knew my life was sport and I had no other interest in anything else so it was a case of finding another sport rather than doing anything else”.