At just 18 years old, trailblazer Leah Maunsell took second place in the women’s U21 category at the Coillte Emerald Enduro, the 4th round of the Enduro World Series (EWS), at Carrick Mountain in County Wicklow last weekend.
With four national champion titles under her belt, and two prior outright wins at the Irish round of the EWS U21s, the 5th year student from Wallstown, Castletownroche faced tough international competition at the event, and said that extreme weather conditions affected her performance.
“I’d obviously wanted to win, but I’m really happy with second anyway,” Leah said.
Following 25 degree temperatures and a “very dry, dusty and fast” trail in the days leading up to the EWS round, heavy rains, wet gear and unfamiliar terrain caused a minor setback for Leah, who is a student in St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow.
Leah began mountain biking at the age of 11, following in the footsteps of her older brother, Jonathan, 24, with whom she competes as ‘Team Maunsell’.
Her second place position may yet play a role for the driven young woman when she competes in two further rounds of this year’s EWS, in France and Italy, later in the summer. And of course, as a student, Leah has more on her plate than many of her competitors.
“A lot of the people I’m racing against are finished school, or are on a gap year,” she says.
Leah’s highly disciplined fitness regime sees her out on her bike two to three times per week, as well as going to the gym every day and using an indoor bike to work on her fitness levels too.