Event ambassador: Fiona Mangan

We’re delighted to announce Limerick native Fiona Mangan currently based in Girona riding with the Costa Brava Mediterranean Foods is coming on board as an Event Ambassador for GRGF 2021. Fiona is an OG (or OGRG; Original Grass Routes Gansta.. no?) having ridden the Grand Fondo in 2020, we caught up with her to ask about her cycling palmares and advise for the 2021 Grass routes.

Q1. Who is Fiona Mangan?

I’m a biomedical engineer and cyclist racing with an elite Spanish Team, Costa Brava Mediterranean Foods. 

Q2. Where/when did your cycling career start?

At the end of college, I started racing triathlon but in March of last year, I had a running injury. With pools closed I decided to get to work on my bike and that summer I joined the lads at Greenmount Cycling Academy gearing me towards competing in the National Road Championships. I straight away loved bike racing, the adrenaline of descending and riding in the peloton. At around that time, a good friend of mine, turned around to me and told me to give up the Triathlon and stick to cycling. I have not looked back since

Q3. What challenges (if any) did you have to overcome to gain your current cycling career?

Sometimes balancing training with work, family and everything else! But I like living on this edge of time management. I’ve learned the hard way with injuries that days off from both work and training are actually the most important days! 

Q4. Who are your cycling hero’s past and present?

Two of my cycling heroes are Olivia Dillon and Adam Hanson. 

Q5. What has been your career highlight to date?

The Lucan GP 2020. My very first women’s crit race and I just remember the amazing buzz of the day. My group of W2 riders made a good show that day lapping the W1 girls 😊 

Q6. What has attracted you to become an Event Ambassador for GRGF?

Getting a tour of my own local countryside! I always enjoy exploring new routes and coming across new technical sections while still trying to stick to a few fast wheels. 

Q7. As a Limerick Native, what do you think of the route?

Exciting !  Each section has its own personality whether it’s a sharp climb, rough gravel or smooth descent. It’s suited to all types of riders and complimented by some class views of Munster. 

Q8. Having spent some time training and racing in Spain, how does the Irish Boreen compare to that of the Spanish countryside?

Mud, lot’s more mud. 

Q9. Would you ride a gravel bike (for a soft and easy ride) or a road bike (for your full classics feel) for this event?

I’d go for the classic’s feel and would ride a road bike on 28mm tyres.  

Q10. What are your 5 best tips for participating in an event like this?

  • Bring a puncture repair kit, pump, lever, spare tyre, Allen keys, multi-tool and derailleur hanger.
  • Study the route and load it onto the Garmin, unless you have a good buddy who’s memorised the course. 
  • Check that your bottles are secure in the holders , actually…check everything is secure on your bike and give it a service before the event.
  • Bring plenty food and drink and take note of any food stops or service stations that might be on the route.  
  • Bring with you a Big Smile😊 

Q11. You rode the 2020 edition of this event, and competed well against some quality A1 male riders. Do you think the increased distance and extra meters of climbing will make much of a difference come the business end of the day?

I’m looking forward to the extra challenge. I think the main difference will come down to getting in more food to keep the pedals turning! 

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