After an amazing journey with our wee Scottish pocket rocket, it is sadly time to say goodbye to Isla.
As of January 1st 2018, Isla will no longer be riding for OMX Pro Team.
Isla joined OMX back in 2015 as a first year Under 23, and as the team rebranded and relaunched as OMX. Isla has therefore been with the team on a long and winding road which has seen us help Isla through some darker times, but which mostly consists of many wonderful moments of success, laughter and friendship.
Team Manager, Paul Beales, reflects on our time together:
“Our goal from the very beginning was to help British athletes progress and give them the platform to race at the highest level. It has been a privilege to have Isla as a part of OMX for the last 3 years and help in her development as an athlete. The lows of a broken back to knocking on the door of the World Cup podium has created a unique bond and if we have played a small part in bringing Isla closer to her goals then we can only be happy. Isla has the World of bike racing at her feet and we wish her the very best for the future.”
We asked Isla for her Most Memorable Moments at OMX. Here is what she said:
I sat down to write about my five favourite moments from my time with OMX, and after staring at a blank bit of paper for five minutes I wondered how I could possibly choose five singular moments from the last three years that stand out from the rest. After many scribbles and notes I realised that I just can’t. Since joining OMX in 2015 I have met my absolute bestest friend, qualified for the Commonwealth Games and travelled outside of Europe with a group of incredible people. But these things don’t even begin to summarise my time with the team. So, know that the memories I have picked are not necessarily stand out experiences, but instead they are just five of hundreds of moments I have felt privileged to have such crazy, witty, supportive humans in my life.
- March 2015: The final day of a three week trip to South Africa
Right at the very start, I flew out to South Africa to meet my teammates and do some racing. I’d never left Europe before, nor had I ridden for a professional team, so it was fairly daunting. Three weeks later I hiked up Table Mountain with my new-found racing family, ate banana pizza (yeah what is that?) on the beach, and unsuccessfully tried to kayak with Cherie at the point where the Indian ocean meets the Atlantic.
- 2015: Discovering beautiful Lenzerheide
A couple of days before our racing started at Lenzerheide World Cup, a few of us got the gondola up to the top of the downhill track to watch Downhill Qualifying. The view from the top of the mountain is one of my favourite views in the world. That’s when I fell in love with that place! That same trip I remember arriving at the accommodation, walking into the living room and going crazy because Mariske was there and I hadn’t seen her in 10 months. World Cup trips were so much more than going to race my bike!
- May 2016: 16th at La Bresse World Cup
After being absent from racing for a while, I was full of self-doubt heading back out onto the World Cup scene in 2016. At the second World Cup of the year I raced to 16th in La Bresse, winning a four-way sprint. It was the first time in two years I’d felt the front end of bike racing within reach, and when I collapsed at the finish line to an emotional team of staff (Imogen was teary), I realised just how much the guys on OMX shared my goals. It made me realise that my racing is a team sport, and that I was part of a pretty swell team.
- July 2017: Annie’s World Cup Win
I have spent two years on OMX with Annie, during which time I’ve learnt about her success, her strengths, and her hardships in the bike racing world. When she crossed the line at Lenzerheide this year to take her first elite World Cup win (and the team’s) it was my go to turn on the water works. I’d gone for post-race cake with Ella Connolly; we were sat in a café 2km away when my phone flashed up saying that Annie was leading with one lap to go. “Ella, we need to go now,” then a sprint back to the venue just in time to watch Annie cruise up the finishing straight. What a thing to see! I am so grateful that I could be a part of that day, as Annie’s teammate and as part of OMX.
- August 2017: Career Best in Val di Sole
I started this year knowing that I was capable of being a top 5 World Cup rider, and after five frustrating races I pulled it off at the sixth and final round. Paul Beales – OMX Team Manager – shared my frustrations all summer because he believed it too and knew that when things came together I would achieve what I’d set out to do. Finishing 4th in Val di Sole was the best day of my life so far and I got to share it with the people who’d been with me from the start, and knew that they felt what I felt. Now that my journey with OMX is coming to an end, I’m so happy that my final World Cup in red and black was such an awesome one.
What wonderful memories!
Of course we will miss Isla and all her characterful traits – her repulsion at the taste of Tequilla, her long auburn hair EVERYWHERE, her strong sense of self, her amazing cakes and that big smile – but we wish her the very best in the future and will always be proud that we were a part of her cycling career. Good luck, Isla!