Lavery Wins Podium Spot
North Down Cycling Club’s Alan Lavery was on the podium last Saturday in the B event at the Ciclisport Grand Prix, in what was only his second race of the season. The tough Helen’s Bay rider proved that no matter how cold, wet and windy the conditions, he can still perform to the highest standards.
Indeed the East Tyrone Cycling Club promotion was run off in artic conditions. As one pundit remarked; ‘On a day when sensible people hugged the fireside and relaxed, the lycra clad brigade headed for Moneymore with their bikes’. In the fast moving event, over very demanding roads, Alan was always in the thick of the action. However, in the final few miles Ryan Bankhead, from the Ballymena Road Club slipped off the front and in the bunch sprint Gavin Callaghan (Omagh Wheeelers) just pipped Lavery by the smallest of margins.
Another North Down rider who had a great performance in the A event was Liam Curran. Those who know Liam will marvel at the fact that he put his speed and power on Saturday down to ‘rest’. For someone who trains harder than anyone else I know, this is quite an assertion and perhaps Liam has now finally found the elixir for success. Once again this was a race which was dominated by the Pezula squad. On this occasion the victor was not Ryan Connor but his equally accomplished team mate Martyn Irvine.
The pink and black was also represented in the A event by Stuart Henry. Henry acquitted himself well, breaking away from the bunch, which included senior one riders, and soloed to an impressive ninth position.
It was also good to see young Nathan McLeer competing in the first youth race of the season. Nathan looked comfortable in the bunch before going off course five miles from the finish.
On Sunday the North Down Cycling Club was represented in races north and south of the border. In Bohermeen Jessica Laird competed for the first time in a major ladies’ race and demonstrated that, although still a junior, she has the potential to compete with the best on the ladies’ circuit.
Nearer home Decci McMackin, Paul Ferguson and Noel Boyce once again took on the might of the Pezula squad in the P.J. Logan Cup at Coalisland. However, it was Martyn Irvine who made it a weekend double when he, along with teammate Ryan Connor and Glen Kinning (Castlereagh), devastated the rest of the field in the Island Wheelers promotion.
Nevertheless, it is good to see so many North Down riders in contention and especially competitors of the calibre of Paul Ferguson beginning to show the form of which he is capable.
With the lighter nights it is time for the club’s own mid-week fixtures. These events are open to all club members and are an excellent opportunity for everyone to test their levels of fitness. What is obvious is that you don’t have to be the next Lance Armstrong.
In an effort to attract more competitors to the Wednesday events, Eric has come up with a novel and unique competition, called the ‘Pace-Maker Challenge’, which will be attractive to all ages and abilities. In this series, instead of (or as well as) trying to achieve the fastest possible time over a distance, riders can predict the time they will achieve – at a touring pace or full-out race speed – it doesn't matter. What counts is the time difference between predicted and actual time. Points will be awarded based on the time difference – so speed is not of the essence. Just enjoy an evening ride with a small competitive edge. Any club rider of any ability on any bike can enter, with an equal chance of winning. Just assess the weather conditions, the distance, the terrain, your fitness, your current state of digestion, maybe even your bike and then calculate your likely time.
In all there will be 13 events in the series with best 8 to count. No watches or computers will be allowed. Longer events will attract more points. A league table will be updated and posted to the web-site after each event and as usual there will be a generous prize list to attract those who may be a little ambivalent. Next Wednesday’s event is a five mile time trial on the Donaghadee-Orlock course.
Over thirty North Down members and friends, last weekend, enjoyed yet another of Flo Millar’s special social nights in Bokhara Restaurant, Kings Street. Over the years many have philosophised as to what has consistently made North Down the ‘Leading Team’. If I was asked, it would be the myriad of activities which have always characterised this club. As Flo demonstrated, North Down is a very social club. It is also a successful racing club, a recreational club, and a club that can boast some of the best promotions in the country. On this occasion our thanks go to Flo and the Bokhara staff who helped make this such a successful event.
As always, the North Down Cycling Club welcomes any new members, especially those who want to participate in any number of recreational cycles which are promoted weekly. Anyone who would like to know more about these events should visit the club website at:
It is good to see William Barclay and Michael Mitchell back on two wheels again. Both have talent to burn and could be forces to be reckoned with as the season progresses.