CYCLISTS HEAD FOR THE HILLS
This weekend, North Down CC'c racing and touring cyclists will be testing themselves on some of the country's most picturesque but challenging terrain. The Newry Three Day race, promoted by Newry Wheelers, starts on Friday evening with a fast and furious 40 mile race on the Warrenpoint circuit, racing starting at 7pm. Saturday morning's road stage is a testing 60 miles on the rolling roads around Hilltown, Kilcoo and Rathfriland. With little more than three hours to recover, the riders will pit themselves against the clock on the Warrenpoint dual carriageway in a 5 mile time trial, the first rider due off at 4pm.
The trip to Newry wouldn't be the same without a foray into the Mournes and the organisers, understandably, have reserved this pleasure for the final 70 mile stage, a course that is likely to prove decisive in sorting out the general classification. A route that takes the riders from Newry through Banbridge, Castlewellan, Bryansford and the long climb to the Spelga Dam before descending to Kilkeel and to the finish at Warrenpoint is sure to test the legs and lungs of all the riders. This event, which is not open to First Category riders, has increased in popularity over the years and the organisers' limit of 120 riders was reached a couple of weeks ago. North Down's two representatives are Ray Brownfield and Liam Curran, both men making a return to competitive cycling after several seasons away from racing. Brownfield is a former NICF road race and time trial champion and while there is no disputing his pedigree his recent lack of racing may prevent him from mounting a serious challenge for the podium. Liam Curran, who will be partnering Brownfield, hasn't raced regularly for a few seasons but he has been training systematically for a return to competition and is looking forward to testing himself over the coming weekend.
The racing men will have their eyes firmly fixed on the rising skylines of the Mournes on Sunday and at the same time the touring and cyclo-sportive riders will be heading out west to tackle the Western Hills Challenge , a 100 mile charity ride starting from Omagh Leisure Centre. Entry is £10 and registration starts at 9am. North Down's bus will be at GP Marshall's cycle shop in Abbey Street from 7.30am on Sunday morning. Any riders intending to go should contact Harry Adams or Brian Marshall.
Last week's club event, a one kilometre time trial was run off in grim weather. A near gale force wind and driving rain deterred all but five brave souls who decided to tackle the third of the current series. Given the weather, there was never any chance of anyone posting a decent time, especially on the outward leg where no-one managed to break 20mph into a gale. The return leg, normally the slower of the two was by far the fastest and one of the club Espoirs, Myles Geddis, was delighted to post a very rapid 1.13. The final times, averaged over two legs, were as follows;
1. M Geddis 1.35
G Swenarton 1.35
3. C Swenarton 1.39
4. G Paul 1.39
5. C Andrews 1.41
This week's club time trial has been postponed to allow riders to attend the town centre races organised by Ards CC on Wednesday evening.
This Sunday evening, the club is having another social gathering to enjoy a meal at the Bokhara Indian restaurant in Bangor. The Bokhara have been sponsoring North Down CC this year and, following a successful night earlier this year, event organiser, Florence Millar, has been encouraged by the response so far. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Florence or any other committee member as soon as possible in order to finalise numbers.