North Down Cycle Skills Night
Over sixty kids descended on Bloomfield Shopping Centre last week’s annual North Down School’s Cycling Skills night. The school children were treated to a free bike ‘MOT’ courtesy of Bikeworks, Balloo, Bangor before attempting a variety of skills devised by club coaches, Noel Boyce and Alistair Irvine.
The administration team, along with the North Down Development officer, Jonathan Moffat, did a great job of ensuring that the evening moved along with a high degree of professionalism. At each skill there were North Down cyclists to impart words of wisdom on such things as manoeuvring through obstacles or cycling with one hand and then the young people had an opportunity to practise the skill they had just been taught.
After the skills had been practised, the teams of 10 riders were given the opportunity to put all they had learnt together on a competitive, timed team event. There were lots of prizes for the team winners which were provided by Bikeworks, North Down Cycling Club and Autobar (Vending Machines). However, everyone received something with certificates and ‘goodie’ bags being presented to all the participants.
Every year this is a most popular event and this was no exception, with beautiful sunshine adding to a great atmosphere. The feedback from the parents and the young people involved was positive in the extreme and North Down Cycling club hope that not only have they nurtured a new generation of cyclists, but a generation who will have a greater understanding of the need for road safety.
Sunday saw, what for many, is the pinnacle of the whole season the National Road Race Championships. In the blue ribbon event of Irish cycling, the Elite Road Race, North Down had Neil McKenna and Paul Ferguson line up against full time, continental professionals, such as Tour de France rider Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), three times champion David O’Loughlin (An Post) and rising star Sean Downey (Banbridge CC).
Over the 168 kilometres both riders acquitted themselves really well, especially as both riders have limited experience of riding races of this magnitude and distance. For example, the average speed in the first of the eight laps was almost 45 kph. Not surprisingly, it was at this stage that the decisive break managed to escape and build up an unassailable lead.
At the line it was Roche who took the verdict, 11 seconds ahead of O’Loughlin, Paídi O’Brien, who finished in second and third places respectfully. Local rider, Martyn Irvine (Curran Racing was next to finish just ahead of Downey, who took the Under 23 championship. Best of the North Down riders was Paul Ferguson who won a terrific bunch sprint, whilst his team mate, Neil McKenna finished safely in the bunch.
In the junior event, which used the same circuit, North Down had one representative, Stuart Henry. After his strong showing in the Newry Three Day the North Down rider had high hopes. However, this was not to be his day and he ended up a disappointing 9th overall. Immediately after the event Henry joined the rest of the Irish squad to travel to Ostend for next week’s European Road Race Championships.
In the not to distant past, the club organised regular cycling excursions, for a period we went away for a weekend trip every month. These where always over subscribed and the intent was to have fun cycling in different places. There was a great social element to the trips and they where planned to ensure inclusion for anyone who wanted to go. This mindset was fundamental to the past successes of our club. As our membership grows it was thought there was an opportunity to re-introduce this aspect of cycling back into club life. So, a weekend away has been arranged for Friday 4th September through to Sunday 6th September, the destination is Gortin Youth Hostel .
The itinerary will be to leave Bangor at around 7 pm by mini-bus and/or cars and travel to Gortin Hostel, arriving around 9pm (see website: www.gortin.net). Supper will be provided.
Following breakfast on Saturday there will be bike ride exploring the Sperrins and surrounding area. This will be a group ride of between 50 and 60 miles. Lunch and dinner on Saturday will also be provided. Sunday morning after breakfast another bike ride will be undertaken before coming back to the hostel for showers, lunch and then return journey home .
The price for the weekend is £45, which includes two night’s accommodation, supper on Friday, breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. This sounds like a great experience for all and spaces can now be booked by sending a non-refundable £20 deposit to Julie Stevenson..
Manchester Velodrome Visit
Tickets are now on sale for the World Cup event in Manchester at the end of October. Once again it is Ms organiser herself, Julie Stevenson, who has done all the hard work pricing hotels, flights etc. Several members have already booked for this trip and others have shown a real interest. However, Julie warns that track-side tickets will sell out very quickly. So if you are considering going you should get in touch with Julie immediately.
25 Mile TT
John Hunter had a terrific performance in the club’s 25 mile time trial last Wednesday night when he recorded a time of 59.50, 13 seconds faster than Paul Swenarton. In third place it was great to see former champion time trialist, Declan McMackin who demonstrated that he has lost none of his skill by recording a time of 1.0.52. The winning tandem time was recorded by Harry Adams and Mark Coyle, who did a time of 1.6.21.