8 June 2010

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North Down Cycling Club’s flagship fund raising leisure ride, the Coastal Challenge, has once again attained its target total of 700 riders several weeks before the event. Event co-ordinator Terry Nicoletti is hoping for better weather than that that has attended the 100km challenge for the last three years. This year’s ride, scheduled for Sunday June 20th, will follow the traditional route from Bangor to Groomsport, Donaghadee and the A2 road as far as Ballyhalbert from where it will follow the coast to Kearney and on to Portaferry where the riders will have lunch.

Over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of sportive rides around the country. These are normally quite long, from 75 to 125 miles and tend to be demanding by taking in some serious hilly terrain. As a result the sportives tend to attract fit club riders who treat them as fast training rides. The Coastal Challenge is different in that it is aimed at the genuine leisure or recreational rider and is run over a fairly flat Ards peninsula. Each year the Challenge raises thousands of pounds for the diabetes, heart and stroke units at the Ulster Hospital and it is a characteristic of the event that large numbers of people from the Health Service and related areas participate each year.


One event that has been blessed with fine weather for the last three years is the Donegal 3 day race, organised by the Four Masters Cycling Club and based at Killybeggs. Three road stages and a short time trial made up the schedule and North Down Cycling Club had four riders pitting themselves against some strong opposition. The stages are fairly short but notoriously difficult with climbs such as Glengesh thrown in to break up the large peloton which this year was 150 strong. Richard McCullough and Noel Boyce were the highest placed North Down riders, both men losing eleven minutes to the eventual winner, Gareth Enright from Kilcullen.



Last week’s club event was the dreaded “killermetre” time trial run on the Orlock – Groomsport road. Fastest on the night was experienced tester Paul Swenarton who averaged 1min 18secs for the two legs. Behind him and making a welcome return to time trial competition was Russell Moreland, former Irish veterans’ time trial medallist. The top ten on the night were as follows;

1. P. Swenarton 1.18
2. R. Moreland 1.24
3. G. Davidson 1.27
4. M. Lyttle 1.28
5. P. Anderson 1.28.5
6. C. McLarnon 1.29
7. J. Hunter 1.29.5
8. M. Bishop 1.30
9. M. Hodgins 1.31
10. P. Duffy 1,31.5

This week’s competition was a ten mile time trial and results will appear in this column next week.


This weekend offers a choice for road racers. Saturday’s promotion is a two- race programme at Annahilt, courtesy of Dromara CC. In a change from the details published at the start of the season, the main race, the Emma McMullan Trophy is for A1, A2 and A3 riders, run over 63 miles and the supporting race, the Ronnie Smyth Trophy is for A4 riders, covering 43 miles. The main race has a 12 noon start and the A4 race will roll out at 12,25pm.

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