NDCC’s Rising Star

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North Down Cycling Club’s rising star, young Nathan Keown, recorded his first A3 level race victory at last Saturday’s tough Hilltown GP (organised by the Armagh & Down Cycling Club). Nathan has been racing hard all season and a top spot on the podium was both inevitable and richly deserved. The race was four laps of a hilly 20km circuit, with a long finishing climb of approximately 5km into Hilltown, that played to Nathan’s strengths. Commenting on the race, he said “I rode more tactically than usual and stayed further back in the bunch for most of the race to conserve some energy. On the final lap I was well positioned on the lower part of the climb and a small group of us broke away from the peloton. On the steeper approach to the finish line there was just two of us fighting it out and I just had enough energy left to clinch the win”.

At just 17 years old, Nathan is a prodigious cycling talent and destined for a top class career in the sport. This year he is riding a new lightweight Vitus Vitesse bike, kindly sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles Boucher Road. Saturday’s win earns Nathan enough points to be upgraded to A2 status and we look forward to hearing of further success in the rest of the season.

Images Courtesy of The Belgian Project.

200 Mile Race!

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Ever considered entering a 200-mile, non-stop cycle race through Donegal, the Sperrin mountains and along the Antrim coast back to Londonderry? Probably not, but North Down Cycling Club’s endurance athlete Louise Togneri took on this new challenge and was the first woman to cross the finish line – a magnificent achievement!

This inaugural race was organised by the legendary cyclist Joe Barr, with riders required to complete the 200-mile route solo, but with a support vehicle and a crew of two. After a rigorous safety check and the installation of GPS tracking technology, Louise set off at 8.00 on Saturday morning (28 April).

Louise said, “the first 70 miles went well, I was making good time and felt strong but I knew the hardest sections were still to come”. After 85 miles Louise had a quick stop for food in Strabane, but there was still 115 miles to go – including some 60 miles of hard climbing in the Sperrins. The scenery was beautiful but with rain, hail and wind, Louise was cold, wet and tired. Digging deep, she made a big push for the finish – still about 50 miles along the scenic Antrim coast. She added, “this was the most difficult time for me, fatigue set in and I had aches and pains all over. My support crew [NDCC members John Hunter and Douglas Ruddock] were brilliant, making sure I ate properly and providing much needed motivation – I couldn’t have done it without them!”

Louise was welcomed across the finish line as the leading female competitor, in darkness, in an impressive time of 15 hours 29 minutes. She was delighted to complete this super tough physical and mental challenge, and huge congratulations from all at NDCC.

Tour of Ulster preview 2018

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This May Bank Holiday weekend will see NDCC’s top riders compete in the prestigious Tour of Ulster road race. This is one of Ireland’s most long established races (1957), with this year’s event attracting elite riders from across Ireland and the UK.

From a base in Banbridge Co Down, the organisers have put together a really tough 3 stage race. Stage One is a 111-mile anticlockwise loop of Lough Neagh, taking in 4 categorised climbs, including a final KOH in Rathfriland. Stage Two really is one for the climbers with 100 miles of racing taking in Sleive Croob, Spelga, Castlewellan and the most difficult climb of the race, the Cat 1 at the Windy Gap. Stage 3 is a fast 10-mile circuit covered 7 times – starting and finishing in Banbridge

Best of luck to our talented five-man team – Keith Phillips, Javan Nulty, Andrew Chivers, Stuart Henry and Timmy Burns. NDCC rider David Hamilton will also be racing as he guest rides for Carn Wheelers.

Hopefully many members will take time over the holiday weekend to support the guys, so look out for further details about the race on Facebook.

Participation in these high profile events is made possible by the volunteering effort of numerous club members and the support from our loyal sponsors – Reid Black Solicitors, Chain Reaction Cycles, The Independent Group of Companies, Bow Bells Restaurant Donaghadee, Bokhara Restaurant Bangor, Downeys KIA Newtownards and Powerhouse Sport.

Masters Weekend – Race Updates

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Congratulations to the five man NDCC team who braved a brutal, incident packed and weather disrupted, Tour of the North at Easter – Timmy Burns, Andrew Chivers, Stuart Henry, Javan Nulty, and Keith Phillips. The sub-zero conditions took their toll on the whole race and a couple of the NDCC riders were further beset with bad luck and cruel punctures. Nonetheless, the team rode strongly and proudly represented the Club and our sponsors, in this prestigious international 3-day race.

Many of the Club’s racers returned to action again this weekend (7-8 April) and in relative Spring-like conditions, Saturday saw the second running of the Killinchy CC GP. NDCC riderscontinued the early season form, with Stuart Henry forming part of an unbeatable A2 breakaway – ultimately crossing the line in 4th place. Young Nathan Keown is impressing everyone at the minute and rode a storming A3 race – finishing 4th in the sprint. Stuart Millar and Gareth McBride also performed well and finished comfortably in the bunch.

On Sunday, a strong NDCC contingent travelled to Maghera for the Carn Wheelers Classic Road Race. In the Masters race, Paul McArthur powered away from the field to record an emphatic victory, with an incredible winning margin of 4 minutes. Paul Kirk and Tom Henry were also both on form, finishing 7th and 9th respectively. In his long awaited comeback, Kieran Beattie showed some attacking spirit, eventually finishing safely in the bunch. In the longer A1 race, Andrew Chivers rode an aggressive race and was part of a winning 10-man breakaway, finishing 7th in the stampede for the line. Keith Phillips was formidable in the chasing group, covering breaks and eventually riding off the front of the group in impressive style!

Congratulations from NDCC to all the weekend’s winners and competitors.


2018 Coastal Challenge Open for Entries

The 2018 NDCC Bangor Coastal Challenge is now open for entries!

NDCC are proud to offer a scenic coastal route of 100km around the Ards Peninsula which has few inclines and takes a break in Portaferry for lunch. So whether you are a serious cyclist or a novice wanting to cycle the distance for the first time the NDCC Bangor Coastal Challenge is the event for you! The Challenge starts and finishes on the Old Belfast Road at the Bangor Sportsplex which has ample car parking and changing facilities. En-route there will be water stations, a “broom wagon” for breakdowns etc. and the event will be overseen by local police assisted by an experienced team of marshalls, with motorcycle paramedics and ambulance back-up. All Participants signed up before 15th May will receive a specially commissioned commemorative T-Shirt.

Fore more information contact coastalchallenge@northdowncc.com