Irish National Cyclo-Cross Championships 2018

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NDDC were represented by three intrepid riders at the 2018 Irish National Cyclo-cross Championships at Glencullen Adventure Park, County Dublin, on Sunday 14 January 2018. Ray Brownfield rode in the M40 race, with Kevin McDowell and Brendan Kirk riding in the over 50s. The cyclo-cross track at Glencullen had been converted from an old golf course (a sign of the times) with numerous off-camber sections, sand pits and some very challenging gradients. Competitors agreed it was a great set-up, producing one of the toughest races of the year! Weather conditions for the Sunday started out dry with light winds, but this changed towards midday when a strong north westerly started to blow cold air across the site. Ground conditions were described as ‘heavy’ with energy sapping mud in all parts of the course. Over seven laps, the brutal conditions took their toll on both riders and bikes, with many riders swapping to a second bike in the pits after every other lap. Huge congratulations to all three NDCC members who rode exceptionally well on the day, and a special mention to Kevin who entered every race this season.

Ray Brownfield – 17th/57
Kevin McDowell – 26th/32
Brendan Kirk – 28th/32


Images Courtesy of Toby Watson

Brownfield’s Back!!

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Ray Brownfield announced his return to competitive cycling this weekend with an emphatic win at the Kinning Cycles cyclo-cross race at Knocknagoney in East Belfast. After a long illness in 2017 and only two months of intensive training, Ray entered the first race of 2018 with fairly low expectations. Cyclo-cross is a notoriously tough cycling discipline and on a frosty winter morning, the hilly course around Knocknagoney Park was going to be a major challenge. Not having raced for most of 2017, Ray was placed at the back of the starting grid but after the first lap he began to feel strong and after three laps he’d worked his way into the lead. He held this position for another four gruelling laps, eventually winning by a full minute. This was a remarkable comeback performance in an event attracting competitors from across Ireland. NDCC and the wider cycling community are delighted to see Ray back to full fitness and we wish him all success for the forthcoming Irish Cyclo-cross Championships in Dublin and the 2018 road racing season.

Ray can be contacted at Brownfield Bike Repairs and Restorations.
75 High Bangor Road, Donaghadee. Tel 07413 020102

Images – Toby Watson

Cycling Weekly “Ride with NDCC”!

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Cycling Weekly “Ride with NDCC”!

2018 got off to a flying start with Cycling Weekly journalist – Patrick Trainor, joining the Saturday 6 January club rides. Many will be familiar with the popular “Ride with …” feature in the Cycling Weekly magazine, which provides clubs throughout the UK with an opportunity to showcase their history, achievements, favourite routes and interesting characters.

Following some poor cycling weather over New Year, the forecast for Saturday was fortunately set fair with unbroken sunshine, a chilly feels like -1o and a stiff north-easterly breeze. Over 50 members gathered at Baylands for the usual staggered start and this provided Patrick with an opportunity to meet some of the club committee and to brief the two professional photographers commissioned for the day.

Patrick opted to head off with the Steady Cloughey ride and after being tested up the rise to Orlock, the group settled into a comfortable pace and took advantage of the wind assistance heading down the coast. With bright sunshine, a scenic coastline and a tempestuous Irish sea, the two photographers were spoilt for choice with picture opportunities. The rolling changes allowed Patrick to chat to many in the group and at Cloughey, he thoughtfully doubled back to join the second group and accompany them to the coffee stop in Harrison’s.

The Scrabo Room was full to capacity and absolutely buzzing with chatter. After the usual excellent hospitality from Helen and her team, it was time to organise a few close-up group shots, taking full advantage of the elevated location and the amazing view over Strangford Lough.  This photo shoot included a range of randomly selected members, not necessarily chosen for their photogenic qualities, and we look forward to seeing the final results! The inland route back to Bangor provided Patrick with a further chance to talk with people and he again took the time to hold back and ride with some newer members.

We sometimes take our club and the North Down geography for granted, but Saturday reminded us of just how fortunate we are. Patrick commented that he was “so impressed with the standard of riding, camaraderie and friendliness among all groups and abilities”. NDCC would like to formally thank Patrick and the two photographers (Dylan and David) for the tremendous effort they put into making the whole day an unquestionable success.

We expect the publication of the magazine article in around 3 weeks and to provide members with the opportunity to access some of the high quality photographs taken on the day.



Hot Port Run … Santa baby!

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NDCC was in festive mood last weekend (16 December) for the traditional Hot Port run to the Saltwater Brig. Some of the Christmas outfits were nothing short of “amazing”, with baubles and fairy lights proudly displayed. Perked up by a shot of caffeine at Baylands Coffee Company, over 70 cyclists set off to criss-cross the Peninsula and rendezvous at the Brig. Although the weather was much improved from earlier in the week, reports of icy road conditions around Ards and Comber meant that the favoured route for some, via Strangford and across on the ferry, was off limits. Meanwhile, back at the Brig, innkeeper Orla was busy lighting the fires and preparing the usual homely welcome, including a bowl of warming vegetable soup and crusty bread. Fortunately, the NDCC festive run always has a few willing elves on hand to fix punctures and the various groups all made it safely to the Brig, more or less on schedule. As ever, the hospitality from Orla and her team was marvellous and members enjoyed great craic while thawing out and steeling themselves for return trip to Bangor. Our nominated charity for the festive season is the Motor Neurone Disease Association, with riders contributing generously on the day. Congratulations to Johnny and Jude Webb for making it all happen!

Images by Terry Nicoletti

2017 Fréd Awards

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2017 Fréd Awards

By public voting, the annual Fréd Awards recognise the people across Northern Ireland who help to “create a better bike culture”, often working quietly behind the scenes. At a recent ceremony in Belfast, NDCC was prominently represented with an impressive collection of awards.

Eric Blayney was voted “Fréd of the Year” for his tireless promotion of cycle sport – from his MTB league back in the 90s, right through to the hugely successful current Kirkistown race series.

Ray Brownfield’s Bike Repair and Restoration won the Best Local Bike Shop award – we’re delighted for Ray and he provides an outstanding service to many club members.

Bow Bells Donaghadee won the Best Bike Café award – like their rhubarb crumble and custard, richly deserved! We are most grateful to Mark for the ongoing club support.

#seethecyclist was voted Best Bike Campaign and NDCC is committed to cycling safety.

Congratulations from NDCC to all the Fréd Award winners, across all categories, and we wish you continued success in 2018.