11 August 2009

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A record field of 60 riders took part in the final Kirkistown race of the season. Once again the weather was kind, with sunny but breezy conditions. A large group of club riders set off a lap up on the other two groups, but without proper organisation the group fragmented quite early on and was closed down by the chasing groups before half distance. The more experienced riders in the handicapped groups stayed and worked together eventually combining and leaving most of the club riders behind. Their pace averaged 26mph for the 50 minute race

Martin Irvine of Curran CC, one of the top riders in the UK, upped the pace further with 10 minutes to go. Some tried and failed to go with him, but the effect was to fragment the leading group. Martin won by a clear margin. The chasing group of 4 was led in by Paul Ferguson of NDCC, Kieran McKenna of East Antrim and Declan McMackin NDCC making his return to racing. Next NDCC rider home was Matty Blayney to maintain his lead in the series.

The much anticipated racing debut of sprint king Ian Blayney was hampered by inadequate work from his domestiques, notably Ross, Clifford and Matty Blayney. Ian was made to do too much work on his own and the crowd were left disappointed.

Daniel Stewart and Noel Munnis were unfortunate on the night when a crash ended their hopes for victory.  Our best wishes are sent to both Daniel and Noel and trust they make a speedy recovery.

Tour of Armagh
In last Sunday’s Tour of Armagh, Richard McCullough collected a well deserved 1st unplaced 3rd cat in this prestigious event on the Ulster calendar.  In his first season in cycling and has proved that he is a talent to watch out for in the coming years.

Aquatech North Down Grand Prix
On Sunday 23 August , North Down CC are hosting the Aquatech North Down GP.  With a total prize fund of £700, this 100 km race is sure to attract some stiff competition for our own riders.  To ensure this race is run safely, both for the competing cyclists and general public, we require static marshals and motorcycle marshals.  If you are available or require further information please contact Ciaran Andrews. (ciaran.andrews@hotmail.com).

Ulster 25 Time Trial Championship
Paul Swenarton and John Hunter tonight take part in the Ulster 25 TT championship on the Woodgreen circuit. This season has seen both riders breaking 1 hour for this distance and we wish them success in their bid to lift the championship title.

Touring Events
Some members have expressed an interest in repeating last years touring adventure from Portrush to Bangor via Antrim coast road. there are limited places available on the club bus. If we have a strong turnout then the bus could take the bikes and tourists could take the train and meet the bus at Portrush. The bus will accompany us home. The run is on Sunday 30th August leaving at 8am from the club rooms.
To book a place in the Club Bus contact Stephen Quinn

For the leisure cyclist who enjoy a tough challenge, they don’t come much tougher than Foyle CC’s Tour of Inishowen which takes place on Sunday 16th August in aid of Macmillen Cancer Care. This year the club have also included a 50 mile challenge which cuts out many of the climbs and is ideal for those who want the training but are not yet ready to tackle Kinnegoe Bay or Mamore. It is also suitable for younger riders who want to be involved.  Starts at 8.30 am.  More details can be found on www.foylecycling.net

Dromara hilly

Last Sunday’s decent weather was good enough to entice  a group of riders to the notorious Dromara Hilly 125, surely one of the toughest touring events in the country. Although a relatively short course, the 125 km route manages to find every conceivable tarred stretch of uphill terrain within a fifteen mile radius of Dromara. An analysis of the route by one of the magical new pieces of bicycle technology, namely, a Garmin satnav system especially designed for cycling, showed a total climb of over 8,000 feet. Not surprising when the route included Dree Hill, the Windy Gap and the Spelga Pass. It’s one of those routes that contains very little in the way of flat, steady recovery riding; you’re either freewheeling downhill at 40 mph or grinding uphill at 7mph or less. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable challenge that attracts riders of varying abilities. Last Sunday, for example, North Down’s leading veteran rider, Noel Boyce was both excited and alarmed to find himself at one point in the company of current Irish international riders Martyn Irvine and David McCann. The rest of the North Down squad, triathletes Norman Wilson and Gary Swenarton, along with regular sportive participants Keith Millar, Harry Adams, Brian Stevenson and the Blayney brothers Trevor, Eric and Ian were in a less ambitious mood with Ian and Trevor doing the event for the first time.

All riders finished safely, having had a chance to recharge the batteries at the midway food stop in Leitrim. The burger and salad at the end was also wolfed down in the usual post event rush to replace lost calories.

Hicks Down Under

Veteran long distance rider John Hicks, already firmly established as North Down’s most experienced traveller is currently in the middle of a 3000 mile ride across Australia from Perth to Brisbane. John is no stranger to these challenges, having twice ridden across the USA from Pacific to Atlantic. He has also completed a ride down the Pacific coast of the USA, toured New Zealand and completed the famous Land’s End to John O’Groat’s. This time however, the Oz trip is much more adventurous. On  all his previous long rides he was part of a group with full back-up and prearranged accommodation. This time he is going alone and having to be completely independent for long stretches. This means carrying all his food, water, clothes, spare parts, tent and sleeping bag on the bike.. You can catch up with John by logging on to his blog which can be found at  cyclopath-johnhicksoztrip.blogspot.com

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