11 October 2011

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The Basics:

It’s been noted that on club rides some riders have been sailing a bit close to the wind with respect to their attire. It is appreciated that the club has grown exponentially in recent years and not all the members have spent most of their life chasing two wheeled excellence. We must respect that many of you have never witnessed Djamolidine Abdoujaparov zig-zag up the Champs Elysees like a sailor on a group ride, been on the receiving end of an Alistair motivation speech or even raced on the Holy Grail that is Italian tarmac. However this is no excuse for turning up looking like you got dressed in darkness.

You can’t all be stage winners or even win the 30’s against the Sprint King but at least you can look cool going out the back like you’ve found a reverse gear on your cassette.

Shorts: No such thing in a rider’s wardrobe. The only acceptable garments to wear are bibshorts, without exception. Contrary to what some people may think they don’t last forever. Lycra is revealing enough without a transparent rear panel.

Your jersey must match your shorts, which must match your arm warmers, which must match your socks. I think you get the idea.

Cyclo Cross Round 1 – Lurgan Park:

Sun 2nd Oct saw five North Down riders head to Lurgan Park to contest Round One of the Ulster Cyclocross series . Two seasoned campaigners Michael Hamilton and Ross Blayney were joined by two riders new to the discipline Michael McMullan and The Prince while Chris Cameron did the honours at the mountain bike support race. Matty has previous off road experience with an abundance of mountain bike results to his name while Michael and Ross need no introductions. Michael McMullan in contrast would have to rely on his great form and reflexes to get him round the course.

It seemed that due to the typhoon that had swept Ulster the flooded course would have suited our more nautically inclined members but on the day they chose a “duvet day” in contrast to a hard day’s racing with the men.

Anyone not familiar with this peculiar cycling discipline only need to know that races typically take place in the autumn and winter and consists of many laps of a short, typically 1.5–2 mile course featuring tarmac, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike whilst navigating the obstruction and remount. Races for senior categories are generally an hour long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions. It’s a huge sport in Belgium with many of their rides making a career out of the sport. Fortunately our riders all have day jobs.

The race started and the North Down competitors made a cautious start as conditions were the most difficult ever seen by many riders. Unfortunately the conditions cruelly exposed any weaknesses in a rider’s armour and Michael McMullan’s inexperience was punished in the opening laps. He slipped on the unforgiving course sustaining a minor blow to the head. He climbed back on and soldiered gamely on but had to retire shortly after.

The rest of the team gradually moved up the placings as the race unfolded with Matty finishing just outside the top ten when the flag dropped. Ross and Michael Hamilton finished close on his (very muddy) heels.

Well done to the boys on this tough event. A fine start to the ‘cross season with the riders showing good promise for next five rounds. Hopefully Ray will be joining them soon in the next rounds to lend another weapon to the arsenal.

Special mention to Ross however for turning up to a mud bath with a bike sporting a white saddle and bar-tape. Obviously a rider with a firm understanding of “The Basics”.

Next round is Sunday (16th) at Lady Dixon Park, Belfast. Why not turn up and see our top riders in action?


Michael Hamilton

Michael Hamilton


Matty Blayney

Matty Blayney




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