12 February 2008

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Cycling’s ‘Pace-Maker’ Challenge

In an effort to attract more North Down Cycling Club members to compete in the Wednesday events, new race secretary Eric Blayney has come up with a novel and unique competition.  As Eric explained earlier this week, ‘We have many members who seem to shy away from the racing nature of these nights but will never miss a Saturday club run’.  Indeed Eric is quite right.  Often the weekend ‘recreational’ cycles can be even faster and more demanding than mid-week races, but many members appear to be just a little reluctant to take up the challenge.

This year, however, no-one has any excuse as Eric has devised a competition which will be equally attractive to racing and recreational cyclists.  For obvious reasons Eric has called the season-long competition the ‘Pace-Maker Challenge’, but clearly it will be open to all ages and abilities.
Interestingly, in this event, instead of (or as well as) trying to achieve the fastest possible time over a distance, riders can predict the time they will achieve – at a touring pace or full-out race speed – it doesn't matter. What counts is the time difference between predicted and actual time. Points will be awarded based on the time difference – so speed is not of the essence. Just enjoy an evening ride with a small competitive edge. Any club rider of any ability on any bike can enter, with an equal chance of winning. Just assess the weather conditions, the distance, the terrain, your fitness, your current state of digestion, maybe even your bike and then calculate your likely time. 

It seems such an obvious idea and an excellent excuse for all our club members to compete regularly, regardless of the weather conditions or their standard of fitness.  What Eric is interested in is seeing more and more people turning up to enjoy club events. Indeed, members from other clubs will be most welcome.  Eric must be commended on his efforts and it is clear that no-one has any excuse.  Wednesday night must become synonymous with North Down cycling event for all club members.

It would, therefore, be worth visiting the club’s website for the full timetable of events and then posting those dates on your calendar.
Get Well Soon, William.
Through this column last week we congratulated William Barclay on his excellent bronze medal in the Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championships.  William, who is an aeronautical engineer, only returned to Northern Ireland last January, having spent several years working in Italy and North America. He put in a tremendous winter’s training and was getting into superb condition in preparation for the up-coming season.  Unfortunately, whilst out training last Tuesday night William fell heavily and will be out of action for several weeks.  Everyone in North Down wishes this affable, quietly spoken athlete a very speedy recovery and look forward to him terrorising the others again with his smooth pedalling action.

Youth Training Camp
North Down have another young star in the making.  Last weekend, first year Under-16 rider, Nathan McLeer was successful in being chosen in the Ulster squad to attend a national training camp in Mayo later this month.  Nathan has put a big effort in this winter and his ability in the hills drew note from different quarters.  Certainly if this young St Columbanus pupil continues to apply himself he has a bright future in the sport.

North Down Clothing
Any members or supporters of North Down Cycling Club who require club clothing should get in touch with Mark Coyle immediately as he is currently compiling an order.  As always all club clothing can be purchased through Mark at cost price.  As always a list of the items being ordered can be found on the club website.

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