13 November 2007

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For a professional cyclist an actual infusion of new blood could lead to
a ban and professional suicide. In the case of North Down Cycling Club,
however, club members are hoping that, following the election of a
number of new faces to the committee, the 'new blood' will bring fresh
ideas and energy that will enable the club to continue to grow and
maintain the successful record of 2007.

At the club's AGM, held in the comfortable premises of sponsor, the
Bokhara restaurant, members were pleased to hear positive reports on a
number of fronts. At the end of 2006 the club, along with the vast
majority of former NICF clubs, decided to affiliate to Cycling Ireland
and the club has benefited, with officials and riders able to gain
access to a wider range of opportunities. Membership continued to grow,
club finances were strong and there was a high level of involvement by
members in a wide range of cycling disciplines including road racing,
time trialling, track, cyclo-cross, mountain biking, touring and
recreational riding.

As well as staging three Northern Ireland championship races, Youth,
Senior and Hill Climb, the club became involved as the principal
organiser of the Coastal Challenge, now firmly established as the
country's biggest mass participation charity ride. On a competitive
level it was once again the youth riders who grabbed most of the
headlines. Craig Swenarton and Rachel Mitchell between them won
representative honours for Ulster and a handful of championship medals
to boot. Gareth Boyle rode for an Under 16 Ulster team and Stuart Henry
continued to flourish winning Ulster, Northern Ireland and All Ireland
titles. His personal highlight, however, was being chosen for a team of
only three riders to represent Ireland at the European Youth Olympics in
June. Just recently, Rachel. Craig and Stuart formed part of a
development squad of young riders who travelled to the indoor velodrome
in Newport, south Wales to gain experience on the track.

Mindful of the importance of maintaining strong links with the
community, the club invited very young riders  to the annual Bike Skills
event in June. Well over 80 primary schoolchildren enjoyed a series of
fun challenges and a barbecue and there were, of course, certificates
for everyone.

At the more seasoned end of the age range,  the annual programme of long
distance touring rides attracted the usual large crowd of regulars
although bad weather disrupted several events. Global cyclotourist John
Hicks  managed to escape the dreary weather and headed once again for
the USA to take part in a 1600 mile trip down the west coast . He even
had time to pick up a beautiful, new, made to measure titanium bike
while he was there.

On a sadder note, the club remembered Brian Marshall who was killed
while cycling earlier this year. Brian was a long serving member of the
club  whose commitment, enthusiasm and expertise contributed to the
success of so many club activities. He is and will continue to be,
sorely missed.


Three committee members from 2006, Harry Adams, Paul Ferguson and Wilf
Redshaw stood down but there was no shortage of volunteers, most of them
new faces, to take their place. The starting line up for the next year
is as follows;
Club Secretary- Florence Millar
Treasurer- Mark Coyle
Open Race Secretary- Anthony Mitchell
Club Race Secretary- Eric Blayney
Touring Secretary- Terry Nicoletti
PRO and Social Secretary- Tom Henry
Also elected were Keith Millar, Ciaran Andrews, Noel Boyce and Myles Geddis.


While the new committee start to make plans for the management of the
club next year, the cycling members have already taken the initiative by
making preparations for the annual trip to Majorca, which will be from
19th to 26th April. Once again Philip Downie has been the prime mover in
getting arrangements sorted out. The venue will be the popular Club de
Pollentia and early indications are that the cost might be even less
than last year. Participants should book their own flights and bicycle
transport directly with Easyjet and accommodation is booked through
Feherty travel in High Street.
One rider unlikely to be distracted by the three course lunches with
white wine that featured so prominently among some of last year's riders
in Majorca is Paul Swenarton. A top class veteran time triallist, Paul
is looking for a partner to help him try to break the 12 hour roller
racing record. The current record, set by Ian and Tom Henry , is a
formidable one but if Paul can get a willing partner the aim is to go
for the record sometime in the autumn 2008, with preparations and
testing scheduled for February or March.

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