14 October 2008

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Trip to the Tip

As a recently retired veteran cyclist with North Down Cycling Club, Noel Boyce has been clocking up many miles on his bike, taking him all over Northern Ireland. However, with the summer being  such a wash out, Noel felt that he had really missed out.  He explains that, ‘It's not that I am a fair weather cyclist; I just don't enjoy starting in the rain. So when we got a period of settled weather at the end of September, I decided to have one last 'good' spin before having a rest prior to the winter training season.’

Taking advice from more experienced North Down members, Noel planned a touring trip round the south coast of Ireland, to take in Mizen Head, the most southerly tip of Ireland and on Sunday 28th September he set off from Conlig at 7.00a.m.  It was a glorious sunny day, with a morale-boosting tail-wind, en route down the east coast of Ireland.

Noel planned to avoid main roads and take the quieter and safer minor roads where ever possible, taking the old Mara cycle route between Newry and Drogheda and then via Naul into Dublin. He then pushed on south of Dublin to his first overnight in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow. This was a journey of 145 miles in just over 9 hours of riding, climbing over 5300feet and burning up 8563 calories. Noel admits. ‘I was tired and hungry but the adventurous nature in me loved every minute.’

Day Two took him via the beautiful Brittas Bay to Wexford in the South-East of Ireland. After a good lunch of soup and sandwiches, he headed east into a head wind, over undulating roads, to the Ballyhack ferry across Waterford Harbour and continued on the coast road through Tramore to my overnight stop in Dungarvan. This was another 120 miles trip in one day with 5450feet of climbing, burning 6326 calories, which required some serious eating in the evening time.

On the third day he cycled eastwards, with the sun on his back, riding onto the Great Island of Cobh in Cork Harbour, where he caught the ferry across to Monkstown. This kept him clear of busy roads in and around Cork and took him through picturesque Kinsale to his hotel in the south west corner of Ireland, in the town of Skibbereen. This was another hard day of 106 miles into a head wind with nearly 5900 feet of climbing.

On the fourth day he reached Mizen Head, the most southerly point in Ireland, and what a greeting he got from this wild spot on the edge of the Atlantic. Not only was there a fierce 30mph wind but also torrential rain. This slowed his progress over the climbs of Caha Pass and Molls Gap, where he experienced some of the most spectacular sc
enery in Ireland. Skirting around the Macgillycuddy's Reeks he  eventually reached the Abbey Gate Hotel in Tralee having ridden a very creditable130 miles, with 7120feet of climbing, in the worst weather he had ever experienced on a bike.

Once again on the fifth day the weather started sunny and calm and enabled Noel to make good progress up the west coast and over the Tarbert/Killimer ferry into Co. Clare. However, the weather turned nasty once again and with a stiff head wind and heavy prolonged showers.  This slowed the progress  up Ireland's Atlantic coast but, nevertheless, he still managed 108miles arrived in Oranmore on the outskirts of Galway.

Spurred on with the much improved weather, day six saw Noel take the inland route  to Sligo.  He eventually crossed the border unto native soil in Fermanagh and finished his trek in Enniskillen, where he was warmly greeted by a very proud daughter.  With a distance covered of 737 miles, 32,688 feet climbed and 41,359 calories burnt, it was certainly time for a well earned rest.  It is interesting to note what can be done on a bicycle – the most efficient form of transport ever.  It is such a pity that more do not have an understanding of this aspect of the sport.


Bike Maintenance

The Bike Maintenance classes continue this Friday night in the clubrooms and will develop member’s knowledge of the workings of  brakes .  More particularly, how to adjust them, change brake blocks, adjust and replace different cables.

Harry will  again bring his wheel jig along if anyone wants to check or adjust their own wheels at the end of the night.  If anyone who hasn't been to the previous sessions and wishes to come on Friday night they will be very welcome.  The sessions run from 7pm – 9pm, with a £1 donation towards the costs of tea and coffee.


Club Clothing

The new order of North Down Club Clothing has been received.  There will be a ‘fitting’ session shortly.  However, anyone who ordered something specific should  contact Mark Coyle immediately directly by e-mail on geraldine532@btinternet.com

Turbo Sessions
To continue the Club Rooms Winter Programme, it is intended to start a weekly turbo session, commencing on Wednesday 22 October at 7.00pm, when we shall have the services of Darren McWilliams, BASES Sport and Exercise Scientist. Darren, who will only be available for the first session, will start with a short talk and provide a suitable training programme for all concerned.
This is a good opportunity to fit in some midweek spinning, with fellow club members and to avail of excellent advice prior to commencing a winter training programme.  All you need to provide are your own turbo trainer. There will also be access to roller racing for the competitive cyclists in the club.

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