17 Febuary 2009

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Preparation for New Cycling Season
The benefits of having a sports scientist ‘on board’ were very evident last Friday night when Darren McWilliams gave an extremely in-depth talk to North Down Cycling Club members.  In his address, which included a question and answer session, the  requirements necessary to maximize performances in the up-coming cycling season were highlighted.  Darren drew on his considerable understanding and his undoubted expertise in the area to underline some  valuable and important points which will help North Down’s cyclists compete with the  highest possible degree of efficacy.
For example, Darren pointed out that good nutrition was crucial as research has shown that endurance performance will be maintained if athletes replace lost fluid and carbohydrate during exercise. The importance of replacing carbohydrate and / or fluid will depend on the conditions in which exercise is conducted.

It seems self-evident that fluid and carbohydrate intake will be dependent on the intensity of exercise, duration of exercise, ambient temperature and the relative humidity.  Darren noted the fact that as the intensity of exercise increases, the athlete’s body will shift from oxidising (burning) a combination of carbohydrate and fat to oxidising a larger amount of carbohydrate. At high intensities the athlete’s body will only rely on carbohydrate as the source of fuel for energy production. At these high intensities of exercise, the body’s stores of carbohydrate may become depleted in as little as 45-60 minutes. Exercise at this intensity could include chasing down a break in a road race, conducting interval training or trying to stay with a large group of riders during a touring event.

Our bodies will only store a limited amount of carbohydrate.  Therefore, if this carbohydrate is not replaced during high intensity exercise then the body will suffer from the condition known in cycling circles as getting the ‘knock’ or the ‘bonk’. The technical term for this is hypoglycaemia, which simply means a reduction in plasma glucose concentrations.  Forgetting the technical terms, anyone who has experienced the ‘knock’ – when it seems that one simply hasn’t the energy to stand – will agree that it is an experience never to be repeated.

It is worth remembering, however, that it is not only during high intensity exercise that athletes can suffer from hypoglycaemia. During exercise at moderate intensities, similar to those ridden during winter training rides or touring events, athletes can become hypoglycaemic after 170 – 180 minutes.
The good news, however, is that the ‘knock’ won’t occur and endurance performance will be maintained if athletes replace lost fluids and carbohydrate during exercise. The amount of carbohydrate and / or fluid will clearly depend on the conditions in which exercise is conducted. It is, therefore, imperative that no-one embarks upon any cycle, be it a gentle run to Ballywalter, the Peninsula Challenge or the Tour of the North without an adequate and easily accessible supply of carbohydrates or liquid.

We certainly are indebted to Darren and the advice he has already proffered this winter.  This counsel has not only been in the field of nutrition but also in other areas, such as training methods.  Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the weekly turbo sessions in the clubrooms.  These training sessions are now reaching a crescendo as the new season nears and anyone who wishes to attend should contact Noel Boyce.

Bike-It Cycles Sports Quiz

The winners of the sports quiz, which was supported by Bike-It Cycles, was announced at the Club's General Meeting on Thursday night last.  The
1st prize (£75 voucher for Bike-It cycles, Grand Parade Belfast) was won by Paul Quinn.  In 2nd place, winning a lunch for two in Bowbells Restaurant, Donaghadee, was Paul Kirk.  With 3rd place and a bottle of whiskey  going to Simon Wright

The club are very grateful to Bike-It Cycles for their su7pport and also to Noel Boyce for organising the event.

Club Clothing

Given the numbers of new members who have recently joined North Down Cycling Club it is obvious that new club clothing will have to be ordered.  Anyone in need of clothing should contact Mark Coyle immediately at geraldine532@btinternet.com so that an order can be placed.

Ulster Women’s League

North Down ladies should note that a comprehensive Women’s League has been organised for the up-coming season.  This is a fantastic opportunity for the likes of Rachael Mitchell and Jessica Laird to demonstrate their dominance.  The events include:
1st March     Phoenix GP (22 miles)
5th April     Aghagallon Cup (21 miles)
16th April     Dave Kane 10 mile TT, Woodgreen
19th April     McCann Cup (Distance to be confirmed)
26th April     Bann Valley Classic (Distance to be confirmed) )
9th May     Groucho GP (24 miles)
24th May     Emyvale GP (Distance to be confirmed)

Racing Season

It’s hard to believe the racing season is only two week’s away with the curtain going up as usual on the Annaclone event, near Banbridge.  The club has purchased a new massage table and, as promised, club masseur, Harry Adams will add his little bit of magic to the riders’ preparation on the Thursday night (26th) prior to the event.  Those intending to avail of this facility should contact Harry who will be pressing the flesh from 6.30pm on the night.

In addition to races targeted by the North Down racing team, there are a number of races which appear attractiv
e.  These early season events include:
March 1st     Phoenix GP , Nutt’s Corner.
March 8th     John Haldane Memorial, Newry.
March15th     Traders Cup, Dundalk.
March 28th     Ciclisport GP, Cookstown
March 29th     PJ Logan Cup, Coalisland.
April 5th,     Aghagallon Cup ( 3rd cat. junior, vets and youth only )
April 5th     Ben McKenna Memorial and Jim Wherity Memorial, Balbriggan.

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