19 December 2006

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All Ireland Championships

Two North Down riders who will be playing a low profile this Christmas must be Raymond Brownfield and Stuart Henry.  After recording medal winning performances in the Ulster Cyclo Cross Championships two weeks ago these two athletes will be stepping up their training in preparation for the All Ireland Championships on the first weekend in January.

Brownfield has been a revelation this year.  Coming back into the sport in the early summer he targeted the cyclo cross season as his main goal.  Some were skeptical that he and training partner, Liam Curran, could match their bold claims.  Yet relentlessly the pair set about constructing a fitness regime which is clearly coming to fruition at exactly the right time.  In October, for example, Brownfield surprised many by his all-out aggression in the early cyclo cross events.  Even when faced with international opposition Brownfield adopted his legendary attitude of going on the offensive on all occasions.  This philosophy has seen this most talented of riders soar to many notable victories over the years and the up-coming All- Irelands should be no exception.   

Henry has been similarly putting together a well organised training programme over the winter months.  Although he is targeting the up-coming track and road season, his fitness is obviously well honed.  Like Brownfield, he adopted an attitude of aggressive riding in the Ulster finals and this took him to a well deserved gold medal – some 4 mins. ahead of the silver medalist in the under-sixteen event.  Whilst it is to be expected that the opposition in the All-Irelands will be even stronger, if Henry can replicate the form he demonstrated at Rostrevor, there is no reason why he can’t bring the North Down club its first all-Ireland medal of 2007.
N.I.C.F Vote for Change
At a Special General Meeting held in the Templeton Hotel the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation member clubs voted overwhelmingly in support of a major change in direction that will see them amalgamate with Cycling Ulster and thus affiliate to the world governing body via Cycling Ireland for 2007.

This joining of forces will bring together cyclists in a sport that has been divided for three decades, and will see NICF member clubs switch affiliation from British Cycling to Cycling Ireland.

The proposal was brought about after the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation’s AGM last month where permission was sought from the members to enter in to formal discussions with Cycling Ulster following a proposal from them to join forces. This is the culmination of the past few year’s work, where relations between the two bodies have been nurtured and have flourished in to a willingness to come together.

Longstanding NICF Chairman Alan Mark chaired the meeting, which saw a landslide vote of 29 in favour and 2 against the proposals set out by the negotiating team that had been in discussions with Cycling Ulster in recent weeks.

A spokesman for Cycling Ulster said “This is an historic occasion and will see the Ulster region become the strongest of the four provincial federations. Relationships between the two groups have been harmonious for the past number of years and this coming together can only benefit cycling in the long term. All members will still be able to opt for their preferred nationality code and thus no one’s identity is compromised.”
Special General Meeting

The changes at the macro level of cycling in Northern Ireland will inevitably result in changes at grass-roots level.  The North down Cycling Club will consider the ramifications for it and more specifically its constitution at a Special General Meeting on the 27th of December.  This meeting will take place immediately after the Mince Pie Cycle.

North Down’s Christmas Programme
Saturday 23 December – Hot Port Run leaving the clubrooms at 9.00am and traveling via Comber, Derryboye, Downpatrick, Strangford – Ferry to Portaferry with a wee nip, soup and sandwiches at the Saltwater Brig then back to Bangor.
Sunday 24 December – Sunday run as normal however I have to report that Castle Espie is closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday and will reopen on Boxing Day.
Christmas Day 25 December  – For those who want to escape the fray on Christmas morning and to help give you an appetite there will be a short run (about 25 miles returning via N/Ards). This will leave the Clubrooms at 9.00am.  
Wednesday 27 December – Mince pie run with sign on commencing around 9.45am at the clubrooms with the choice of 4 runs to suit all ages and abilities.  Club members are asked to come down to the clubrooms early so that they can help to marshal the various cycles, which traditionally attract many non-club members.  After burning off a few of the festive calories you can take pleasure in putting some of them back on again around 12.30pm in the Clubrooms with mince pies etc.  
Attention Juniors
There will be a training/coaching day for Cycling Ulster Juniors on Saturday 27th January 2007 in the Craigavon Watersports Centre. Cost of the course will be £5 per head to include soup and sandwiches at lunch time. A full programme of the day will be posted shortly. All Juniors hoping to be considered for squad selection should make themselves available for this event.

For further details or to book the course contact Michael Murray Cycling Ulster Junior Commission, on Tel.- 02838325060, Mob -07860608306 or by email – michael.mmmurray@btinternet.com

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