2 December 2008

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Cycling’s Gala Night

The biggest social event on the North Down Cycling Club’s calendar, which was organised last Saturday night by the Blayney duo of Eric and Kathleen, was a resounding success. As usual the craic was powerful, the music superb and the food was excellent.

In addition, the evening gave everyone an opportunity to recognise the prize winners who kept the pink and black to the fore in club and open races this year. As well as trophies for the racing men, the coveted clubman’s trophy found a very worthy recipient in the form of the event organiser for the Coastal Challenge, Terry Nicoletti.

On a night such as this, it would be easy to forget the large number of recreational cyclists in the North Down club. However, this was never going to be the case with keynote speaker, Ian Blayney, extolling the virtues of this auspicious band. For over half an hour Ian entertained everyone through the nominations for the Forgotten Also Ran Trophy. His acerbic whit was used to good effect with Noel Boyce eventually receiving the trophy for 2008.

However, this was not just a night of hilarity. Earlier this season a good friend of cycling, Davy McCall was killed in a club race near Dundrod. A trust fund has been set up in his honour and a ballot was held at the function with all proceeds going to the fund. Over £400 was raised through this venture – a fitting recognition to a man who was himself not only a great cyclist but also a great philanthropist.

Pink and Black at the Oval!

The pink and black colours of North Down Cycling Club have been displayed at many unusual venues throughout the world – but last week they were worn for the first time at a cricket ground! The wearer on this occasion was North Down’s junior rider, Stuart Henry who was in London to represent Northern Ireland at the OCS Young Sports Person Awards. In all there were eleven regional winners from sports as diverse as diving, swimming, fencing, athletics and badminton. Henry was the only cyclist at this high powered event which began in the early morning with a photo shoot followed by a champagne reception and lunch.

Amongst the guest at the event were the movers and shakers from industry, politicians (such as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP) and gold medallists from Beijing. The guests were able to see each of the regional winners in training, thanks to a video which had been compiled in October and the young athletes were then interviewed, on stage, by BBC’s Clare Balding. This was undoubtedly nerve wrecking for each of the young people, especially when one considers the calibre of the assembled audience. The occasion was brought to a fitting conclusion by the announcement of Sam Oldham, representing the Midlands, as the 2008 OCS Young Sports Person of the Year.


Hot Port Cycles

The annual hot port cycles will take place this year on Saturday 13th and 20th of December. As usual the cycles will take the highways and byways around Comber and Downpatrick before crossing from Strangford to Portaferry. The return journey will be interrupted by a break at the Saltwater Brig for refreshments.

Turbo Sessions

The Wednesday night turbo sessions are continuing under the watchful eye of Noel Boyce – winner of the Forgotten Also Ran Trophy at the club prize presentation. This week’s session, taken by sports scientist Darren McWilliams focused on the use of power point. The Club rooms will be open from 6.30pm to allow people to get set up, so that the session can start at 7pm.

Child Protection

Noel has also arranged for the Cycling Ulster's Child Protection Officers to come to the Club Rooms on Tuesday 9th December at 7.30pm. They will be talking and offering advice  on the implementation of child protection procedures. Noel requests the support of all members, but especially those who have volunteered to help with this important development in the Club. This is a vitally important aspect of modern living and for those who want to do their homework the Code of Ethics and Good Practice For Young People is available to download on the Cycling Ulster website.

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