2 February 2010

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With the 2010 racing season only three weeks away, most cyclists agree that it has been many years since their pre season preparation has been impaired to the extent experienced this winter. North Down Cycling Club’s racing squad have found scant consolation in the knowledge that, while the local roads have been treacherous at times, other parts of the country have been far worse. Long weekend training runs usually involve early starts and there have been a number of occasions when the first 20 miles have been covered at or below freezing point. These sorts of conditions create a dilemma for riders. If they go out on frosty or icy roads they run the risk of a fall and a broken collar bone can take weeks to recover from; if you don’t train for five weeks it can take 10 weeks to get back to your original fitness level and before you know it you have lost half a season. On the other hand if you play safe and stay indoors you will enter the season only partially fit and low in confidence, convinced that every other rider in the peloton is fitter and faster than you.

So far, there are no injuries to report and, given decent weather, the three remaining reliability trials over the next three Sundays should enable riders to hit the starting line with some degree of readiness. .


North Down’s competitive cyclists have planned their race programme for the season and although the schedule of races doesn’t change much from year to year, recent changes to the way in which races are run have led North Down to break away slightly from tradition. Following consultation with the PSNI, race organisers now have to operate within guidelines that place restrictions on the number of riders taking part in a race. In most cases the maximum is 60 riders, the main exceptions being top stage races like the Tour of the North and the Tour of Ulster. This leads to many instances of race organisers having to turn down entries from quite a lot of riders and it is possible for a competitor to be turned away on successive weekends. One way of avoiding this situation is to travel across the border where no such restrictions apply and so North Down has decided to include a few races in places such as Donegal, Monaghan and north Dublin. .


North Down Cycling Club’s signing on night last week drew another 25 members and with one more night set aside for registration the total is quickly approaching the 100 mark. The final, formal signing on is set for Friday, 12th February. The clubrooms in Park Drive will be open from 7.30pm. Membership fees are explained in detail on the club website at www.northdowncc.com and membership forms can be downloaded and printed from the website. New members joining Cycling Ireland for the first time should bring a photocopy of a driving licence or other document that shows date of birth. .


Last week’s workshop on bicycle maintenance proved to be a great success. Twenty would-be home mechanics were led through a series of mechanical procedures by Declan McMackin and the feedback from the students was very positive. So much so that the original plan to have two sessions has been reviewed and Declan has intimated a willingness to add more nights should the demand arise. Details of proposals will be circulated via club emails and this column. The agenda for this Friday’s demonstration, beginning at 7.30pm, includes routines that go beyond the level of simple checks and adjustments. Declan will show what is require to carry out basic wheel trueing, stem and headset maintenance, removal and fitting of the chain and rear wheel cassette. In addition he will make recommendations about building up a set of basic tools. As before, coffee and biscuits will be available and there will be a small cover charge of £2 per person. .

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