23 February 2010

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Last week’s optimism about the demise of icy weather has proved to be premature. The final pre-season reliability trial, scheduled for last Sunday by Phoenix CC in Belfast, had to be cancelled when riders awoke to find a layer of snow covering the landscape. The prospects for the coming weekend don’t appear to be much better. The opening race of the season is planned for Annaclone on Saturday, to be followed on Sunday by the Phoenix GP on the Nutt’s Corner circuit. The Met. Office is predicting snow through to the weekend and if the forecast turns out to be accurate both races could well be abandoned. It has been a winter where prolonged cold and icy weather has curtailed the normal preparation riders depend on to get them ready for the early season races.

North Down Cycling Club’s racing squad already have one eye on the Easter weekend when the Tour of the North takes place. This race has achieved an improving status in recent years with race organiser Anthony Mitchell succeeding in drawing teams from Europe and Britain to take on the best of the local talent. Easter is fairly early this year giving riders only a few weekends of racing to get fit.


Club secretary Julie Stevenson has made the final arrangements for the trip to the Causeway Coast this weekend. The group is staying in the youth hostel in Bushmills from Friday evening and daily leisure rides are on the agenda. We hope the promised nasty weather gives them a miss but club members bound for north Antrim are advised to bring their walking boots, scarves and waterproofs in the event of alternative activities being necessary.


North Down Cycling Club’s annual Coastal Challenge, arranged for Sunday 20th June, is now open for entries. Event co-ordinator Terry Nicoletti said last weekend that he had already received almost 100 entries. The 100 kilometre ride, now in its ninth year, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Ulster Hospital. There is a limit of 700 riders for the Challenge and in recent years, despite unkind weather, the ride has managed to attract a full field. Previous participants will receive notification of this year’s details through the club’s database and entry can be lodged online. North Down’s website at www.northdowncc.com has a link to the safe online entry system.


Following last week’s notes about losing weight through exercise, your correspondent has been asked for an explanation for the figures that were quoted. The claim was made that, assuming no changes to eating habits, it would take 14 weeks of daily, brisk exercise, of at least an hour each day, to lose a stone (14lbs). Some people claimed to have weighed themselves after a hard session in the gym and claimed a weight loss of two pounds. They also quoted statements made by football commentators about players having lost several pounds after one match. These reported weight loss claims are misleading because almost all the weight loss reported is due to loss of water through sweating and the weight is restored after drinking to replace lost fluids. The equation is fairly easy to remember; one litre of water weighs exactly one kilo (2.2lbs).

The only kind of weight loss that is truly satisfying is that achieved by reducing body fat. The truth is that one pound of body fat is equal to approximately 3500 calories. To achieve this amount of weight loss in a week means a daily reduction of 500 calories, either by exercise, eating less or both.

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