31 May 2007

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Reflections on the Tour of Ireland 2007

Hamilton Topping, a good friend of our touring secretary, Terry Nicoletti, recently took part in the inaugural Tour of Ireland cycle and we are indebted to him for sharing some of his reflections of that event with us.  According to Hamilton as it was a new event no-one really knew what to expect – apart from the fact that it was due to be cold and wet.

On day one the large group were given a great send off from Island Centre in Lisburn.
However, it wasn’t long before David Lloyd and his crew were  pushing hard on the small hills and the group was scattered down the road

There was much talk the first night about being sensible.  Again it was stressed that it was not a race – but Hamilton says you could have fooled him.  Fortunately all the hotels were top class and most were in bed by 9pm!
Breakfast each morning was at 6.30 am, bus at 7.15 – wheels turning at 8am. On the second day a new strategy was adopted. There would be 3 groups – team leaders were appointed and escort vehicles assigned.

The run in to Galway was one of the highlights of the tour. The route into the heart of the city was cleared  all the way by the Guards and outriders. It was like the Tour De France with everyone speeding up and trying to do justice to the situation.

In fact, according to Hamilton, the Blazing Saddles team were world class at managing such a cycling event as the extent of the back up was amazing.  There were, for instance, 350 guards deployed at some time over the 4 days to get everyone through all the towns and villages.  There were 30 other support staff covering motorcycle escorts, route marking, feed stops, baggage, admin, first aid, mechanics, and media car with the whole event being videoed and much more. If there was any reason for doing this event then the level of back up in itself was enough.

The final day was perhaps the hardest with 3 mountain climbs.  Nevertheless, everyone was thrilled to have been part of the 470 mile epic and has pencilled in the next edition in May 2008.

Touring runs for June include:-
For those of you who wish to take part in some up-coming events, there are plenty to choose from:
Sunday 3 June 2007 Cyclo Sportive 140K challenge and 90K leisure run through the Sperrins:-
Sunday 10 June The Wicklow 200 details from  www.wicklow200.ie/
 Saturday 16 June North Down CC Bangor Costal Challenge No Doubt Brian Marshall and the Committee organising  the event will be calling on all of us as Club Members to support the event by marshalling if required and if not required for marshalling then by participating – please give your support.
Saturday 23 June The Border Trek details from  www.cooperationireland.org

Club Recreational rides
Myles and Tim have started taking groups out on Tuesdays, leaving the Groomsport Road roundabout at 7pm. The ride is around two hours at a pace suitable for leisure riders. If you want to join in, come along or if you know someone who is interested, please pass this on.

Youths should note that the Cycling Ulster TT Championships have been put back to Wednesday 27th Juneat 7.00pm.  The venue remains the same.

Henry wins again

Stuart Henry continued his winning ways when he out sprinted the rest in the Emyvale Grand Prix on Sunday last.  It was great to also see both Rachael Mitchell and Craig Swenerton in the thick of the action.  With the Northern Ireland Championships only a week away, it is fantastic to see so many of our young members in such good shape.

Club Two stage TT

1.    P Swenarton,     10.23 and 2.02, total 12.25.
2.    S Henry,     10.42 and 2.01, total 12.43.
3.    J Hunter,     11.13 and 2.14, total 13.27
4.     M Hodgins,     11.30 and 2.11, total 13.41
5.     C Swenarton,     11.37 and 2.06, total 13.43
6.     O Parkes,     11.47 and 2.03. total 13.50
7.     G Swenarton,     13.42 and 2.14, total 13.56
8.     D McCreadie, 11.51 and 2.09, total 14.00
9.     G Boyle,     11.59 and 2.20, total 14.19
10.     C Andrews,     12.09 and 2.17, total 14.26

Schools Skills Event
All club members are asked to make themselves available (from 5.30 pm) to assist at the Primary Schools skill event next Thursday evening.  Once again the venue will be Valentine’s and it will be followed by a barbeque.  This is a most beneficial and enjoyable evening and a great shop window for the North Down Cycling Club.

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