All Systems Go for Cycle Touring
This promises to be a very exciting year for all those recreational cyclists belonging to North Down Cycling Club. With a burgeoning club membership, especially in the touring section, the club touring secretary, Terry Nicoletti, has been busy compiling a programme which will satisfy the varying demands. For example, in April, in addition to the traditional weekend club tours from the clubrooms Park Drive, he has pencilled in a ramble on the 10th and then there is of course the Mallorca trip leaving on the 21st. In May there is an organised event virtually every weekend, including the Tour of the Glens, the Tour of Ireland Challenge and the Tour of Mayo.
All of this builds up to the biggest recreational, charity cycle in the country – the North Down Coastal Challenge, which will be held this year on the 16th June. Our own club will be organising this event this year in tandem (excuse the pun) with Mickey Forbes and Harry Scott, who both had the concept and the motivation to get the event running some six years ago. As Mickey explained, ‘I simply wanted to put something back into the community… we never envisaged that it would grow to such an extent.’ Grow it certainly has, with around two hundred the first year to an amazing 700 last year. Indeed, for safety reasons it has been decided that 700 will be the maximum number of entries taken this year. Clearly this most successful of events is a winner not only for the charities and the participants but also the local tourist industry.
To cope with the huge entry we are once again asking all members to make themselves available on that day to help with signing-on, marshalling etc. The club’s event co-ordinator is Brian Marshall who has already put in hours of work preparing the ground-work, in consort with Mickey, Harry and the police. It seems reasonable, therefore, that others could give one day to ensure that the event is a real success.
Racing season gets under way
The atrocious weather conditions failed to deter the 80 plus cyclists who lined up for the Phoenix Grand Prix at Nutts Corner on Sunday last. In the A race the first category riders took less than a lap to make up the two minute handicap on the 2nd category group and immediately a six man group clipped off the front and stayed clear throughout the race. The group comprised Ryan Connor (Giant Asia) Matthew Ward(Usher IRC), Paul Vaughan (Maryland), John Neill (Phoenix CC), Adam Armstrong(Northern – Dave Kane) and Simon Williams (Orchard Wheelers). The group rode steadily until the final lap when Connor and Armstrong broke clear and in the run in to the finish it was Armstrong who proved the fittest crossing the line 34 seconds clear of Connor. The remainder of the group finished some 2 minutes later with 19 year-old Simon Williams edging out Ward and Vaughan for third place. Conor Lavery(Apollo CT) and Keith Gallagher (Orchard Wheelers) rode strongly and were unfortunate to get dropped from the lead group halfway through.
Youth Training Camp
Rachel Mitchell and Stuart Henry made the long trek last weekend to Mayo for the Youth Training camp. This proved to be a challenging experience for all the young people present, especially for those in line for consideration for the Youth Olympics in July. As well as setting out the criteria for selection for this event, the Talent Identification officer and former Irish International, Tommy Evans gave the A group a vigorous workout on both Saturday and Sunday.
Anyone wanting to take part on any of the club’s recreational cycles will be made very welcome, irrespective of ability. A full range of tours is on offer but the most popular are the Monday and Thursday morning cycles and the Saturday morning run around the peninsula. This cycle leaves the clubrooms park Drive at 9am and it is left up to everyone’s own discretion as to how far they choose to cycle, as one group will only go as far as Ballywalter whilst another will go to Ballyhalbert and Kircubbin.