Sun, Sangria and Sean Kelly
North Down Cycling Club’s 2008 trip to Majorca carried on the tradition of previous years by coinciding with a week of almost unbroken spring sunshine. A record attendance of 24 members were based, for the third successive year, at Club de Pollentia, a large, spacious hotel set in several acres of gardens a couple of miles from Alcudia. Ideally located for flat and hilly rides, the hotel’s reputation for excellent food meant that some riders returned with a little extra weight, despite having clocked up a few hundred miles. The annual Mile Eater award this year went to Martin Lyttle who managed to clock up a bottom numbing 600 miles, some of which included the most challenging hills on the island.
Elsewhere, some of the new recruits to the island such as Burton Dean, Robert Clarke and John Hicks had a slightly more relaxed approach, happy to mix long runs with opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the island, often viewed through the bottom of a glass at one of the daily, leisurely lunches. It was at one of these breaks that some of the riders were fortunate enough to meet Sean Kelly, legendary Irish cyclist who, for several years in the Eighties, was ranked number one in the world. Sean, along with North Down’s Alastair Irvine, are engaged each spring to chaperone groups of cyclists on training and leisure rides around Majorca and the ever approachable Kelly was happy to take a few minutes to chat with some North Down riders over a cup of coffee.
As was the case last year, all the travel arrangements went smoothly and the club would like to express thanks to Philip Downie, who co-ordinated the trip, and to Feherty Travel in Bangor who arranged the accommodation and the transfers between airport and hotel.
The Majorca trip is now firmly established as an opportunity for both serious training and more leisurely touring and the club anticipates another big response when the 2009 trip is announced later this year.
The sportif cycles are now in full swing. Last weekend, in atrocious weather, several North Down clubmen took part in the notorious Tour of the Glens. This weekend it’s the turn of the Dromara Cycling Club's "Coastal". This is an annual event for many. From the leisure cyclist to the more focused fitness or club rider, the coastal has something for everyone. Two distances are offered: 85 km (53 miles) and 115 km (70 miles), starting from Dromara Football club located on the Rathfriland Road, Dromara on Sunday 11 May 2008.
Sign on will open at 8:45 am and the event will start at 9:30 am after a quick photo call. The tour offers a great day out with like minded people going at a pace that suits you. Along the way you can take in the fabulous scenic route along the south Down coastline and the shores of Strangford Lough. There is a food stop arranged in Strangford where cyclists can eat and chat before heading back onto the road again. Just outside Quoile riders can decide which route to take back. Either they can continue enjoying the coastal scenery and go the longer route or take the more direct