Saturday, 28 February 2015

John Moore Memorial Road Race 2015 Report

This isn't a Race Report, it's a typical Castlereagh slagging session based loosely around today's race....
This time last year I think Castlereagh had 7 members including 2 kids, who through a huge amount of work on individual's parts and with help from friends somehow yet again ran the race - successfully. This year I think we have 33 members including 4 kids and a cool new kit. That gave us the chance to up our game and run two separate races, including a separate Women's League event. Right now I'd like to hug each of those 33 members (even the ones through work commitments and accidents couldn't make it) and thank them for their enormous help in making today so successful. We also have some amazing friends - thank you.
The day wasn't without drama, with a couple of fallers in the A1/2/3 race - initial reports sound like nothing bad. From a selfish point of view the Castlereagh riders did us proud - 4 (yes 4!!!!) riders donned the jersey, the most I can remember in probably 10 years. Inspired by their fans graffiti on the startline Andrew, Sam and first timer Jeff rode out of their skins in the A4 race. Our good friend Trudy was actually spotted smiling in the Women's Race, and both Chris and Mike did brilliant in main event.
The 4 lap Women's Race was a huge success with 17 riders and what looked like from my corner a great attacking race. Congratulations to Judith Russell on the win and to all the riders. The 5 lap A4 race again got the best out of the rolly circuit and tough wind proving the A4's are capable of good racing. Paul Crossan of Killinchy took the win.
The A1/2/3 race started immediately after the finish of the A4/W with the scratch group giving away a 3 minute handicap over the 8 lap race. At this point I was forced to return to Lough Moss to congratulate the earlier winners and missed a chunk of racing, but judging by the photographs it was proper aggressive racing and we got very positive feedback from the riders after the race. Shortly after I made it back David Hamilton was the winner and proud recipient of the John Moore Memorial Road Race trophy.

Ruth, Rachel, Fiona and Michelle were looking after both the sign-on and prize giving. Their hard work and total lack of drama put the men to shame! I couldn't say thanks enough. Finally to every single person involved - it may not have been perfect and we will get better, but I don't think I could be more proud of OUR club. ‪#‎vivacastlereaghcc‬

Dont forget to check out our facebook for plenty of the days action in photos: 

A1-A2-A3 Race
1 David Hamilton (North Down CC) @ 2:16:48
2 Andrew Bye (Newry Wheelers)
3 Craig McAuley (Roe Valley)
4 James Curry (Banbridge CC)
5 Angus Fyfe (Tomac CC)
6 David Watson (North Down CC)
7 Mark McKinley (Newry Wheelers)
8 Christopher McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles)

A4 Race
1 Paul Crossan (Killinchey CC)
2 Joe McQuillan (Phoenix CC)
3 Trevor Campbell (East Antrim CC)
4 Paul Kirk (North Down CC)
5 Richard Cowan (Dromara CC)
6 Unidentified (VC Glendale)
7 Gary McClune (Team Madigan)
8 Des Flannigan (Phoenix CC)

Women’s Race
1 Judith Russell (Phoenix CC)
2 Eileen Burns (Ballymena RC)
3 Karen Hull (Phoenix CC)
4 Trudy Brown (VC Glendale)
5 Hayley Preistley (La Lantern Rouge CC)

Link to A1 race Strava:
Link to A3 race Strava:
Link to Ladies race Strava:

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Groundhog Day

My choice of route for the Lites was a case of Groundhog Day for me, having done the exact same yesterday albeit with a different coffee stop. The reasoning, was that it suited the wind and I knew the timings so we could rendezvous with the Full Fats for coffee. Surprisingly it worked out perfect.
The Full Fats were Nightmare, Retro, Hannibal, Bullet, De Niro and Flashdance, while accompanying me on the Lites were Sean, Darragh, Philip, Jeremy, Mark, Lanterne and Resurrection. The Lite route looped us across the Kings Rd and up Greengraves Rd before tracking back round the side of Scrabo and dropping into Comber. Out past Castle Espie and through Ardmillan, Ballydornan, Whiterocks, Killinchy and into Balloo. Our training goals for the day were to ride in two straight lines tight to the left, and to avoid unnecessary or overexcited warning shouts which cause nervousness in the bunch - tranquilo tranquilo, mission accomplished.
As we settled down for coffee (and jumbo sausage rolls for some), Nightmare appeared with the Full Fats looking suitably wrung out. Their route will be up on Strava later, but I know it took in Darragh Cross and a lot of drumlins.... Everyone squeezed in and caught up. We also concocted a plan to allow any Lites feeling frisky to get a taste of Full Fat life on the way home.
Leaving coffee, 5 riders turned right and left direct for Ballygowan along the Ballybunden Rd determined to work together to beat the Full Fats on a longer lumper route (they succeeded). The rest of us turned left and right along the Saintfield Rd and the succession of kickers. The whistle was a new experience for some, but the pace was enjoyable in a twisted sadomasochistic way. We turned right on to the Carrickmannon Rd and soon fell into a number of small groups forming and splintering on the hills (I love that ****). Everyone knew the plan was to re-group in Ballygowan and sure enough there were was the direct group waiting and looking smug.
From Ballygowan, we nipped into the lanes and cruised across to Moneyreagh. Eventually we popped out on the Comber Rd and split up. Today was just about perfect in offering something for everyone without having to compromise anyone's ride - result!!!!

Here's the full fat strava ignoring the first 13k or so.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

50 Shades of Green

Being Valentines Day, Retro brought out the "other woman" in his life today - his long suffering steel mistress - clearly a sign spring is coming. While we're being steamy, he christened today's ride "50 Shades of Green" on account of the fields of cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts we rode through.

Three of us headed out the Knock carriageway, through Cherryvalley and along the Kings Road. On to the last bit of the greenway to Greengraves Rd and a gentle climb up to the Ards dual carriageway. Another right and round the side of Scrabo, before dropping back into Comber. From there past Castle Espie and through Ardmillan all the way to Wacky Dave's (aka Daft Eddys).

We arrived just before 11 having held a nice smooth pace all the way. Brian is definitely showing the benefits of getting out regularly through the winter. Beating the rush meant we were served quickly and back on the road in no time. Round to Whiterocks, up the the climb through Killinchy to Balloo and across to Ballygowan. We lifted the pace on the run in, making sure everyone used up their biscuits.

From Ballygowan we headed out towards Saintfield then flicked into the lanes and zig-zagged across to the Clontnacally Road and home. A nice simple, smooth training ride, using a lot of regular roads but kinda in reverse. Hard enough to do some good, but not too hard to be unenjoyable. Home for 12:30 with time to enjoy the rest of day. Happy Valentines!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

8 in a row

If 7 days in a row is good for you, 8 in a row must be even better!!!! That's the kind of stupidly flawed logic that people like Hannibal and me apply at 3:30am. Hence the two of us rolled up (me late, sorry) praying for a quiet one.

The roads around the Four Winds were still icy, so the plan was to seek the salt air and stop in Bangor. With two of the normal routemeisters subdued things were a little confusing, but after traversing the carriageway we rode along the Old Holywood Rd and then cut from the bottom of Creightons Green Rd on to Whinney Hill. It turned out a good choice, stretching everyone but breaking no one.

We continued towards the George, then left to the carriageway and round the Bangor ring road. We headed out towards Donaghadee then swung left through Groomsport and back to Ballyholme. Hannibal recommended Garfunkels and used his charm to get us all squeezed in. I think Flashdance had ridden on, but we still had Hannibal, the Terminator, De Niro, Resurrection, Lanterne, Darragh, Philip, Brian, Mark, Derek and Jeremy. In the absence of a cafe con leche I settled for a cappuccino while others indulged in fries, pancakes and bagels.

Homeward bound someone lead us out towards Carrowdore, enjoying the sunshine. We then swung back to Ards with the promise of a free-for-all up Bradshaw's Brae. Seeing Hannibal and De Niro set a nice steady temple I thought it was time to lob in a hand grenade and split things up. Mission accomplished it was great to see Darragh up at the pointy end. From there we rolled down the Upper Newtownards Rd and waited for riders to peel off. Finally it was down to three Colombians (we live at altitude) to struggle up the Cairnshill Rd.

Cold, but dry and bright. A different route and different coffee stop - a recipe for a good morning out. Time for bed now.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Entry Open: John Moore Memorial 2015

The John Moore Memorial A and B Race are full. There is currently a short reserve list which you can get onto through Entry Central.

The Ladies race has plenty of spaces and we would appreciate if anyone wanting to race would sign up soon to make organization easier:
For more information on the race go here:

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Dollop of Cream on Top

We don't do Lite on tour, we don't even do Semi-Skimmed, we do Full Fat with a dollop of cream on top.... We arrived late last night and somehow missed out on water and breakfast food, so we took the amazing coast road round to Puerto Rico for breakfast (two in some cases).
The weather was perfect and even undershirts came off as we turned inland from Puerto Mogan, climbing through El Hornirillo and then turning right onto the GC605. We reckoned it was 23k of climbing from there, so I was kinda surprised when all four of my teammates started attacking it at the pace they go up the 300yd Valverde Hill outside Ballynahinch. I reckoned I would see one or two again before the top!

Thanks to a broken gear cable 1st Cat (the one who works in a bike shop) only had two gears - fair play - thanks to a bit of ingenuity and the bottle cage mounts at least he had his choice of which two gears.

At the top we stopped for lunch, before catching the GC60 all the way home - whoever designed that road was clearly a bikie, although the two major kickers showed they had a sense of humour. Everyone rode brilliantly and most importantly kept it save. Looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

PS thanks to Hannibal's good lady for the amazing villa find - way too good for the likes of us! PPS Bullet is now called Clarkson on account of his obsession with POWER.

Ice Ice Baby

As i write this my toes are just about returning to life, having been in the freezer for the past 4 hours - somehow i get the feeling our mates in Gran Canaria aren't having the same issues.
The club room at Forster Green's saw 8 souls up for a ride - in no particular order, De Niro, Neil, Sean, Dara, Flashdance, Jeremy, Mike and Philip. So, where to go? Thankfully yesterday's beaufort scale winds had abated to a strong westerly gust but that still ruled out a ride to Donaghadee as the return ride would be a heart breaking ride home into a headwind. What about Islandmagee then?, a few shrugs/grunts later and off we went bound for the Gobbins.
Going on memory from a few months back we made our way through the city and on to the Shore Road, just past the Abbeycentre i knew we had to turn left but my memory wasn't as good as i thought when turn into Rathcoole - this can't be right i thought and Jeff got us back on course and onto the Doagh Road. We were having a good chat as went, Dara and Sean recounting yesterday's ride to Downpatrick (flying in one direction only to crawl back home). By the time we'd turned onto the Old Garrick Road ice was starting to make an unwelcome appearance on the verges of the road bring out warning calls of Ice!, Ice!, Ice! through the pack which gave Flashdance a chance to reminisce about Vanilla Ice and the aforementioned "Ice, ice, baby" - with his fluro shoe covers he wouldn't have looked out of place on an 80's dance floor. On to the Upper Road and we were all keeping our eyes peeled for the white stuff and working well as a group, everyone taking a turn at the front - although we allowed the stronger riders a longer turn to ensure they got more out of the ride.
After Marshallstown Road a quick right/left took us on to Dalway's Bawn Road, still mindful of ice we treated fast descents with caution. Still riding as one the group fractured on the climb at Bridge End Road just before Ballycarry - at that point I found and extra gear (that'd be reverse!) as Dara, Sean, Jeff, Jeremy and Flashdance ripped it up. We regrouped at the top of the climb and hung a right in the village towards Islandmagee - a warning of caution on the descent proved timely as ice lay in wait on the fast corners down to Larne Road.
Over to Ballystrudder and a opportunity to ride into Whitehead or extend the ride as we did before by circumnavigating the island. Good on everyone for picking the extended ride (or as i like to call it, the 12" remix). This was a chance for Neil to see what he had missed the last time and for me to relive that gawd awful drag along the misleadingly named Low Road and Brown's Bay Road - once again the group was strung out along the road but dutifully the faster riders waited patiently at the top. The view over to Shane's Hill being particularly impressive - the hills cloaked in snow, creating a picture postcard panorama.

Through Mullaghboy/Portmuck and with the wind on our backs - did i forget to say that the last drag also had an arctic headwind for good measure? The ride down past the Gobbins Road provided an HD view of Scotland and Ailsa Craig. We were making good progress and returned back to Ballystrudder where Flashdance broke off for him as he had planned to go metal detecting with Flashdance Jr. And then there were 7, time for tea/coffee if you ask me - off we went to he vintage tea rooms in Whitehead as we had done previously. Dara got served with the best china so it was pinkies out (his wee finger ya filthy bunch!). The chat turned to dream bikes, ti frames and encounters with Sean Kelly - one track minds the lot of us!

Post caffeine hit and a flake or two of snow sent chills through the group (in more ways that one), now we were homeward bound and it was all downhill from now on - well, give or take! We picked up the pace a bit, mindful of not breaking the elastic. With little to report, we cycled through the Eden, Carrickfergus and Whiteabbey before joining the cycle path alongside the M5. Into the city and Jeff and Jeremy broke off at Lagan Weir while the rest of us headed for Ravenhill Road. Sean's stats for the ride showed a total of 55miles riden, a good effort for the lites I'm sure you'll agree. And so we went are separate ways. Thanks lads for making a day of it - great craic as always. See you all next week.

Strava link: