Monday, 29 June 2015

Oxford Island Sunday Ride

While a few of us traveled down to the Irish National Cycling Championships, the club run also headed west to Oxford Island. Thanks to Derek for these photos. 
Here's a link to the ride:

And there's even a video!

Irish National Cycling Championships 2015

With the Irish National Cycling Championships just down the road and some good friends racing, we took the opportunity to try out some new roads. Six of us packed into two cars and headed down the road, arriving in Omagh at about 9:30. After Snake Hips signed a few photographs we headed out under mixed skies.
I had half an idea of a route and it turned out perfect. From Omagh to Fintona, then Dromore and over to Drumquin. As there are only six cars in Tyrone, it felt like we had the roads to ourselves and despite the wind, we skipped along. From Drumquin we picked up signs for Sloughan Glen waterfall and pointed upwards. When the road pointed back downwards Digger tried a bit of off-roading, but admirably didn't just hold it upright, he kept pedalling!
At the bottom we turned right, again climbing up by the wind turbines and taking in stunning views. I think we were in Fermanagh at this point, but turned right again back into Sean, Retro and Comrades homeland of Tyrone, not that any of them had much clue where we were. In Castlederg we turned on to the home leg via Drumquin. The wind was tough, but knowing we were on the last stretch we opened the taps and wrung out whatever everyone had left.
3hrs 20 at a great pace on amazing new roads. All we had to do then, was grab a quick shower and watch the last couple of laps of the champs. Unfortunately our team mate from Saturday (the Pro) had crashed out on the first lap, but fortunately he was in a better state than his bike. A late lunch in Rue finished a great day out. Thanks to everyone for a really fun road trip!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Dirtier Dozen

The Dirty Dozen rolled out of Forster Green in relaxed mood. Some of us a little dirtier than others. Big G called circuitous loop round to Dromore through Drumbo and Boardmills. Mark suffered an early rear puncture and then a front just before coffee, but nobody got worked up.
With the Pro in full chill mode and the top floor of Cafe Thyme all to ourselves, stories of the old days flowed. It's amazing how cafe culture has developed in the last few years - our order was a bit more pretentious and diverse than back in the day. Comrade's Tea Club is growing too!
Home was pretty direct using Edentrillick Rd to work back towards Hillsborough and home. Mark got all the bad luck with a 3rd puncture, but given the good weather we just used it as a chance to chat.
Well done Paul on his second club run, a bit of a step up from the last time with just me. Have a good one tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Gran Fondo Giro D'Italia Northern Ireland

Today was like Christmas Day if you are a cyclist. Riding on roads closed to traffic is a dream come true.
Eight of us met at bottom of the Ravenhill Road at the ungodly hour of 6.45. Thanks Mark!!
Roll call, Mark W, Fred, Brian Jr, Darragh, Sean, Digger, The Gimp and Hannibal.
The plan was to ride en mass to the Titanic quarter and meet up with some more friends before setting off. Our new jerseys are easily spotted in the crowd and we soon picked out Nitemare and Chris R.
Given the big numbers we decided to err on the side of caution and half of us went with the 20+mph bunch, while the other guys slotted in further down the line.
It was a quick start with Kaners hammering the pace to Crossnacreevy, thankfully after that the pace dropped a little.
It was a long route so I'm not going to bore you all with every twist and turn.
Looks like everyone made it round safely, three punctures that I know of. Two due to tacks spread by saboteurs and thankfully my puncture was right at the line caused by glass. So the pump got put to good use!!!
After crossing the line we headed straight to the Pasta Party and some well deserved free beer.
Looking at some pictures from UTV, looks like Chris R finished at the top of the Castlereagh riders and just behind Paul Kane a very well done!!!
Great riding by all today and fantastic to see the club kit on display in strength.

Bring Out the Gimp

Bring out the Gimp! Today was one of the most chilled and fun rides I can remember. It seemed to be a magic combination of old friends & new kit, post-race & pre-Fondo legs, sunshine & beer.
Eight of us left Forster Greens with a vague plan to go up Hannahstown Road and somehow to Ballyclare. James and Jonny were out with us for the first time and the Beast was back from his studies. Sean was rocking his new CCC kit, while Hannibal and Digger are just scary fit after a few months racing. Bones was back and also looking strong.
Somewhere near Nutts Corner I punctured and then again a few miles later. Usually that would dampen the spirits, but for some reason we just took it as an excuse for top class banter. My new super tight and shiney long sleeve jersey was likened to fetishwear, hence the "bring out the gimp" line - that's one of the few things I could repeat. Sorted we rode through Doagh to Ballyclare and a fun coffee stop at Pots. Home was back via Doagh and the Longshot.
A few of us decided to pick up our packs for tomorrow's Gran Fondo and discovered (unsurprisingly) that the Italians clearly designed De Rosa's and Cinelli's to hold wine bottles! Thanks to everyone for a super chilled and fun morning out.

Andrew 6th at Ormeau Park Crit

Castlereagh CC achieved another top result on Friday night with Andrew Ferguson taking 6th place in the A4 Criterium at Ormeau Park.

Andrew was seen to be attentive through the race and coming into the finish line was battling it out in the sprint for the prizes.

Well done Andrew!

1st Paul Traynor Phoenix CC
2nd Ian Weir TVR
3rd Paul McMinn Ards CC
4th Daniel Daly Phoenix CC
5th Ivor Hessian Phoenix CC
6th Andrew Ferguson Castlereagh CC

Full report and results here:

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Ards Super 7 Crit

Tonight was the Ards Super 7 Crit, which was open to all ages, Castlereagh was represented with 4 youth and 2 aduldts in the A4 race.

riders, Luke in the U8 catagory, Ben, Matthew and Cameron in the U12 catagory and also 2 A4 riders, Jeff and Andrew.
 The U8 race started at 7 with Luke off first in the novice race, he went really well completing the 2 laps and holding the pace really well.

Next was the U12 race with the boys having to complete 4 laps, all 3 stuck well together for the first 2 laps before Ben got his nose out in front, the competition was of a very high standard and all 3 boys gave a great account of themselves.

Andrew and Jeff both also took to the start line. There was a split mid way through the race, with Jeff making the front group and Andrew chasing in a group just behind.

Coming into the finish Jeff managed a great result of 5th and Andrew came in with the next group home.

A really well organised night which helped with the roads closed around the town centre, well done to all at Ards CC

More photos from the Crit taken by The Belgian Project can be found here:

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Game of Three Halves

Today was a game of three halves.... I'm the last person who should be writing this, as after missing the mothership, my half was a solo ride over Starbog Rd, Douglas Top and Big Collin calling briefly at The Battery for a coffee.

Piecing together Derek's video, photos, Strava links and an on the road phone call with Digger, it sounds like the other two halves also went north.

From the look of the soup, I reckon the main group got to the Halfway ,, while Retro and Digger went on to Glenarm,, also indulging in soup and scones, before turning inland and chasing me over the Collin.

Here's Derek's video although personally there is only so much Castlereagh ass I want to see!!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed the sunshine, as much as me (pass the after sun....).

Andrew in top 10 at Bobby Crilly

Castlereagh CC's Assistant Secretary, Andrew Ferguson, scored another result for the club. Finishing 10th in the tough Bobby Crilly Classic A4 race which ends on top of Divis!

A4 Race

  1. David McIntyre (Maryland Wheelers)
  2. Stephen Irvine (Dromara CC)
  3. Luke Ireland (Phoenix CC)
  4. John Topping (Northern CC Dave Kane)
  5. David Wright (Phoenix CC)
  6. Andrew Nicholson (Phoenix CC)
  7. Gerald McKenna (Square Wheels)
  8. Ivor Hession (Phoenix CC)
  9. Graham Beckett (Dromara CC)
  10. Andrew Ferguson (Castlereagh CC)

Links to results and write ups below:

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Crying in the Shower

It's great that we're now a big enough club to head off in different directions now and then, but it doesn't mean I don't worry they're safe to let out on their own - by the sound of this report on the Sunday Run and of Snake Hips "crying in the shower" my fears may not be totally misplaced. Sounds like fun anyway.... Thanks to Lee for the write up and pics.
We headed down to Forster Green in anticipation of a big turn out for the Sunday's club run. The weather was much improved from Sat and the sun was almost shining! Chef and myself (Cav) arrived about the same time as David (from now on - Billy G - as he hates the hills!) who was full of beans as he rode from Comber to the start point. Quickly we saw Joe, Jeremy, Brian & Melissa (on her very first club run - well done!) Martin, Phillip, Michael and our very own Retro who was nominated route master.
Now this is where it get gets sketchy - I think we headed north? I know we were on the Antrim road, I seem to remember some trees and then we hit Whitehead! Somewhere along the way Brian and Melissa broke off and went for an early tea. Retro decided 33 miles wasn't enough to deserve a tea stop so he took he group for lap around Island Magee! It got a bit messy when we hit the hills with Billy G and Martin accepting the invitation to turn back to Whitehead for tea. The rest of the gang hit the hilly loop but half way round Chef got a puncture. Thankfully Phillip was on hand with a spare and they got sorted but by then the group had gone so they headed for tea too.
When the hard core group arrived at the old team stop they looked a bit worse for wear! Re assembled the group hit the road for home. A round trip of around 55 to 65 at a good pace with a few hills thrown in made for a great ride.
Thanks to Retro and Phillip for the route guidance - I'm sure they will be glad to have Colin back next week!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dromore CC's Charity Challenge

Today we took part in Dromore CC's charity challenge. 100km's of county Antrim's finest hilly roads..... 3900 feet of climbing! The route took in Kilkinamurry, Kinallen, Drumkeeragh, Slieve Croob, Waringsford and Dromore. 

Paul's Early Email

I got an email slightly before 1:30 this morning from Paul about coming out with us. That immediately marked him out as a good candidate for Castlereagh. Admittedly, his spelling and grammar was better than Snake Hips or me at that hour, so I know he has more potential! I was surprised it was just the two of us - maybe the 41km/h wind had something to do with it....
Without wheels to sit on it seemed smart to keep it short, but that's not the same as easy. We nipped through Milltown (with a wave from Fabian) and across to Ballylesson. Up Fort Rd and then through Drumbo and over to Boardmills and via River Rd to Bailies Mills. The wind was howling as we drove on to Annahilt and straight on, before turning right along Rafferty's Hill to Drumloug and finally into Hillsborough.
Bar Retro looked after us as always (Paul's another member of Comrade Darragh's tea club), then we saddled up and headed for Culcavey. Past the Maze we finally picked up a bit of tailwind and in to Lisburn. We flicked through Wallace Park to Hilden and on to Sandy Lane and Drumbeg, finally over Shaws Bridge and home. A good leg stretcher, but nothing too much, made tough by the wind. Well done Paul for digging in on a berg heavy route with the Bergmeister, he has the engine from running and will soon adapt the different muscle strength for the bike. Welcome to Castlereagh!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Fabian Gets Down and Dirty

While Jeff and Andrew were competing on the road, our Race Secretary Kyle [aka Fabian] was getting down n dirty with a bit of off-road action at Lady Dixon's. This is his brief report, with a little editing to keep the lawyers away.

Race secretary makes sure no one is left behind - Having enjoyed a bit of mountain biking in recent months I decided that it would be good craic to make the most of my race license and do my home race at Lady Dixon. Over night rain had made the course more slippy than [a slippy thing - Ed]........

I was glad to be relegated to the back of the of the field at the start of the race, you could say this was because the competition was less there, but we all know its because [I like being chased by women - Ed]. Two laps into the three lap race, my lights went out and it was a matter of saving my position on GC. I struggled round only getting lapped once by the S1's which for me was a result, plus I wasn't the last S3! which is an epic result, in fact its 100% improvement on my last MTB race!

Good to be back in CCC colours. Slipping around a field may not be my natural habitat, but it was all good 'clean' fun. The atmosphere at the MTB races is always great and XMTB did a great job marking out the course and keeping everything professional.

Full results and report can be found at:

Monday, 1 June 2015

A Lite-ish run

So, this picks up at the top of the Hightown Road - the full fats have just set off leaving Mark, Neil, me and the never to be forgotten Joe. The group had split on the ascent and Mike is back down the hill aways, so we wait for our fifth man to rejoin the group - five minutes later and unfortunately Mike isn't to be seen. We head off, one man down assuming Mike has had enough of the headwinds and climbing combo which is a pity as that was worst part of the ride done.
As we get going Joe has mistakenly deployed his parachute dragster style - his rain jacket making a bid for escape from his jersey pocket, tangling in his rear brake in the process. Once sorted we head for Mallusk keeping our changes short and sweet - with only four of us it's no time before you're doing duty back at the front again....
Nevertheless we make good progress into the headwind and reach Templepatrick in good time, so good that no-one wants to stop for coffee just yet and Antrim's Junction One sounds like a plan. As we pass Dunadry we're averaging 19mph into the wind, setting a good tempo and everyone is taking their turn at the front to maintain the pace. And so to our coffee stop - I know, I know unwritten coffee stop rules dictate an independent coffee house, but with Hobson's choice we left with the infamous tax dodger for our java hit. We're all in need of refuelling (some more than others) and the break is well earned, getting us out of the wind and giving us a chance for a bit of banter as conversation was reduced to "next" wile out on the road.
We've forgotten to capture the moment on film (or should that be card?) so Mark has the group pose by a floral display with a selfie to really camp it up (my 1D onsie is on order LOL). So, where do we go now? again Mark comes up with a plan - Crumlin, Glenavy and then homeward bound via Lisburn. With that ever-present westerly we're still working into the elements as we take a scenic route (read: circuituous!) towards Crumlin. On the way down to Glenavy to wind is coming in from the right - which is nice, and the roads are quiet. It's still dry too, so hey - it couldn't be better could it? Me and my big mouth, just as we enter Glenavy the clouds darken, a light skif of rain turns into something more settled as we head for Knockmore and it's time to don rain jackets (well those of us that brought one, me? my LS club jersey will do just fine as it is thanks) By Lisburn the skies have cleared and rain jackets are ditched. We circumnavigate the north of the city to reach Black's Road and Finaghy. Neil breaks off from the group at the House of Sport as Mark, Joe and me head for Stranmillis to leave Joe at Ormeau Road. Two down and two to go, Mark providing company until Ladas Drive while i head for Dundonald.
Once again it's the camaraderie of the group that makes the day, not the battle against the elements - they were there for resistance training. We're all agreed that we've done more than our "lite" tag would suggest, here's hoping we add a few more to our group next time - then we'll have more time for a rest between turns at the front.....