Sunday, 11 December 2016

Hard Earned Winter Miles

Feeling a bit worse for wear this morning as a result of a work party that went on a bit too long, I was glad to see eleven others at Forestside. Phenomenal turnout for this time of year!
With a south-westerly wind, and a few people keen to keep their outing short, I decided to head for Banbridge (with the option of turning back just after Hillsborough). In my sleepy stupor, little did I realise that I was inadvertently picking a far more arduous route than my fragile state could comfortably handle...
The first stretch into Lisburn was exceptionally quick, with the group digging in hard on the short, sharp hills. The undulations in the road didn't let up through Ravernet and into Hillsborough, and by the time we'd made it onto the Ballygowan Road, everyone was feeling the burn! Berg, Comrade, El Pistolero, David and Flashdance had to get back early, leaving Retro, Hannibal, Digger, James, John, Poster Boy and myself to battle the headwind into Banbridge. The pace relented as we reached Blackskull, but we were all relieved to stop at Blend and Batch. I can now, like many others before me, attest to the remedial properties of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.
Initially opting for a flatter route home ("downhill with the wind behind us would be ideal!" suggested James) via Donaghcloney and towards Magheralin, I thought I'd recovered enough to throw in another couple of short climbs on the Redhill Road and St. John's Road - I hadn't...
Another short break at Retro's new favourite comfort stop (he's awfully picky) was welcomed by all, before we made it back to Hillsborough via the tunnel, then to Belfast via Lisburn and Lambeg.
A much tougher run than anticipated today...I can only apologise, I wasn't thinking clearly! Everyone rode brilliantly and can be proud of some hard-earned winter miles.
Next Saturday 17th December marks the annual Castlereagh & Friends' Christmas Get Together. Anyone interested in attending should get in touch with our own Minister of Mayhem, Joe Devlin, ASAP. It's sure to be a fantastic evening! If anything can be learned from my experience today, though, it is this: don't stay up all night partying. If you must, think long and hard before coming out for a club run the next day. And don't let a zombie pick the route...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Pull On Your Kit

It's easy to stay in bed at this time of year, especially if it's the morning after the night before. The alternative is to pull on your kit, get out in the fresh air, laugh with your mates, get the blood pumping and feel better.
Sometimes you also look at the dreaded Strava and wonder why your average speed has dropped through the floor - you have a far lower average for a far shorter distance, how does that work?! To find the answer I think you have to look at the question the other way round - the reason you can push big gears, climb high mountains and basically go fast in the summer, is the hard miles, done on heavy bikes, with soft tyres, rubbing mudguards and a cold wind at this time of year. You also appreciate the occasional warm summer day more, because you know you've earned it.
Enough philosophising, today six of us went to Dromore via Bailies Mills, Boardmills, Annahilt and Kinallen. After coffee in the Riverside Cafe (Retro's favourite), home via Edentrillick. Good fun, good work and more miles in the tank to prepare us for 2017. Respect to Poster Boy for a short turn on the front coming home - 24k!!!!

Sunday, 4 December 2016


With no particular inspiration for a write up I thought i'd cheat and did out an old post about the nicknames to "recycle". Problem is it took me an hour to find the post and when I did I realised a lot has changed in 2 years!!!! I've pasted in the list anyway, but I'll try and revamp it for 2016 in the coming weeks.
With the Beast taking a party round the Lough (respect), anyone looking mega miles was otherwise occupied. That left a group all happy to aim for 3 hours in the cool, but mild December weather. The wind was coming in from the East and as ever we wanted to avoid the traffic. The solution was to head out the Kings Road and up Greengraves. Down Bradshaws in to Ards/Newtownards and then out towards Carrowdore.
Chris needed back for work and turned homewards while the rest of us headed on to the East coast between Ballywalter and Millisle. A rapid session from Millisle to Donaghadee was over too soon, but emptied the legs before coffee. Refuelled and having congratulated the future Mr & Mrs Scotty we took the direct route back to Ards.
The requested route home was up Bradshaws, but I screwed up and we took a tougher and slightly longer route over Ballybarnes.
Near enough 3 hours, 75k and 8 happy cyclists. Til the next time....

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, please can we have:
- A book on group riding (preferably with pictures).
- Campagnolo Pyjamas for Nitemare.
- A Campagnolo Chorus Groupset for me (may as well ask just in case).
- A Christmas Jumper. Oops, scrub that, we have one.
- A sense of direction, make that ten.
- A book on physics including Newton's 17th Law - an object moving the same speed as the object that dropped them, will not close the gap and will be more bolloxed from riding in to the wind making it more likely they'll get dropped again.
- Women. We could really do with diluting the testosterone.
- A hug for Bones, he misses us.
- Liposuction.
- Die Hard and It's a Wonderful Life on DVD.
- A sexy secretary outfit for Poster Boy.
- A wee ring for Digger.
- Anything dirty for Phat Steve - he likes off road.
- A Pogues CD.
- A toolbox for Hannibal, he knows, sorry has a lot of tools.
- A bank loan to pay for coffee in certain establishments (coffee and a brownie £6:40).
- Anything Movistar for Resurrection.
- Mudguards.
- The concept of Self-Preservation for Retro, or failing that a never ending supply of toffee pops.
- Tea Bags for Comrade.
- A day off for Snake Hips and a signed photo of the day he dropped me.
- Sunshine.
- A sack of coal.
- An idiots guide to camera settings.
Many thanks and Merry Christmas,
Castlereagh CC
Feel free to add to the list.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


I was mildly freaked out this morning at Forestside. We had a youth group meeting to go off-road in Belvoir and Barnetts; four Liter Lites heading for Balloo and 16 - count em!, 16 heading out in the main group. I'm not sure if it was the bright weather, the time of year when you start planning for next year, or my suggestion of a 3 hour no-stopper that got everyone out, but who cares.
We offered a longer option, but with no takers we headed east in to a strong headwind giving the Liter Lites a bit of a tow. I think it was people with buffs pulled up, but I immediately had a Mexican theme in my head, added to by the welcome appearance of El Presidente with El Capitano, El Pistolero, El Diggero, El Bastardo, El Poco Bandito, El Grande Bandito, Retro-o and loads more.
Out the carriageway, then along the Newtownards Road and up Bradshaws. Left on to the Ballybarnes Road, with the worst of the day's climbing done. That just left us with the wind. On to Crawfordsburn and in to Bangor, where Chris joined El Presidente in turning early.
The rest of us headed on to Groomsport and Donaghadee with a short stop after El Bastardo realised he had a screw loose - I could've told him years ago.... thankfully El Retro-o had a spare - we knew we brought him for a reason!
Roadworks forced us inland and off course, but we found our way down to Carrowdore before turning for home. The inner coast road is road-rage central, so we avoided it and stuck to the lanes. We had a bit of a split, but we'd have all split anyway to head home, so it didn't matter. El Diggero and me ended up looping round Strabo and down Greengraves on to the greenway to make our way to the Ice Bowl and an al fresco coffee watching the cross.
Despite extra layers, the cold eventually got to us and we headed home. Credit to the Kinning Cross League for putting on another great event. I think everyone enjoyed the slightly shorter route and hopefully still got a decent workout.

Friday, 30 September 2016


Today was action packed. Twelve of us started with a lap and visit to the Ciclovia festival in the city centre. We just wanted to show our support and show off the jersey.
Being pretty much Halloween, a couple of us had added some spooky accessories to get in the spirit. Digger had matched his socks to a cool skull n crossbones rear light and was sporting a collection of spiders on his toptube. In addition to my pumpkins, I'd somehow attached a witch's hat to create the least aero Kask Protone ever.... I'm not saying we looked cool, but at least one kid thought it was hilarious - made my day.
Unfortunately Dracula stuck his fangs in to Bones and The Man with No Reflection's tyres and we were two riders down before getting in to the countryside.
Given the slow start we didn't want to be too ambitious and set our sights on Banbridge. The Beast helped me throw in a twist or two on the way to shake things up. The route went from Culcavey to Hillsborough then down a lost road beneath the A1 and on to Dromore. From there the direct but hilly route to Banbridge.
Blend & Batch provided refreshments, which were amazingly consumed outdoors in the warm sunshine. Like the witch in the Wizard of Oz I was melting once we got up to speed on the way home. That took us over to the Castlewellan Road, through Corbet, on to Flough Road, Gail Bog Road, Kinallen, Annahilt and homewards.
Approaching Temple via Bailies Mills and Boardmills we decided to split, with the frisky spirits heading cross-country to Saintfield, while the rest turned for Carryduff.
Brilliant weather, a lot of laughs and some great riding - Chris is definitely getting stronger. Apologies to The Beast, I'd hoped to write a spooktacular report, but as usual forgot everything by the time I got home.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Tour De Conamara 2016

One week on from the saga that was Conamara, and I'm finally getting round to a writeup. That in itself should be an indication of what a tough ride it turned out to be, and of how much it took out if me (nothing at all to do with my indolence...)
As a Conamara virgin, I was relying on the collective wisdom of Castlereagh ' s Clifden veterans to keep me up to speed and pointing in the right direction. Arriving on the Friday evening, we met up for a quick pint (Retro went safety pin shopping instead), before we tied a bow on it and called it a night. Extremely tame by Castlereagh standards!!!
Fast forward to the next morning: we blended seamlessly into the heaving throng of cyclists who'd converged from all four provinces of Ireland, and further afield. We'd all opted for our club kit, with longtudunial navy and lime green stripes - perfect camouflage amongst the hundreds of Skoda Tour de Conamara event shirts (same colours, but horizontal stripes). While we certainly felt like we fitted in, finding the group again after a toilet or refreshment stop became a challenge!
Rolling out at 9.30 am for the 100km route (with epic soundtrack blaring behind us) [Ed - Swedish House Mafia - Greyhound (I asked Joe)] we were treated to the gently rolling and undulating coastal roads through Ballyconneely and Round stone. The pace was frisky from the off, with riders rolling through rapidly at the front and groups forming immediately. Wannabe - show off that I am, I was in the front group until the first food stop, but knew that I would have to ease off if I wanted to make it round in one piece! The huge welcome from the Conamara Lair ladies' junior teams gave a much appreciated welcome (although I did hear one of them later say "you're all mad!), and tired bodies were glad of the hot drinks and food on offer.
Castlereagh regrouped and forged an alliance with some Foyle riders, riding steady to the next stop. Partly recovered from my early efforts, I ventured off the front but suffered in the crosswinds and was soon reeled back in. Berg was especially supportive in my hour of need - 10 minutes on the front once caught??!!! I'm starting my own blacklist and his name will forever be at the top!
The second food stop was even more welcome than the first and we agreed to take a proper rest. Some creative stretching, Snake Hips trying to eat his own weight in cake and Berg showing off his new wheels provided a bit of levity as we contemplated the miles ahead of us.
All the way home, we meant serious business. A four-up TT team comprised of myself, Terminator, Berg and Snake Hips ate up the road like it was cake at the previous food stop. We reeled in a fair few riders along the way, and I can only imagine (and hope!) we looked intimidating - the navy blue Castlereagh train charging towards the beer tent at the finish must be a sight to behold! The drag past Cleggan was the day's final challenge. I know we look pro, but Berg emptying his bidon at the start was a bit too much even for me! The reception at the finish was spectacular; klaxons to welcome riders back, beer tent, BBQ and medals. In classic Castlereagh style, all of us attempted to don our medals over heads already capped with helmets. We'll happily blame it on being tired out, but even we know - that's just the way we are...complementary rub downs went down a treat, especially for Snake Hips ("keep her chatting boys, she'll massage you for longer") and Berg, who was told he was so limber that he appeared not to have been on the bike at all!
All in all, the atmosphere at the finish (and throughout the whole event) was incredible, and we can't thank the organisers enough for all the hard work they put in - it was spectacular and I'll definitely be back 🙂 All that was left for Castlereagh to do was mark the end of the weekend with a slap up meal while we discussed the day's goings-on, and even reminisced further back. My favourite was the story of Retro at the 2015 event ("my race number is 2015 - what a coincidence! "). Sincere kudos to Terminator, Berg, Resurrection, Snake Hips, Retro who all rode brilliantly. All of us are gearing up for the Gran Fondo in Belfast tomorrow (at time of writing) and Conamara provided some of the most enjoyable training miles we could ever have hoped for. We'll see you next year, and we'll bring more back with us

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mark Maguire wins Bann Wheelers Race

Castlereagh CC's Mark Maguire took the win today in a close two-up sprint from Michael Thompson at the A4 race at the Bann Wheelers 50th Anniversary Race.

Results: A4 Race
Mark Maguire (Castlereagh CC)
Michael Thompson (Bann Wheelers Ccv
Malcolm Scott (Bann Wheelers CC)
Alistair Robinson (Un-Attached Ulster)
Gavin Moore (North Down CC)
Stephen Mullan (North West Cycling Club)
Noel Brian MacDiarmada (Errigal Cycling Club)
Jason McIntyre (Un-Attached Ulster)
Aidan Kane (Bann Wheelers)
Vincent Mort (Ballycastle CC)

Full report at
Video at

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Tour of the Glens entry is now open!!

This year's Tour of the Glens returns to it's traditional date and takes place on Sunday 1st May 2016.

You can enter now via Entry Central -

Sign up now for just £25 for the 200km route, or £15 for the 100km.

Booking now guarantees you a place on the day, complete with an exclusive goody bag, courtesy of McConvey cycles, a unique finishers medal and much more.

The Tour of the Glens is one of the most hotly anticipated events in the Cycling Ulster calendar and is as fun and rewarding as it is arduous. Come along and experience the beautiful scenery of the Antrim glens, as well as the warm hospitality for which Castlereagh CC are renowned. We hope to see you there on the day!!!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

2016 John Moore Memorial Road Race

Castlereagh Cycling Club would like to thank all of the riders who participated in the 2016 John Moore Memorial road race. We would also like to thank all of the helpers, marshalls, commissaires, and St. John's ambulance who supported us making the 2016 John Moore Memorial road race a resounding success. Special thanks go to our race organizer, Gerry Heverin and to Gladys Moore for presenting the Trophy. Thanks also to Ian Proctor for providing the race reports and photographs below.

A1/2/3 race

Castlereagh Cycling Club's flagship race was hardfought in very cold but bright and calm conditions. Groups were separated by 3 minutes each over 8 laps of the Carr Road circuit outside Carryduff. A strong scratch group saw the race brought together by half distance. Further hard fast racing saw a break form with only the strongest riders able to bridge across. A strong finish by in-form rider Roger Aiken (ASEA Wheelworx) sealed a great victory.


  1. Roger Aiken (ASEA Wheelworx)
  2. Christopher McGlinchey (ChainReaction)
  3. Adam Armstrong (ASEA Wheelworx)
  4. Ronan McLaughlin (Dig Deep Coaching)
  5. David Watson (North Down CC)
  6. Jody Wright (Phoenix CC)
  7. David Hamilton (North Down CC)
  8. Angus Fyffe (Omagh Whlrs/An Post Cahin Reaction)
  9. Stuart Thomson (Spires CC)
  10. Lindsay Watson (Plush MTB)

A4 Race

Castlereagh CC's A4 race today ended in a large bunch sprint won by John Topping (Ards CC). Andrew McCullough (Killinchy CC) and Wayne Garrett (Ards CC) completed the podium positions. Congratualtions to Castlereagh's Mark Maguire who finished 5th in the gallop in only his second ever race, equalling his 5th place at Annaclone last week! Well done also to Stuart and Ronan who completed their first race in CCC colours safely in the bunch.


  1. John Topping (Ards CC)
  2. Andrew McCullough (Killinchey CC)
  3. Wayne Garrett (Ards CC)
  4. Darren Toombs (0745 Rouleurs)
  5. Mark Maguire (Castlereagh CC)
  6. Ivan Cooke (Kings Moss)
  7. Richard Maybin (Team Madigan CC)
  8. Scott Maitland (Killinchey CC)
  9. Garrett Fitzgerald (VC Glendale)
  10. Joe Pyper (Maryland Wheelers)

Women's Race

The Ladies race was won in a sprint finish by Christine O'Neill (Velo Café Magasin), closely followed by Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre for Cycling) and Katherine Smyth (Team Madigan).


  1. Christine O’Neill (Velo Cafe Magasin)
  2. Fiona Guihen (Irish Centre for Cycling)
  3. Katherine Smyth (Team Madigan)
  4. Clare O’Neill (Square Wheels CC)
  5. Clare Oakley (CRC)


Race reports