Phoenix at national championships

So the 2013 road race championships have come and gone.  And what a weekend for Phoenix.  Super performances from every rider wearing the green and blue.  There where big performances from Mike Millar who took on the time trial, Cathal Smyth in Vets race, and our Womens team who took team prize.   But above these, the standout ride of the weekend was from Ali Macauley who stepped up to challenge in the elite mens road race. And of course the club was cheering for club-legend David McCann and indeed many other local riders.

Ali in lead group at National champs 2013 (photo courtesty of Marian Lamb)

Ali in lead group at National champs 2013 (photo courtesty of Marian Lamb)

Below are some of the highlights, and links to race reports and photos.

Time Trial
Thurs 20th saw things kick off with Timetrial in blustery conditions.   Despite spend a large part of this year as manager of Synergy Baku cycling project, David McCann put in a storming time of 51:05 to take silver medal behind winner Michael Huchinson.
Mike Millar put in an excellent ride in blustry conditions to record a time of 58:22.  Well done Mike on your first ride at nationals.
Phoenix were also represented in the tandem as Stu Bennett was in team which took bronze medal.

Veteran Men’s Road race
Great riding by Cathal Smyth, Brian Stewart, Jay Gault, John Smyth and John Rooney in Irish vets champs on Sat 22nd
The guys placed 16th, 37th, 59th, 71st and 89th respectively. Also to Eamon McConvey on his 45th place.
Cathal was especially active getting into the main move of the day, a 12 man break.  Unfortunately close to finish Cathal punctured which ruined his chances of higher placing.  John R. was also unlucky to puncture after strong ride. Congratulations to all.

Womens Road race
Judith Russell, Therese Smyth and Karen Hull finished 14th, 20th and 31st respectively in the womens race.  All three put in some really strong performance.  Jude was especially active at head of race making a number of attacks. Therese fought to retain a place in the main group and was in main bunch at the end.  Despite getting dropped Karen rode on in wet and windy conditions to finish her first national champs and in the end it was Karen’s commitment which ensured that Phoenix women won the team prize.

Jude riding with leaders at national champs 2013 (photo courtesy of Black Umbrella)

Jude riding with leaders at national champs 2013 (photo courtesy of Black Umbrella)

Another fantastic result for Phoenix women coming on back of the Ulster Team Time trial win.


Elite Mens Road race
As expected the professionals dominated the elite mens race on Sunday 23rd. However the domestic riders were not going to take it lying down.
The early break contained current champ Matt Brammier, Dubliner Philp Lavery and Donegal man Phil Deignan. A strong chase group formed behind –  David McCann (Synergy Baku), Sam Bennett (An Post Sean Kelly Team), Damian Shaw (Team Aqua Blue) and Connor Dunne (Vl Technics – Abutriek).
Phoenix’s Feargus Rooney drove hard at front of peleton but it was Ali Macauley who got across to leaders.  Ali joined a lead group of 6 – Brammier, Lavery, Deignan, McCann and Shaw) and remained very active in the thick of the action.

Ali leading the leaders at national champs 2013

Ali leading the leaders at national champs 2013

However in the end the strength and guile of Brammier saw him take a record breaking 4th title with Lavery and Shaw on the podium.  Jack Wilson (An Post) took the U23 prize ahead of Cormac Clarke (Newry Wheelers) and Connor Dunne.  Another victim of a puncture in final laps was former winner David McCann who showed his enduring class by chasing back to take 10th place.
Ali was for many the most agressive rider of the day, and although fading slightly towards the end, came home in fantastic 17th place in his first outing at elite level – “One of the best Phoenix performances in a long time” was how Cycling Ulster’s Tommy Lamb put it.
Feargus Rooney come home in super 30th with Alex Donald 41st. Its hard to believe that both Ali and Alex where both racing A4 last year – no doubt more great things await. Well done lads – mixing it with the best.

To all the riders who competed with distinction – you did the club proud.

Phoenix cycling club would like to thank Cuchulainn Cycling Club, all the marshals and organizers for putting on a memorable weekend of racing.

Time Trial report

Vets race report

Womens race report

Elite race report

Longest Day Challenge Belfast – Dublin – Belfast

On a weekend when so many Phoenix riders made us feel very proud in the Irish Championships (report to follow) another group took on the ‘Longest Day Challenge’.  John Moran came up with the idea of cycling from Belfast to Dublin and back in a day on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice.  John and Niall Bell provided invaluable backup support on a windy showery day.  Here is John with the riders at 5.30 am just before the start, followed by John’s report.


Well Folks Saturday was certainly a long day.I spent only 4 hours in bed and they were interrupted checking the alarm clock to make sure I hadn’t slept in. Just think of what it was like for those taking part !

For me it was also a most rewarding day and I was very proud to have been able to help the participants achieve their goal.

In the end 10 started the event and 10 finished. Unfortunately Daniel Daly missed his flight home on Friday evening and couldn’t make it but from his email you could tell his dissapointment.  I told him not to worry he could join me doing this next year! One other entrant didn’t show up at the start and we waited until 05.45 then had to go.It turns out he had emailed Oliver but Oliver’s didn’t get the message until Sunday night.

I have a lot of people to thank for helping make this happen not least the participants who were a fantastic bunch who just got on with it and there was never one grumble or complaint throughout the day.

Eamon Gorman lent us the van and Niall Bell was a fantastic help to me with everything.Without Eamon’s van and Nial’s assistance the back up would have been very hard going indeed.

We had one spare bike and 4 spare wheels and to save time the system was to replace the wheel temporarily and fix the puncture on the move and repatriate the wheel at the next stop.This saved some time but I would say we still lost an hour through punctures and we missed one puncture scouting the road ahead into Dublin which was unfortunate.

The road down was tough with a strong headwind making progress slower than anticipated and we arrived at Croke Park at 1.30 about an hour behind schedule.We came in via Malahide which turned out to be a mistake but after a short photo and comfort stop at Croke Park we returned via Santry and Swords.Croke Park as a destination was good as there were toilet facilities freely available and as a proud Down man it was nice to see their name up in lights five times…again

There were no major incidents to report and everyone just kept it going steady with the group never splitting.

On the way home we had quite a few punctures and at one stage just before Banbridge there were five spare wheels on the road we even had to take one from the spare bike.

In the end with the overcast sky and fading light and a few people having no lights we had to opt for a House of Sport finish where we were met at about 10.30 pm by Peter Stewart and Ciaran Donnelly and Damian McGuigan and a cooler full of beer which was greatly appreciated. Poor Damien had cycled to City Hall and then had to dash to HOS when we changed our final destination due to the fading light.

I will sign off now by congratulating in no particular order of importance the fantastic effort and strength of a very special bunch of very nice people:-

Martina Elliot, Oliver Magill, David Buick, John Cole, David Tweed, Aidan Mckegney, Simon Murray, Danny Magee, Michael Henry and Michael McMorrow.

Chapeau.What an epic.

I was very envious of those taking part and hope that next year someone will join me in this endeavour?

Marcel wins Crit in park

Friday night in Ormeau park saw some sucessful running of a Phoenix favorite – the ‘Crit in the park’
The racing was supported by Belfast city council, and sponsored by McConvey cycles who put up some very generous prizes. Racing kicked off at 17:30 with a program of races for U10, U12, U14 and U16. This was followed by senior races for A4, A3 and A1/A2.

The racing was fast and hard in all categories. It was especially good to see such a large turnout of young riders all enjoying the chance to race around the flat course.  Both A4 and A3 races where fast and hard finishing in bunch sprints. By time of the final race, rain had arrived which suited some riders more than others.  Phoenix man Marcel Kock broke away with Gary Cranston (East Antrim Audi CC). Both riders worked hard to stay clear of a bunch where mechanicals and team tactics played a factor in the chase.

Marcel and Gary locked in combat (Photo courtesy of Simon Devlin)

Marcel and Gary locked in combat (Photo courtesy of Simon Devlin)

In the end Marcel had enough in the tank to take the sprint from Gary with Derek Finnegan (Keevan CC) coming in 3rd.

For a great report on the nights action see here

A wet and windy Bobby Crilly 2013

Conditions where not kind for the 2013 running of Bobby Crilly classic.  But riders in all three races (A1/A2, A3 and A4) stepped up to the plate to ensure a memorable days racing.

The  big race of the day for A1/A2  riders saw a fantastic ride from Alex Donald on the climb to solo home.  Phoenix man Cathal Smyth, came home second with Kieran McKenna of East Antrim Audi completing the podium.

The A3 race, was dominated by juniors with Mark Downey and Mathew Teggart (Roche development squad) Craig McAuley (VO2 Development squad) coming in 1,2,3. Karl Morgan took 4th for Phoenix.

The A4 saw Phoenix taking 1st and 3rd – Niall O’Gorman followed by Lindsey Watson (Plush Mtb) and Gary Millar.  There where some super performances by Phoenix women, Jude Russell as first women home, Therese Smyth second with Julie Rea and Karen Hull also finishing strong.

An excellent race report and lots of photos is available on cycling ulster here

Many thanks to race secretary Geoff Hewitt, chief marshal Jim Hegarty  and all organizers and supporters who turned out in such atrocious conditions.

Crit in the park – 21st June

On the evening of FRIDAY 21st June, Phoenix will be running the ever popular ‘CRIT IN THE PARK’ in Ormeau Park

The programme on the night will include:-
Youth Racing for U10, U12, U14, U16 – organised and run by our very own Colin Hughes and Ryan Connor from Cycling Ulster
& Seniors races for:-

A4 / Phoenix club riders

All senior races will be 30 mins & 2-3 laps, and are limited to 35 riders/race

Under the banner of Belfast Bikeweek, Belfast City Council have been brilliant in allowing us to run the races and they will be providing us with a metal barriers at paths / roads leading onto the course and then red/white barrier tape around the rest. They will also be ‘road’ sweeping the course beforehand and a bit of ‘gardening’ which will give everything a more professional look and should make for safer racing for riders and spectators alike.

With help from Cycling Ulster, they have also managed to secure Ryan Connor’s services for a period after the youth races where he, along with Colin Hughes, will be providing some additional coaching to the youth.


Sign-on will open at 5.15 on the night and timetable should be:-

Youth racing:- 5.45 – 6.45
A4 / Phoenix club riders:- 6.50 – 7.25
A3:- 7.30 – 8.05
A1/A2:- 8.10 – 8.45

Entry fees:-
Youth racing – £2 – (entry on the night)
Senior racing – £6 – (entry is PRE-REG only, via EntryCentral)

Link to announcement details on CU site here

This style of racing is great for both competitors and spectators alike, so either way come along and help make it a fabulous night for all!!

Pre reg opens this Friday 14th on EntryCentral at 7pm, so get in there!

Fun in the Sun

What a great weekend to be out on the bike.  Racing, testing, sportives, club runs or simply some solo miles – it was great.

Ali and Marcel give it the old 1-2

Ali and Marcel give it the old 1-2 (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Testers on fire

First up the Ernie Magwood Super 6 round 3 at Woodgreen in what could only be described as ideal conditions. Jay Gault, Johnny Bogues and Jim Hegarty were all rewarded with PB’S – 21.02, 21.32 and 21.31 respectively – John Rooney had a 21.57.  Stu came home in 20.27 only 17 seconds off his personal best set 8 yrs ago.   Report available here.

Ali and Marcel make it a Phoenix 1-2 at Bishopscourt

Ali continued his excellent season with victory in the Emma Mc Mullan Cup after he and Marcel crossed the line together having agreed not to contest the sprint. Ali had made the early break and once with Marcel bridged across the duo where not going to be caught.   With David Neil edging out Big B, Phoenix had 4 of the top five places.

Cycling Ulster has a great report on the racing accompanied by lots of photographs.

Congratulations to both and to all the Phoenix CC riders on the podium on what was a red letter day for the club:

A1 Ali 1st
Marcel 2nd
David Neil 4th
Brian Stewart 5th

A3 Carl Morgan 5th

Ladies Julie Rea 2nd

Masters Dermot Hughes 3rd

A fantastic result for Dermot whose legendary sprint is still alive and kicking.

Noel Teggart Results

Sunday saw the Noel Teggart races hosted by Banbridge CC.  With a large Phoenix contingent signing on, the question was who would get the results. Pick of the bunch was Alex in the A1/A2 who  got in the 6 man move of the day and came home in 5th.  In the A4 Gerry Maguire got into the break away group and came away with 8th.

Full report here and lots of pictures


Ras Donegal 2013

Phoenix riders put in a fantastic preformance at Ras Dhun na nGall over the weekend.  Rolling out in the Green and Blue were: Jeff Torrens Spence, Aaron McGready, Alex Donald, Mike Millar, James Fettiplace and Ed Boyle.  Eamonn Burns and Eamonn Burns Jnr drove team car and made sure the riders needs were looked after.   Phoenix-man Marcel Kock was also in action, riding for Belgian project/David McCall Foundation.

Phoenix at Ras Donegal 2013

Phoenix at Ras Donegal 2013

All the numbers…

OK, the numbers don’t tell the whole story – the race reports below will give better reflection of what happened.

The opening stage was on Friday night and attacks came from very start with Marcel very aggressive.  A small group of 8 riders got away and maintained gap of up to 20 seconds on peleton to finish. The Phoenix men were safely home in bunch, keeping the power dry for the days ahead.

Second stage was time trial.  It may have been a ‘short’ on distance, but it was up the side of Glengesh. Ouch.  James and Mike placed in 10 ten, with Aaron and Alex a little further back inside top 20 riders.

Stage 3 was the break-that-stayed-away.  The good news was that Alex got away and took 3rd place.

It was all the 4’s for Mike Millar on final stage.  Stage 4 finished up ledgendary Glengesh climb and 4th over the line mean that Mike came away with 4th place in GC.  Mike now moves up to A1.

Alex finished 13th, James 18th, Aaron 19th, Jeff 62nd, Ed 99th.  As a result of all hard work by entire team, Phoenix came 2nd in team classification, a mere 19 seconds down on the Cycling Ulster youth squad.  Marcel looked after his team mates in Belgian Project squad very well, when he wasn’t attacking hard, he was dropping back to look after more junior riders.  Marcel came home in 46th on GC and an excellent 3rd in the mountains classification.

Well done guys – you represented the club with distinction.

All the details…

Full stage reports and pictures available on Cycling Ulster.
Stage 1 report
Stage 2 report
Stage 3 report
Stage 4 report

And finally…

Many thanks must go to Four Masters CC, all the race organizers and helpers, and people or Ardara who put on such a successful weekend and made all riders feel so welcome. Roll on 2014!