Big B Ulster Vets Champion, Phoenix take senior and womens team prizes

Brian Stewart aka Big B won the Veterans race at Ulster road race Championship promoted by Ballymoney CC on Sunday 1st Sept.  Despite numerous attacks it came down to bunch sprint and Big B was not to be denied.

Big B stings the opposition in sprint

Big B stings the opposition in sprint

In the senior race, Alex and Mike got into early break. Alex suffered mechanical and had to retire from race. Fraser Duncan broke clear and rode solo to an impressive win just ahead of  David Montgomery.  With Gary Cranston taking 3rd, Mike came home in 4th just ahead of Ali who had bridged to the chase group.  As David M. won the junior prize, Mike picked up bronze in senior’s.  Phoenix took team prize.

In the ladies race, ex-Phoenix rider Amy Brice won the Ulster title ahead of Janine McNally with Phoenix’s Jude Russell taking bronze. Phoenix ladies took the team prize to add to their national and TTT titles.

A great climax to road racing season.  Congratulations to all the riders.

As usual Cycling ulster have a great race report with lots of photos

Ali 6th at David Bell Memorial

Congratulations to Ali MaCauley who took 6th place in David Bell Memorial race over in Girvan, Scotland on 18th August.

http://southcarrickdaviebell.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/48th-david-bell-memorial-race-results/

Well done to East Tyrone’s Gary Jeffers who came home in 15th.

Weekend race round-up – Ballinarobe, Billy Stewart Cup, Collins Christie

The flame rouge of the road racing season is approaching and the aches and pains of the season are starting to tell. But while there are still points, prizes and glory to be had, the racers will dig deep a few more times.

Ballinarobe 2-day

Phoenix had two squads down at this even in Co Mayo – both mens and womens. A tough weekend of racing, especially as all of the Phoenix riders had completed the club 3 day in week leading up to this event.   While the husband& wife duo of Ryan Sherlock and Mel Spath took the headlines, Phoenix had its own family battle with Jude Russell coming away with bragging rights as she finished ahead of husband Stephen Moffit in GC.

Well done to Jude, Stephen, Johnny, David, Karen, Julie  and Geoff on riding so well.

Stage 1 race report here

Stage 2 (TT) race report here

Stage 3 race report and final GC here

Billy Stewart Cup, Sunday 11th Aug

Stevie Geary put his early season bad luck behind him to take his first podium place in A4 race.  A well deserved 3rd place, with David Maitland finishing in the bunch.

Race report to follow

Colins Christie Memorial Cup, Sunday 11th Aug

After a strong showing in the Suir Valley 3 day, Ali McCauley demonstrated again his top form by placing 4th in the Colins Christie Memorial Cup in Co Meath.  Daniel Steward took the win.

Race report here

Congratulations to all the riders in all the races.

Julie 2nd at Madigan GP

A new month, but Phoenix women continue to do the business when it comes to road racing. Following a 4th place at Omagh 3-day, Julie Rea took 2nd place in the ladies race at 25th edition of Madigan Cycles Grand Prix. Well done Julie.

Results and report here.

Success for Phoenix Women On and Off Road

On the 21st of July Gill Smith won a medal in the Elite Women’s Irish MTB championships promoted by Carn Wheelers in Davagh Forest in the Sperrins. Gill finished 3rd and was followed home by Julie Rea in 4th place. In the Veterans race Johnny Bogues had a good ride finishing in 7th place.

The following weekend saw the A4 riders in the club take part in the Omagh 3 day stage race. Phoenix had a men’s and women’s team taking part. Judith Russell won the women’s overall prize with Julie Rea in 4th place and Karen Hull finishing 7th. Gary Millar finished 3rd in the tough final stage. Below this picture of the Women’s Podium is a race report by Judith.

OmaghPodium

Second year doing the Tour of Omagh and such a fantastically organised event by Omagh Wheelers – everything taken care of including the safety pins for all 3 numbers, breakfast after stage 3 and soup & sarnies after stage 4 – thank-you! I think this year was tougher & more challenging than last year … hard to compare as we had super routes last year too which were different to this year. Stage 4 was still the killer though!

From the ladies perspective of the racing, we had a 3 minute handicap on the men for stage 1. All the ladies worked really well together to stay away for approx 13 miles until the first KOH. Our main aim was to get through the right hand turn off the main A road, through Victoria Bridge and on towards Castlederg. We rode really strong as a unit with constant up’n’overs all the way and had around a 21mph avg until caught. Once caught some of the girls were able to stay with the bunch, and it came down to a 70-odd person sprint for the line! Don’t think I want to experience that ever again – 12 people across the entire road and hard shoulders jostling for position, speed wobbles, etc – mental! There were 66 men and 4 women on the same time at the end of stage 1!

Stage 2 saw the ladies with a 5 minute handicap on the men. Again we rode really well as a unit, this time aiming to get through Castlederg where there was a left turn at a mini roundabout with an island in the middle of the road. We got through this and onto the first KOH before getting caught at around the 16 mile mark with an avg of 23mph. Again some of the girls were able to hang in with the main bunch and again it came down to a large (50 men & 4 women) bunch sprint for the line!

Stage 3 was the 2.5mile TT – and out and back course – turning around a car. Some good times posted – and most of them from the folks on TT bikes (note to self for next year!). This was the stage to break things up for both the mens and ladies race going into the final stage in the afternoon.

Stage 4 had the ladies with another 5 min head start. We knew we wouldn’t get as far as the right-hand switch back at over 20 miles out, so we just worked together for a long as possible – around 17miles – managing to get over the first KOH. This was the toughest route and day on the bike – constant hills and no let up. Was never so glad to see the end of a race!

Karen and Julie rode brilliantly all weekend. Was great craic to have a team there this year to support each other, drive the routes beforehand and generally faff before and after races (we seem to be masters at the faffing!). Karen went into stage 4 in 7th position and road a blinder to keep her place, taking a few scalps on that final climb. Julie was super strong all the way though and was able to defend her 4th place in the final stage. Tough competition from the other ladies. I reckon there will be a stream of ladies signing up next year.

Thanks to Geoff for travelling down each day to drive the support car for us – really appreciated this – just knowing someone is there in case you need them is brilliant … and to Rory too – great to see the enthusiasm of Maguire Junior during the weekend!

Really gutted for Finbar – hope you are on the mend and back out on the bike soon.

Great racing from Gary, Steven, David and Gerry – was always good to see the green & blue jerseys in the mix when the guys caught us on the RR stages. Super race for Gary today getting 3rd on the final stage and a massive thanks from me for providing a well-needed wheel to follow, especially around the right-hand switch back and the 2nd KOH!

PS – need to thank Smoff too for general bike maintenance, support & ferrying us around.

Aaron wins Groucho’s GP at Richill

Aaron McGrady won the Groucho’s GP A race at Richhill on Saturday 6th of July.  Aaron was the strongest rider in the breakaway group on the tough uphill finish, taking a well deserved win.  You can watch the race video and post race interview here. Pictured below is Aaron after being presented with the winners trophy.

Aaron

Newry 3-day 2013

The Newry 3 day is a firm favourite on the local calendar and one which Phoenix riders will always target.  With clubs limited to 5 riders, Aaron McGrady, John Neil, David Neil, John Smyth and Karl Morgan rolled out for Phoenix.

Thanks to John Smyth for the following riders view of the race:

“First of all thanks very much to Jay for driving the team car on Friday night and Saturday and to Eamon Jnr for today. It is much easier for the riders knowing help is there if required and unfortunately I had to avail of it today. Its also very generous to give up a weekend to do this so from all the riders thanks very much.

Stage 1 – Friday – 3 .5 loops of the Warrenpoint to Newry carraigeway (a bit dull but very fast on tailwind section from newry to warrenpoint) and then a flat out sprint up Grinnan Rd. Big ring all the way. Karl and AAron stayed with the lead group of about 20. I lost touch near the top after getting held up on a narrow bit by boys going sideways. Full pelt to the line. Karl and Aaron placing 3rd and 4th.

Karl looks hungry on stage 1 (Photo courtesy of Amy-Norah Farrell)

Karl looks hungry on stage 1 (Photo courtesy of Amy-Norah Farrell)

Sat TT – 2.3 miles. 4.35 from Ingliss 4.47 for AAron and 4.52 for me – I felt awful during this – probably supposed to but v hard to get a rhythm. Karl and JN did this on road bikes and lost a bit of time. David unfortunately DNS due to bad chest.

Sat pm stage 3 – a 55 mile blast around Hilltown. 3 laps of Kilcoo circuit and then reed hall followed by elm hall and back down to finish in Hilltown. Good riding from the 4 of us with Aaron and karl again placing very highly and holding onto good GC positions. We were leading the team comp at this point.

Sunday 70 miles – seemed to cover most of Co Down and possibly a bit of Armagh. Break went at 5 miles. We did not have anyone in it but no problem 65 to go. Getting a bit worried when they had 3 mins plus. great effort from JN and Aaron from castlewellan to rafthfriland to close down most of the break which must have been down to 3 or so riders. Up rathfriland hill for first time (little ring here!) – great support from the Anti Social cheering us on squeezed a few watts more out of us. Hell for leather into Newry and then a real tough section back to Hilltown. Got dropped on rd out of newry but got back on just after Hilltown. Back into rathfriland with another surge of lactic acid screaming “whats wrong with golf at me”. Final lash into newry. Unfortunately I got into a tangle with another riders wheel 0.5 miles from Rathfriland and dented a kerb (yes bike ok but front wheel a bit square). Lost 2.5 mins due to this -and the team prize as well. Gutted as well as sore. Aaron, Karl and JN rode really well today on this stage and were very unlucky.

This is a brilliant race and I thoroughly enjoyed it bar the last 5 miles!. Super organisation and Marshalling from Newry and great support from PSNI. Aaron and Karl were very strong and there is much more to come from both of them. Aaron was very unlucky to drop down GC today – it was a strange stage. Great effort from JN today in the headwind section and then in an attempted break with 15 to go. David unlucky with illness. very strong wind over the 3 days made it a difficult race especially for the GC guys with limited teams.”

So mixed fortune for the team – fantastic individual performances and some bad luck with David’s illness and John’s crash.   Congratulations to Karl who is now upgraded to A2.

Stage 1 report

Stage 3 report

Stage 4 report and final GC

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

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.