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.

Six

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?

Memorable Easter Reliability

Dry and bright if a bit cold and windy for Phoenix relability trial on Sunday 31st March.  The testing conditions were offset by dry roads, fantastic views over Lough Neagh to the Sperrins and a memorable final stretch up past Dundrod and over the mountain.

A light dusting of snow

A light dusting of snow

Thanks to Eamon and Eamon for lead bike and back up car for a sizeable B group. Also to Mark/ McConvey’s for back up for the hard riding A run. Thanks also to Dermot and BigB for taking the whistles. A big thank you to all the riders who rode so well and kept everything safe – I had an “armchair” view of the A run – a great display of hard riding and in true BigB fashion was whittled down to a few by the end. Happy Easter!!

(Thanks to Geoff for report and Chris for photo)

Phoenix Easter Reliability Trial

On Easter Sunday (31st March) we will run our fourth Easter Reliability Trial. There will be two runs; an A run aiming for an average speed of 20-21mph, and a B run aiming at 17-18mph average speed.

Sign-on will be at the House of Sport on the Malone Rd, Belfast (BT9 5LA). Sign-on is open from 9:00 with the A run leaving at 9.30 and the B run leaving shortly after.

The sign-on fee is £5 for those with an appropriate Cycling Ireland licence. Non Cycling Ireland members are more than welcome to ride but will have to pay an additional £2 which goes to Cycling Ireland.

The route which is mostly flat will be the same as last year – A nice route around the east coast of Lough Neagh and a bit of a climb at the end to test your legs. For a map of the route, click on the following link:

http://goo.gl/maps/c4DTD

Roughly the route is; through Lisburn via the Upper Malone Rd, through Moira to Dollingstown where we head north along the Lough. We skirt around Crumlin and get almost as far as Antrim before turning back towards Belfast via Nutts Corner, a loop of the Phoenix GP circuit and Dundrod.

Most riders should be able to stick with the bunches until Dundrod as it will be quite flat until then. After Dundrod the climb starts and the bunches will probably split up so please make sure you know the route from there back to the House of Sport. That route is:

From Nutts Corner stay on the road through Dundrod village up the climb and down the other side until you reach a T junction. At the T junction turn right. Go straight through three roundabouts (two small and one large under the M1). Go straight through one set of traffic lights at the junction with the Boucher Rd and straight through a double set of traffic lights as you go under the railway and Lisburn Rd. Keep going straight on until you reach a third set of lights at the junction with the Malone Rd. Turn right onto the Malone Rd at these lights and it is about half a mile to the H of S.

The “B” run will omit the loop of the GP circuit.

In the interests of safety all riders must wear a helmet.

The club expects the cooperation of all riders in ensuring the event runs safely and the minimum of inconvenience is caused to other road users and members of the public.

I hope you enjoy the event, and happy Easter.

Phoenix Reliability Trial Sunday 10th Feb

Sunday 10th Feb sees the annual Phoenix reliability trial.
The format will be an “A” run aiming for an average speed of 20-21mph, and a “B” run aiming at 17-18mph average speed.

Sign-on – please note – the venue will be the same as last year – at the Queen’s “Sport at Malone” clubhouse where there are toilet and changing facilities. The entrance is situated approximately 100 metres past the House of Sport on the Upper Malone Rd. Sign-on is open from 9:30 with the A run leaving at 10:00 and the B run leaving shortly after. The sign-on fee is £5

The route and profile is the usual Phoenix RT route. See message board for more details