Success at Beggs/McGreevy and Mid-Ulster GP

The final weekend in April saw more success for Phoenix. Some riders said it even felt like spring, well for a short while.

First up on Sat 27th April where the Beggs/McGreevy races hosted by Banbridge CC. This year due to roadworksthe organizers where challenged to find an alternative circuit. Any riders expecting or hoping for an easier ride where to be disappointed.  Reports from the road say that it was possibly tougher, with more hills, less selective than the old course resulting in larger groups and more attacking.

As usual there was strong Phoenix presence in A1/A2, A3 and A4 races. In the A1/A2 race, Ali, Brian, Desi and Fergus where very active in many of the early breaks but unfortunately missed the winning moves.

In the A3 race, Phoenix had big squad of guys riding. Jay was in the some of the early moves but got reeled back.
Building on the form of recent weeks, Alex got away in final lap only to be caught by small group of chasers. He had enough in tank to take a fine 2nd place, a result which sees Alex upgraded to A2. Well done Alex, good reward for a hard winters training.
After a few other riders Aaron McGrady took bunch sprint and 6th place. Another man on form, it surely wont’ be long until Aaron gets upgraded also. Mike Millar took 9th – good job Mike.  A tough day on bike , well done to all riders.

Johnny wonders how hard new course could be (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Johnny wonders how hard new course could be (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)


On Sunday 28th, Harps CC hosted the mid-ulster GP. Wet, cold and windy conditions greeted riders.
Building on their success at North Down a few weeks back, Jude Moffat and Michael Tolan won the ladies and masters races respectively.
Jude took a convincing win the ladies race, getting into break and working hard at front throughout. Likewise Michael was instrumental in the break, doing large share of work at front and still having strength to take the win. Well done to both.

Jude wins at Mid Ulster

Jude wins at Mid Ulster (photo courtey of Marion Lamb)

Michael really wanted this win (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Michael really wanted this win (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

This weekend sees the Tour of Ulster with Ali, Marcel and Fergus in action. Good luck lads.


Amy’s winning start / Bann valley classic

Amy takes first win with new club

Amy Brice won the womans race at Drogheda on Sun 21st April, taking the sprint in fine style from a large field.  Amy, now riding for D.I.D Ladies Racing Team took the win by a few lengths. Amy started her cycling career with Phoenix and will always have her roots deep with the club. We wish her well and every success racing both at home and abroad in what will be an exciting new adventure with the new team.
Race report on StickyBottle here

Aaron and Marcel score at Bann valley

Living up to his growing reputation as an agressive rider, Marcel Kock put the hammer down right from the start of the A3 race at Bann valley classic on Sun 21st .  He was joined in an 8 man breakaway by Phoenix new rider Aaron McGrady. Despite really big effort from chasing groups, the breakaway stayed away.  In the final sprint Aaron took 3rd place and Marcel got a reward for his efforts as he took 6th place. Well done guys.

Aaron and Marcel at Bann Valley

Aaron and Marcel in A3 break at Bann Valley

Race report on Cycling Ulster here

North Down GP and Carn Classic 2013

North Down GP

Saturday 13th April saw North Down GP hosted by NDCC with some mixed fortune for Phoenix.

In the A1/A2 race Marcel got into the early move for a few laps but got pulled back by chasing group. Ali McCauley was in this group and although missing out on podium this time, came away with 4th place.   For 2nd weekend in a row,  Brian Stewart showed that class never goes away by taking bunch sprint and 6th place points which means he now is upgraded to A1.  Marcel came in as first A2 – a big result can’t be far away for the DutchCub.

Marcel gives it the beans (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Marcel gives it the beans (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

In the A3 race, Jay Gault was in 9 man break with 20secs on peleton when commissionaires called halt due to crash at finish.  As result all riders in the break got 4 points.  Congratulations to Jay and also to Jude Russell took 3rd place in Womens race and Michael Tolan took a fine 4th in Masters.

Unfortunately, Michael Hewit was suffered a bad crash in Masters race resulting in fractured femur. Latest reports are that he is on the mend. We wish Mike and all other riders who crashed a speedy recovery.

full report and photos

Ciaran wins at Carn Wheelers Classic

Sunday saw some hard racing in very windy conditions.  In the A race, Fergus Rooney was in the mix right from start, got into the winning break  and came away with 4th place.   The B race for A3 again saw Alex Donald and Aaron McGrady getting into the early break.  After hard day in the break, Alex came away with 4th.

Another win for Ciaran (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Another win for Ciaran (photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Result of the weekend goes to Ciaran McVeigh.   Demonstrating that his win at Newry was no fluke, Ciaran took the bunch sprint. Well done Ciaran – A3 awaits.

full report and photos

Phoenix team on form at Tour of Ards 2013

Ali McCauley continues his purple patch with a good 2nd place at the Tour of Ards 2013. With Brian Stewart 5th, David Neill 6th and Alex Donald first A3 it was a strong showing all round.

Phoenix ready to roll

Phoenix ready to roll

Setting of at a blistering pace a lot of small groups were trying to get a way with Phoenix always represented. A group of 4 finally managed to get a bit of a gap on the run into portaferry (Ali, Gary Cranston, James McMaster, Bryan McCrystal).  Some good teamwork in the bunch from several of the phoenix riders made sure that the gap went up slowly but surely.

Although several riders managed to pull the bunch back to within sight in the final couple of miles the group stayed clear.

In the bunch Marcel put in big effort in closing stages to lead out team for sprint. Brian pulled out a great sprint followed home by David.

Thanks to Ards CC for well organized race.

(Race report – Marcel, Eamon – team photo)

Cycling Ulster race report here

Photos here

Phoenix sucess at Gorey 3 day

There are 10km to go, a lone rider  in green and blue takes the corner and accelerates.  Total commitment.  The group of chasers follows some 1min 45 sec behind.  Some of the best talent on 2 wheels pushing hard to catch the leader. But  the solo rider hangs on to take victory by 40 seconds.  A classy victory.  Now this isn’t some pro race in a far off place.  This is stage 1 of the 2013 Gorey 3-day and the rider is Phoenix’s very own Ali McCauley taking a famous victory.  Ali would eventually finish 2nd to Dylan Foley of Irish development squad but Phoenix would be in thick of action for the entire weekend.

Getting to Gorey

With the cancellation of Tour of the North, and a few slots opening up, Ali and Marcel Kock had opportunity to boost the Phoenix team of Joe Henry, Mike Millar and John Rooney with club captain Jay Gault driving team car. Conditions where not going to be easy for any of the riders, a cold easterly breeze ensured that gilets/arm/leg warmers where order of the day.

Stage 1 saw Marcel getting into the early breakaway of 8 riders and working hard to stay away from the bunch.  With about 30km to go, Ali was in a bunch of 12 which bridged across.   Shortly after Ali made his break and after some hesitation in bunch got significant gap.  But despite the efforts of chasers Ali hung on to take the win and leaders jersey.

Ali take stage 1 in 2013 Gorey 3 day (photo courtesy of

Ali take stage 1 in 2013 Gorey 3 day (photo courtesy of

Easter Sunday would see two stages, a 6.4km  individual time trial followed by  road stage (4 times round 24km circuit). In the TT, Ali lost 37 seconds to Mark Downey (Irish Devleopment squad) but managed to hold onto yellow jersey by 2 seconds from Dylan Foley.  All 5 Phoenix team put in powerful rides with Marcel establishing his place in top 20.


John, Mike and Joe getting ready for TT

John, Mike and Joe getting ready for TT (photo courtesy of

 Leaving it all on the road

With many riders close in GC and very strong teams, both Irish and continental, it was always going to be a big ask for Phoenix guys to defend the yellow.  But the team stepped up.  However in final phase of race a break of 3 broke clear with Velo Club Eckwershein (France) taking 1st and 3rd place separated by Dylan O’Brien(Irish development squad) in 2nd.  Behind the front three, Dylan Foley broke clear of the chasing group containing Ali and took  GC by 14 seconds.

However Phoenix where still in the mix in final stage and had 2nd place on podium to defend.  For those further down classification, Stage 4 was survival but a fast start resulting in riders quickly getting shelled out the back.  After a hard stage with alot of aggressive riding, the yellow jersey showed his strength to get away and take second place behind John Noel Wolf (Velo Club Eckwershein). With Ali finishing in following bunch, Phoenix team had done enough to hold on to 2nd place.  Marcel finished in 15th, Mike 72nd, Joe 122nd and John 131st.  The team placed 10th in team classification.

Congratulations to the Phoenix team on a tough but successful weekends racing.  To come away with 2nd place in GC up against some of the best young talent in the country is a fantastic result. 

Phoenix would like to thank to promoting club Usher Irish Road Club and all the organizers, marshalls and helpers  for putting on a top event.  Our thanks also to all the other clubs and individuals who gave their support and to team down in Gorey.

Full results available here:

Photos and some great video highlights available here:

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:

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.

Geoff wins at Coalisland

Another weekend of tough conditions for those able to get out on the bike.

Due to the adverse conditions, the Wallace Caldwell due to run on Sat 23rd March got cancelled. For many Phoenix racers this meant a long session on the tubro trainner or rollers in order to keep the legs turning over. One who didn’t let weather stop distrupt Tour of the North preparation was Ali McCauley. Ali travelled to the Lucan GP and put in a strong performance getting into the break away.

A1/A2 break away at Lucan GP (photo courtesy of Gary McIlroy)

A1/A2 break away at Lucan GP (photo courtesy of Gary McIlroy)

On Sunday 24th, the PJ Logan cup hosted by Coalisland wheelers took place. Cold easterly winds greeted those brave enough to sign on, but at least there was no snow west of the Bann. In the A race, Fergus Rooney took 9th. Geoff Hewitt took victory in the over 50’s race, with brother Michael taking the runners up spot. Well done lads and all the other Phoenix riders.

Geoff wins over 50s race at PJ Logan cup (Photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Geoff wins over 50s race at PJ Logan cup (Photo courtesy of Marian Lamb)

Cathal 3rd in Donegal / weekend round up

Spring. La Primavera. It certainly didnt’ feel very much like spring this past weekend. But that didn’t deter Phoenix riders. Wether it was racing, club runs or off-road – it was another busy weekend on the bike.

Race round up
Sat 16th saw the Cicli sport GP, hosted by East Tyrone CC. Tough conditions for all riders.
In A3’s a 14 man group broke away early on. Alex and Paul put in a hugh effort to jump across but where unable to bridge to such a large group and got caught by the bunch. The A1 / A2 was a hard attacking race. Marcel worked hard but suffered mechanical in last lap. Cathal finished strongly to take 10th.

On St Patricks day, saw the Clann Eireann cup in Derrymacash for A3 riders. Joe Henry, Seamus walsh, Jim hegarty, Jeff Torrens-Spence, Jay Gault, John Rooney where in action. The Phoenix squad where involved in various moves but unfortunately missed the winning break. Congratulations to Mickey Carroll on a fine win.

Meanwhile up in Donegal, Cathal Symth put in a storming performance to take 3rd place in the Donegal Harvest RR, organized by Four Masters CC on Sun 17th. The race was ran in in very cold wet and windy conditions and with a 5 min deficit to make up on A3’s, the A1 / A2 had their work cut out.
With 10km to go the groups came together. Mark Buchanan and Conor McElwainne jumped clear to take 1st and 2nd.
Cathal and Devon McIlwainne broke from bunch for a 3 mile hammering before Cathal took 3rd place honours.

Super result on back of strong ride day before. With Tour Of North only 10 days away its great to see Cathal showing such good form.

Club runs
St Patricks day is celebrated by a traditional ‘long club run’ down to Spelga. To accomodate most riders this year it was split across Sunday and Monday rides.
Zulle led a dozen on the Sunday, six turned up on Monday. Never an easy ride, this year’s vist to Spelga was certainly challenging

Finally, younger riders enjoyed Cycling Ulster off-road training day in Lady Dixon’s park on St Patricks day morning.
A great event which was well attended on a cold morning and enjoyed by all. There will be more training days in April and May.

Michael 2nd, Julie and Geoff 3rd at McCann Cup Races at Seskinore

There were 5 races with almost 300 riders taking part on the 10th March at the McCann cup event at Seskinore run by Omagh Wheelers. Michael Tolan showed great sprinting skills to finish runner up in the over 50s race, just ahead of Geoff Hewitt, Turlough Montague was 7th. In the womens race Julie Rea did very well to finish 3rd, as did Karen Hull to finish 4th. In the A3 race Alex Donald escaped the sprinters to finish 6th. Here is a report on the Masters and Womens race from Turlough followed by a report on the A3 race by John Smyth.

Brilliant result today for Michael and Geoff in the Masters in what was a hard race to match the cold east wind. Congrats. The winner, Jim Doyle of the Foyle, rode a great race as did Seamus Keenan of the host club who attacked throughout. Strong riding from Julie and Karen who are keeping the Phoenix flag flying in the face of stiff competition esp from North Down. Thanks to Omagh Wheelers for a superbly organised and marshalled race and a warm marquee with a great spread. (Turlough Montague)

First time doing this race for me. Very well organized on a good circuit. Very tough A3 race with lots of cross head winds. I felt the 60 miles at the end. Excellent ride by Alex to get some points on the board. Strong showing from Jay, Jim, Karl and Ed. Amy battled hard despite losing a contact lens. Good work from the team today with lots of breaks shut down and Karl almost sneaking away on the last lap before Alex evaded the bunch sprint. Impressive rides by 3 guys in the initial break for the first 4 laps. very strong performance from Daniel Stewart who is too good for A3 racing and has started this year very impressively. Very cold prior to the race but ok once the action started. Bizarre weather with snowflakes on one bit of the circuit for 4 laps and sunshine on another bit. Up and down the carriage way in Newry was a lot easier last week! (John Smyth)

Pictured here is Michael Tolan finishing 2nd in the Masters Race
(Thanks to Marian Lamb of Cycling Ulster for the Photo)

Michael 2nd

You can read great reports on the races and see lots of pictures at Cycling Ulster.