Ladies' day success for Road Club

SUNDAY'S women's training day at Ballymena was heralded a great success by all those who took part.

Ryan Connor, who was recently installed as chairman of the Cycling Ulster road commission and Ballymena Road Club–Scott Roof Tiles member Louise Fullerton, one of the founder members of the Ulster women's association, were the organisers of the day's activities.

Twenty five ladies assembled at Fitness First in Pennybridge, they had come from as far away as Armagh, Coalisland, Dromara, Phoenix and Ards as well as the local Ballymena Road Club girls who included Judy Mahon, Brigid Quinn, Hazel Hughes, Maria Shannon, Joanne Kee and Louise Fullerton.

The day's activities started off with a 30 miles bike ride which took in Slaght, Whitesides corner, Randalstown and then through the Largy towards Portglenone before the long, tough ascent of Tully. Then it was Ahoghill and Cullybackey before returning to Fitness First for an hour long spin class.

The support vehicle was driven by Hugh McCullough and he was kept busy dealing with a number of punctures.

Unfortunately a muddy section of road at the Largy caused problems and four girls came off, hopefully all will recover from their fall.

Darren and Craig Crawford and Adrian and Aaron Swan were also there and they rode at the rear of the bunch and acted as sweepers.

The training day received support from Sport NI and Cycling Ulster with additional backing coming from the David McCall foundation, and this ensured that it was a really great day for all participants.

Louise said: "I was delighted to see such a big turn out on Sunday. With the support of all concerned we have a full programme of events planned for the season and I hope that it augers well for the start of our Women's only League."

Following the exercise the entourage headed for the Dunsilly Hotel in Antrim for lunch. Ryan Connor introduced himself to those he hadn't met previously and talked about their plans for the coming season.

Ryan said: "I wanted to meet the women today and get an idea of their fitness level. I was really surprised that we were able to stay together throughout the ride and even Tully did not cause the group to split too much. This will be a very promising group of women to work with over the coming months."


There are now less than two weeks to go to the start of the 2010 cycle racing season and the BRC panel of "open race" licence holders will be hoping for a quick change in temperature as the date for the Annaclone Grand Prix comes ever closer.

Banbridge cycling club have the privilege of hosting this traditional season opening event, which this year will be held in the sleepy Co Down Drumlin village near Katesbridge on Saturday 27th February.

There will be two races, one of which, the "A" event will be handicapped and open to A1, A2 and A3 category riders. The "B" race is open to A4 Category only. The races are scheduled to start at 12 noon with registration open from 10:20 am until 11:45 am.

The face that such a big turnout is expected means that those wishing to take part must enter at least one week before the race.

The entry form, which is available for download from the Cycling Ulster website, should be returned to Wilbur Aiken, 2 Rowantree Drive Dromore Co Down BT251LR

For race information contact race organiser Stephen Curran by Email, stephen[email protected] or telephone : 028 4062 6882 or 07790071094


Ballymena Road Club doesn’t anticipate that their two big open race promotions: The Wallace Caldwell memorial and The Red Hand trophy: will be oversubscribed.

In fact the opposite is more likely to be the case and, despite both races being part of the prestigious Slane, Ulster classic road racing league series, the club expects once again to struggle to reach the maximum entry of 60 riders.

A recent meeting between the PSNI and Cycling Ulster officials served to highlight the possibility of these two races losing their “B” category status if numbers of starters fall too far short of the 60 mark.

The police deploy considerable resources to both races in the form of motor cycle out riders who assist with traffic control.

In recent seasons the police have monitored not only the number of starters, but also the number of riders who actually completed the courses.

If either number falls below what they consider to be an acceptable level then the race may lose this “escort”

It would be very difficult to hold the Caldwell and Red Hand events if this police cover was withdrawn as both events take place over long “single loop” tour like courses which include several small towns and villages along the way.

Hopefully there is no threat to this year’s Wallace Caldwell road race which is scheduled to take place on Saturday 10th April while the Red Hand trophy is on the calendar for Saturday 8th May.

However the race will face a different problem as the Caldwell route will take the riders from the official start at Galgorm to Ahoghill and then on to Portglenone, where a detour will be needed to avoid the scheduled road works on the Portglenone to Clady road.

This will possibly affect the riders on both the outward part of the race and again on the return route just depending on the exact location of the road works at that time, as the road is set to be closed for 12 weeks.

If it is acceptable for the race to use the Bellaghy road out of Portglenone as a diversionary route to Clady on the outward leg then that would be a way around the obstacle.

The return route brings the riders from Kilrea along the A54 Moneygran road to it’s junction with the A42 Clady road where they come out at Weir’s pub. If the road works are on the Clady side of this junction then the race shouldn’t be affected. However if the closure is on the section between Weir’s and Portglenone then an alternative route would be needed to bring the race back from Kilrea.

The use of the Townhill road may be an option, provided, of course, that there was proper traffic control at the Kilrea bridge traffic lights.

This dilemma must be looked at soon by the club’s racing committee.

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