AS the world’s best professional cyclists make their way around France and prepare to enter the Alps in a tough final week, another group of racing cyclists are already there.
However this group are not racing on the roads up the French and Italian Alps, they are instead taking to the forest trails and the gravel roads as they tackle the eight day Mountain Bike Trans Alps.
This team competition sees two riders climb numerous mountain passes per day for eight days straight, often while having only a camp site at night to rest up in.
Four Cuchulainn Cycling Club riders have taken to the start line: Stephen Kelleher, Gary Sheills, Seamus McEvoy and John Grace. All four riders spent the winter and summer months on the Cooley Mountains and made special trips to both Wicklow and Limerick to use mountain biking facilities there to further enhance their fitness and skills, which will be put to the test.
On stage two, “D’Unbelievables” team of Shiels and McEvoy finished as 54th team, while the “Cooley” team of Kelleher and Grace were 148th, out of a total of 222 teams.
Other mountain bikers in the club competed in the Irish Mountain Biking Championships on Sunday and the club collected yet another national medal with Gerry McCabe taking the silver in the Vets category, while not far behind was brother Johnny in 5th and Declan also in the top 10.
In the Under 16, Aaron McCannon narrowly missed a medal coming home in 4th place. Aidan McDonald and Ray O`Shaugnessy both had top 10 placings in the elites category. Further top 10 placings by the club were Myles Martin in the Masters and David McKeown in the Senior 3s.
In the FPM Accountants Summer Cycling League Cuchulainn had a clean sweep of the podium with club riders Greg Flynn, Alan J Grey and Mark Quinn taking the first three spots respectively.
In fact St Tiernan’s rider Kevin Harnett was the only non-Dundalk man in the top eight.
After catching all bar one rider the previous week, the scratch groups did not catch the front runners and came in some two minutes down where Alan Bingham took out the sprint ahead of Declan Grey and Peter Tomany.
The route was out to Greenore and back and the flatter route, versus the previous week, meant that the front groups worked well together and held a steady pace all day.
Meanwhile after a hugely successful run earlier in the summer the Underage Sprocket Rocket programme is back, running in Oriel Park every Monday night from July 25 to September 12.
Sprocket Rocket is a foundation Cycling Skills Programme which focuses on delivery to youths aged 8 to 12 years old.
The Sprocket Rocket Programme was originally developed by BMX Australia and has been modified by Cycling Ireland to suit the Irish environment.
SUBWAY® Sprocket Rocket Programme is aimed at developing basic skills required to ride a bike. The programme requires riders to complete skill tests at three levels of difficulty for each basic skill.
Those interested should contact Sé Weston at firstname.lastname@example.org or check www.dundalkcycling.com