National Criterium Championships 2018

posted 15 Jun 2018, 16:15 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 18 Jun 2018, 02:12 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 18th June 2018)   
The highlight of the club's celebration of National Bike Week was the staging of the National Criterium Championships in Mullingar town centre last Friday evening.

This was Wheelers’ third time to host this prestigious National Elite race. As usual the promotion was of an excellent standard thanks to a lot of hard work from the organising committee and the members who turned out to assist with running the event on the night.

There were two races to be settled on the night with the Ladies competition classified as a demonstration race which meant that the winner did not get a Champions jersey,  all going well it will be awarded full Championship status in 2019. Despite a small number of entrants this was an exciting race with Fiona Guihen of Black Rose Racing taking the honours. Lakeside Wheelers had one rider in the race with 15 year old Caoimhe O’Brien getting a special dispensation from Cycling Ireland to upgrade to senior ranking for the night. Caoimhe made an excellent start making the initial break of three but a crash in Blackhall car park put paid to her chances even though she bravely rejoined the race to finish in style. 

The men’s race had a full field with 60 riders going to the line for the chance to wear the National jersey. This field included the cream of Irish cycling talent and, as anticipated, it proved to be an excellent race. The speed through the 1.2km town centre circuit was evident from the start with several riders getting dropped in the opening few laps, such was the ferocity of the attackers. The race was down to a battle for gold and silver after just four laps with Mullingar rider Damien Shaw of Holdsworth Pro Cycling and Dillon Corkery of Gerard Cycles-DHL going clear of the bunch. This remained the position for the entire race as the chasers remained at least 20 seconds adrift of the two flying leaders all night.

Damien Shaw and Dillon Corkery in Action in the early laps of National Crit Championships in Mullingar
Damien Shaw and Dillon Corkery in Action in the early laps of National Crit Championships in Mullingar this evening.  More pictures HERE

In the closing stages it was all set for a sprint finish as the large partisan Mullingar crowd got behind Shaw who is an honorary lifetime member of Lakeside Wheelers. However, it was not to be the Holdsworth man's night as the young 19 year old Corkery just edged the two up dash on the line. 

Race organisers were delighted with the success of the race and wish to thank everybody who turned out to watch the event which was expertly broadcast around the town by the commentator, Ger Campbell of Cycling Leinster. As with all good events there is a team required to make them run smoothly and successfully. 
Lakeside Wheelers Racing Committee wish to thank Westmeath Co. Council, Mullingar Gardaí, Mullingar Civil Defence, Mullingar Traders, The Greville Arms Hotel, McDonnell Auctioneers, Donie Coffey, Dr Declan Brennan, Westmeath Examiner, Westmeath Topic, Midlands Radio 3, Kevin Matthews Sound Engineering, Tara Bottlers and Cycling Ireland. Special thanks to the staff at Newbrook Tyres Mullingar who helped out with barriers at very short notice. Finally, a big thank you to all our members who made themselves available to help with marshalling, time keeping, judging and all the other very important jobs needed to ensure the event ran safely. 
The following are the results of the National Criterium Championships...

Men's Elite National Criterium Championships
1st  Dillon Corkery, Team Gerard DHL
2nd  Damien Shaw, Holdsworth Pr Cycling
3rd Darnell Moore, Team Caldwell Cycles
4th David Montgomery, Unattached
5th Paidi O'Brien, Team Gerard DHL,
6th Marc Potts, Unattached

Women's Demonstration Race
1st Fiona Guihan, Black Rose Racing
2nd Jennifer Bates, Team Gerald DHL
3rd Lyndsey Bryce, Dublin Wheelers
4th Orla Hendron, Scott Orwell Wheelers]
5th Sinead Molloy, Tullamore CTC
6th Maura Claffey, UCD Cycling Club

Tackling the the toughest stretch of the circuit in the elite men's race.
Tackling the the toughest stretch of the circuit in the elite men's race.
More pictures HERE

National Criterium Championships Take Place on Friday

posted 11 Jun 2018, 09:28 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 10th June 2017)   
Mullingar town will be the centre of Irish cycling next Friday,15th June when Lakeside Wheelers host the National Criterium Championships. A criterium is a race staged on a short circuit preferably in a town centre or city location. As a result, these events are known for speed and tight cornering and with the field containing some of the best riders in the country it is expected that it will be very exciting racing.

Lakeside Wheelers wish to thank the local traders, Westmeath Co. Council, Mullingar Gardai and Mullingar Civil Defence for their cooperation in staging this prestigious race. The route which is based around Oliver Plunket St, Blackhall and Mount St was described by 2011 winner and former World Champion Martyn Irvine, as the best criterium circuit he had ever raced on.

Racing will commence at 7pm with a ladies Demo race followed by the Elite race at 8pm. The Championships race at 8pm will see the riders racing for 50 minutes plus three laps. So, please come out and support this event and see some of the best of Irish sporting talent on display in the centre of Mullingar. Any members available to assist with marshalling on the night are asked to please turn up in the Market Square any time from 4pm on Friday next and contact Aidan Daly, Joe Kenny, Jack Nugent or Shay O’Toole.

Action from the 2011 National Championships with Martyn Irvine and Damien Shaw
Action from the 2011 National Championships with Martyn Irvine and Damien Shaw

Wheelers to Host National Criterium Championships

posted 4 Jun 2018, 08:30 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 4 Jun 2018, 08:30 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 3rd June 2018)   

The big news this week is that Lakeside Wheelers is to host the 2018 National Criterium Championships in Mullingar on Friday, 15th June.

This is another great honour for the club and follows on from our staging of this prestigious event in 2011 and 2012. In recent months members of the club committee were involved in talks with Cycling Ireland representatives and subsequent to these discussions the club was requested to bring this very exciting race back to the streets of Mullingar.

Criterium racing is renowned for speed and excellent bike handling skills which are required to negotiate the tight corners associated with this type of event, The 1.2km Mullingar town centre route which incorporates Oliver Plunkett St, Dominick Place, Blackhall Carpark, Gaol Hill and returning to Oliver Plunkett St via Mount St is regarded as one of the best criterium circuits in Ireland.

Racing will commence at 19.00pm with a Ladies only event which will run for 25 minutes and two laps. Following this the Elite National Championships race will set off at 20.00pm and the riders will race for 50 minutes and three laps. Both events will be very exciting to watch so it is hoped that big crowds will come out enjoy top level cycle racing on our doorstep.

On the previous two occasions when Lakeside Wheelers staged this great race the winners were former World Track Champion, Martyn Irvine in 2011 and current Irish track cyclist Felix English, in 2012. Mullingar professional Damien Shaw of Holdsworth Pro Cycling placed second both years so it remains to be seen if he can go one better this year. This will be a great opportunity for Mullingar cycling fans to see the Lakeside Wheelers Lifetime member and third year professional cyclist who will be fresh from his fantastic fourth place in this year’s Ras Tailteann, in action on his home streets. Lakeside Wheelers will also be represented by a contingent of other members racing on the night. 

On the evening of  Friday, 15th June the streets will be closed off from approximately 18.45pm until 21.30pm. There will be diversions in place so disruption to traffic is expected to be minimal.

There will be another update on this National Championships race in next week’s notes but if you have not already done so, can all members who are available to assist on the night please contact Joe Kenny, Shay O’Toole Joe Duffy or Jack Nugent.
Action from last year's Destination Sport Mullingar Criterium
Action from last year's Destination Sport Mullingar Criterium

Mixed Emotions For Damien Shaw At Rás 2018

posted 4 Jun 2018, 08:21 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 27th May 2018)   
The 2018 Ras Tailteann finished amid torrential May showers in Skerries last Sunday afternoon. For the third consecutive year, Mullingar man, Damien Shaw finished in the top five in this very difficult eight-day stage race. 
However, Damien’s fantastic fourth place finish was tinged with more than a little disappointment as the Holdsworth Pro Cycling rider had been in third position all week. On the opening 136km stage from Drogheda to Athlone, Damien managed to make the decisive split and rode in the breakaway group which stayed clear to the finish on Shannonside. Along the way he won intermediate sprints in Rochfortbridge and Kilbeggan resulting in time bonuses which left him on the podium and just eleven seconds adrift of Swiss national rider and race leader, Cyrille Thiery.

The following six days saw the race travel at mind boggling speeds to stage finishes in Tipperary, Listowel, Glengarriff, Mitchelstown, Carlow and Naas. On each day, Shaw, the 2015 Irish National Champion fought tooth and nail to ensure he remained on course for a podium finish in Skerries. Unfortunately, on the final stage from Naas to Skerries the race was turned on its head with the second placed Dutch rider toppling the Swiss rider off the top block by a mere one second and in turn this left Damien just off podium in fourth. 

Despite the fact that fourth was an amazing achievement, Damien was naturally devastated in the immediate aftermath of the race as the realisation that a place in Ras history had evaded him yet again. However, the full-time Yorkshire based cyclist is not one to wallow in defeat and he will soon be back on the bike racing in England. His next appearance on Irish roads will be at the National Championships in Sligo on 1st July.

Congratulations also to Lakeside Wheelers member, Stuart Cox who rode the Ras with Longford Cycling Club. 

Damien Shaw, 2nd from right celebrates with his Holdsworth Pro Cycling team after they took a stage win in Carlow at Ras 2018
Damien Shaw, 2nd from right celebrates with his Holdsworth Pro Cycling team 
after they took a stage win in Carlow at Ras 2018

Rás Tailteann 2018 Starts on 20th May

posted 14 May 2018, 15:40 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 14 May 2018, 15:41 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun 13th May 2018)   
With the news of withdrawal of sponsorship by An Post for the 2018 Rás spreading through Irish cycling circles last year, it was feared that this great race was to go the same way. However, the organisers were pennywise over the previous years and had a rainy day fund which will be used to run the event this year.

The Rás commences on 20th ay with the first stage passing through Tyrellspass and Rochfrtbridge en route to Athlone for the stage finish. This will give all local cycling enthusiasts a fantastic opportunity to catch one of the best and hardest bike races in Europe as it races through our neighbourhood. This year there will once again be some local interest with Lakeside Wheelers member Stuart Cox riding with a Longford selection in the County Rider category.

Damien Shaw (centre) leads his new team in training earlier this year
Full-time rider and member of the Irish registered Holdsworth Pro Cycling team, Damien Shaw, will also be competing and no doubt, attempting to improve on his past performances. Shaw has ridden the Rás both as an amateur and professional rider with some excellent results. In 2015 he finished the eight-day race in great style coming home 2nd on two stages and 3rd on the final showcase stage into Skerries. In 2016 and 2017 he was one of the main threats to the General Classification and on both occasions he took a fabulous 5th placing. 

In particular, last year he was extremely close to donning the Yellow jersey but experienced some bad luck as the race traversed the tough roads of Donegal which ended his push for outright victory. However, this year he has a new team and the former Mullingar fireman and Lakeside Wheelers member will be back hunting for glory.

Club Commences 2nd Beginner's Course

posted 30 Apr 2018, 06:59 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 30 Apr 2018, 07:01 ]

Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar commenced the second of its adult beginner cycling courses for 2018 on Wednesday April 25th. The course comprises of a briefing session on Wednesday evenings followed by a spin with a second spin on Saturday mornings at 10.00am. Anyone who has an interest in taking up cycling is welcome to attend. 

On the opening evening a large number of beginners enjoyed their maiden cycle in the bright sunshine and, unusually, again on Saturday morning. Club member, Steve Franzoni led a lively discussion on a wide range of topics such as road safety, cycling etiquette, cycling skills, fitness, bike maintenance and clothing. 

These informative briefing sessions will continue for the next few weeks and it is hoped the sunny weather will follow suit. The first Saturday morning spin saw the group cycle to Castletowngeoghan where an al fresco coffee stop was enjoyed by all.

On the Wednesday evenings, there will be a brief talk on cycling topics commencing at 6.00pm after which, the course coordinators will bring cyclists out for a spin lasting up to an hour and a half at an easy pace on the Old Rail Trail Greenway. On Saturday mornings the course leaders, who are all Lakeside Wheelers members with extensive cycling experience will be taking the participants out at 10.00am for a slightly longer spin to give them an opportunity to practice the skills they have learned earlier in the week. By the end of the six week programme it is hoped that the new cyclists should be able to join in with the Lakeside Wheelers D Group cycles. This group departs from the clubhouse at Mullingar Army Barracks at 9.00am every Saturday for a leisurely spin and, most importantly, a tea stop.

The course continues on Wednesday at 6.00pm meeting in the car park at the entrance to the Mullingar to Athlone Old Rail Trail Greenway in Mullingar Business Park and leaving at 6.30pm sharp. New cyclists to the course are still welcome so, if you wish to learn new skills this course is for you. The goal of the course is to give people an introduction to cycling and the confidence and skills to enjoy the sport with other like-minded people. 

Please bring a serviceable bike (racer, hybrid or mountain bike will be grand) a helmet and warm clothes. If anyone has any queries please contact Gerry Wallace at 087 2557733.

Club Activity Gears Up for the Summer Months

posted 9 Apr 2018, 05:16 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 9 Apr 2018, 05:18 ]

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 9th April 2017)   
With the summer fast approaching it is time to turn attention to the three big events which the club runs each year. For the diary, the Lakeside Wheelers Criterium will be staged on Friday, 15th June and it is expected to be announced in the coming weeks that this race will be the National Criterium Championships. This is a great honour for the club and follows on from our hosting of this prestigious race on two occasions in recent years. 

The Crit race commences a busy weekend for the club as it is Annual Bike Week so, as usual we will hold our Tour of the Lakes sportive on Sunday 17th June. This will follow the same route as in 2017 and once again it is expected to draw a big number of cyclists to Mullingar.

Our final event is the Mullingar Grand Prix which will be staged on Sunday, 15th July on the Multyfarnham, Crookedwood, Castlepollard, Multyfarnham circuit. Cycling Ireland have once again nominated this race as a round of the National Series which is another great honour for the club and its ability to organise top class racing events.
Members are asked to take note of these dates as volunteers will be needed to ensure the all three Lakeside Wheelers promotions run smoothly.

Action from the 2017 Mullingar Grand Prix in Multyfarnham.
Action from the 2017 Mullingar Grand Prix in Multyfarnham.

Summertime Cycling:
Although the weather of late has not been very friendly to cyclists it is time to think of summer and our annual evening cycling schedule. As from next Wednesday, 11th April there will be an evening spin from the clubhouse at 6.30pm. For the first couple of weeks daylight hours will determine the duration of the spin but from then on it should be possible to get a good two hour ride in. This spin is designed to be a leisurely paced run to help members get a few more miles in to train for upcoming sportives or races and club kit is expected as on Sundays. 

Invacare Paracycling TT:
The club will host a round of the Invacare Paracycling TT on Saturday, 14th April so if any members are available to assist with this it would be appreciated. This competition is based out of the carpark of the Well music venue outside Moate  and usually runs off very quickly. If you are available can you please contact Henry Whitson on or any member of the committee on 

Eleanor Wins the Death Road Descent

posted 20 Mar 2018, 15:14 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 20 Mar 2018, 15:14 ]

(By Elanor Digby - Sun. 18th March 2018)   
In January of this year I set off to explore South America on a trip that took me from Peru to Brazil. As a fair weather cyclist I couldn’t wait to don my Lakeside Wheelers jersey after being absent from the wet Irish roads for over three months. Luckily for me my travel companion had no objections to a cycle tour and so, I signed both of us up for a trip down the infamous Death Road on two wheels.

The North Yungus road connecting the Bolivian capital La Paz to Coroico averaged an annual death toll of up to 300 people until 2006 when a new tarmac road was opened. Since then the predominant commuters down this thrilling descent of 2,000 metres through the Amazon Rainforest, waterfalls and clouds, along a three metre wide dirt track have been tourist cycle tours, locals living in the immediate area and a BBC Top Gear crew. 
This fair weather rider was in for a shock when the journey began at 4,800 metres above sea level, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. My Wheelers jersey was quickly forgotten and covered over by layers of ski gear offered by our guides.

Eleanor Digby descends the Death Road in South America.
Eleanor Digby descends the Death Road in South America.

Our group was split into experienced and inexperienced cyclists. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been seen in ‘the gear’ as it resulted in me being pushed into a group of French, German and English lunatics who were hell bent on descending at break neck speed, oblivious to the 900 metre sheer drop immediately to our left. This descent was along a road with very few barriers but plenty of reminders of vehicles that had plunged into the valleys below us. Nonetheless, being the only female in the group and having worn the Wheelers jersey, I was determined to represent. I also thought it would be useful to have someone behind me to witness my fall if the worst were to happen and call for help! 

We travelled 64km on our bikes, 40km of which was along death road, until we arrived in Yolosa, a small village which was to be our pick up point.  By this time the temperature had risen by 20 degrees to my delight, the road ahead of us was uphill. Up until now I had been chasing these experienced mountain bikers without much chance of passing them out but all of a sudden they hit the hill like it was a brick wall. My climbing experience kicked in straight away and to their disgust I passed them all out in the final kilometer to arrive across the finish line first. Officially, the tour is not a race down the hill but I decided that it must be, because why else would anyone pedal frantically downhill for 40kms? 

Despite the odd scare on this famous road I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend this “spin” to anyone!!!

Group Leaders In Place for 2018

posted 26 Feb 2018, 14:18 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 25th February 2018)   
The 2018 Group Leaders are now in place so all members are asked to assist them wherever possible. Leading groups is often a thankless job so please pay attention to any instructions or requests that these volunteers may have at the beginning or during weekly spins. Members are asked to adhere to plans such as routes and coffee-stop locations as suggested by the Leaders each week. Group etiquette in the event of punctures or accidents within the group is also extremely important so please liaise with the designated group leaders in these instances.

Can all members please try to wear club gear on the weekly spins and in these cold weather conditions at least wear upper body Lakeside Wheelers kit. Contact Joe Duffy (086-8181919) if you need any items of club clothing.

Group Cycle in Club Gear

Gabriel Howard RIP

posted 12 Feb 2018, 02:04 by Kevin Monaghan

(By Shay O'Toole - Sat. 10th February 2018)   
A wave of great sadness fell upon Irish cycling last Friday evening as the news of Gabriel Howard’s tragic passing spread throughout the cycling community. Gabriel, or Gaybo as he was affectionately known was a stalwart of Irish cycling and was known the length and breadth of Ireland by everybody involved in the sport. 

From Stamullen, Gaybo was a great friend of Lakeside Wheelers and was most commonly associated with our annual criterium where his commentary was as much a part of the evening as the race itself. Following his retirement from racing Gaybo performed several roles including team manager, mechanic, race organiser, adviser and he was a key worker on the Rás each year. 

His death will leave a huge void in the world of cycling not just at domestic level but also on the international scene. On behalf of everybody at Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar, deepest sympathies to his wife Kay, his children, his extended family and all his loyal friends.

RIP Gaybo, may you Rest in Peace.

Gaybo Howard Interviews Damien Shaw ahead of the Mullingar Crit in 2017
Gaybo Howard Interviews Damien Shaw ahead of the Mullingar Criterium in 2017

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