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A Look Back at 2016

posted 21 Dec 2016, 08:53 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Joe Duffy - Mon 19th December 2016)   
As we come to the end of December we can reflect on another successful year on the bike for Lakeside Wheelers during 2016. Across all our disciplines including touring, racing, mountain biking, cyclocross, youth and kids sprocket rocket we had good participation and a fair degree of success. We must acknowledge this would not have been possible without the wonderful support we received from organisations like Westmeath County Council, Civil Defence and An Garda Siochána . 

Premium Local Cycle Routes
Westmeath County Council deserve a special word of thanks as they unveiled some great cycling and walking routes across the county. The Rail Trail or Greenway as some call it, has proved to be a very popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. Any day of the week you will find a steady stream of cyclists riding along the three metre wide tarmac track between Mullingar and Athlone. 

The Royal Canal Blueway has been extended through tranquil countryside along the magical track way through bog and farmland, interrupted only by the occasional bridge. The Blueway currently extends from the Meath/ Westmeath boarder to Ballymahon in Co. Longford. This is a flat easy route, which really showcases the Westmeath section of the Royal Canal. The route has been completed from the Meath boarder through Mullingar to Ballymahon Co. Longford. At present the route is being developed between Dublin and the Meath border and when it is finished it will connect all the way to the river Shannon.

40th Anniversary
We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the club in April with a top class celebration dinner dance in the Mullingar Park Hotel. Many of our past members joined us for this very special occasion and thanks to a hard working organising committee it was a huge success, which went on late into the night.

Rás Stage Finish
Many years have passed since the area hosted a stage finish of a major race so it was great to see stage 1 of the An Post Rás finish in Multyfarnham in May. On a bright summers day the large crowd of spectators were treated to some great cycle racing. The start of Stage 2 in Dominick Street was a very colorful and impressive affair as the riders headed off on their 184km journey to Clonakilty, Co Cork.  180 riders started the race and it was great to see our own Damien Shaw doing us proud by finishing in an impressive 5th place overall.

For National Bike Week in June we hosted our annual 100k Tour of the Lakes. This event caters for leisure riders and it attracted a large entry from all over the country. This was a most enjoyable event and it allowed the riders to experience the splendor of the Westmeath countryside. In July we turned to the racing scene with the Mullingar Grand Prix which started and finished in the beautiful tidy town of Multyfarnham. With over 250 participants across the various races our club members did us proud with pride of place going to youth rider Sean Kennedy who took an impressive win in the under 16 event.

Cyclocross
Cyclocross is a relatively new but exciting event on the club calendar. For anyone not familiar with cyclocross the dictionary definition for this type of event is “ a bicyle race over a cross-country course, featuring steep hill, turns, and sometime muddy terrain, that occasionally requires a rider to carry the bicycle over fences and up stairs”. Roy Carey and his hard working team put on a number of these events during the year at Ladestown and Marlinstown, which proved to be very popular. Roy was also the driving force behind the very successful Sprocket Rocket programme for kids during July and August so it was no surprise to see him presented with the “Club person of the Year” award at our recent Christmas party.

Impressive Underage Performances
Philip Wade and his Youth team did a tremendous amount of work developing our under age riders during the year. This resulted in a number of very impressive results on the road-racing scene in addition to national titles on the track for sisters Caoimhe and Aoife O’Brien and Aaron Wade.

Turkey Trot
Finally a reminder that our annul Turkey Trot cycle is on Tuesday 27th from the clubhouse in Columb Barracks at 10am. We head to New Forest Golf club in Tyrrellspass once again for the traditional coffee and mince pies. It will be a very relaxed pace so we want to see everyone out for what promises to be a very social occasion.




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