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Wheelers do the BIG chain ring!

posted 8 Jun 2010, 01:58 by Kevin Monaghan
It may be a bank holiday and the sun may be shining but for the 11 wheelers competing here in the Ras Dhun na nGall 2010 AKA the Donegal 3 day, this is no holiday. Yes folks, I am reporting to you this week directly from the beautiful county of Donegal where the road just does not seem to level out.

I feel a bit like Charlie Bird, holed up here in my hotel room typing and trying to keep up with the pace of things as they happen, and I’m NOT even cycling. I am ably assisted in all things local by my interpreter, a real Charlie, our adopted Wheeler but a Donegal man to his toe nails, Charlie Sheridan, who nearly had me agreeing with him that this is, in his own often repeated words,” God’s own country”.  That was after Paul Crowley and I joined him for a relatively easy spin out this morning which, with the exception of the torturous climb up Glengesh Pass was probably one of the most scenic cycles I have ever done. However, the truth came out when we joined the cavalcade to follow this afternoon’s third stage and witnessed the cruelty of the terrain here in what I now believe to be “Satan’s Country”.

The first stage on Friday evening was a tough 30 miles around Killybegs and saw Steve Franzoni finish 6th, Peter Rimmer 7th, Mark O’Hara 11th and Dave Fagan 16th. The remainder of the Wheelers acquitted themselves extremely well to finish in the bunch. This performance left them on top of the pile when the team classification was issued late on Friday night so all Wheelers went to bed happy. Unfortunately, Wendy Bates who was riding superbly had a mechanical problem just as she was cresting the first climb and this put paid to any further involvement in the weekend for her. The cruelty of sport!!

We awoke to a sparkling sunny morning on Saturday and all was set for stage two, a 3.5 mile time trial or, as it is otherwise known, the” Race of Truth”.  Stage three departed Killybegs at 2.30pm for a 55 mile race around some scenically beautiful but extremely hilly countryside that included two King of the Hills climbs. The Wheelers once again were in the thick of things all day and despite a few unfortunate mechanical problems, Mairtin Savage= chain drop at just 13 miles, Dave Fagan=derailer problems at 48 miles they all finished what was a very tough race. Mark O’Hara rode superbly to come home in 12th position followed by Steve Franzoni in 28th, John Murray in 35th and Craig Sterrett in 49th.  Ciarain Coffey who is riding in his first stage race is doing fantastic , as is Sarah Franzoni who is keeping the ladies flag flying.

Today’s stage commences at 12.30pm and will be another tough 55 miler which after 32 miles takes the riders over an alpine-like climb known as Glengesh Pass. Hopefully all the legs are well rested and ready for the off. Sunday @ 8 pm Well the three days are over and to a man (and woman) the Wheelers put their all into the hills of Donegal. First Lakeside man home today was John Murray who climbed extremely well on Glengesh. He was followed in by the ever reliable Steve Franzoni who in turn had Mark O’Hara biting at his heels. By close of racing all Wheelers had completed this very difficult race and nothing was left on the road. Special mention must go to our sole female representative Sarah Franzoni, who despite being in obvious pain showed true character on the big climb of the day. Well done to you all on a fantastic showing in the Yellow, Blue and Red!!!  For a more detailed report on this weekend’s events please read Dave Fagan’s racing posts on the club forum.

It is important to mention that although the riders are putting in a massive physical effort here they are also getting valuable technical support from a dedicated team of friends and club mates. Paul Daly is team manager and assisted by Paul Crowley, Chris Timmons, Dave Bright and Joe Brady. Morale support is being doled out by myself, Cathy, Charlie and young Ryan Sheridan. We were also joined on Saturday by J.P.KIlmurray who drove up from home so as you can see it is a big club affair. Finallly, the riders taking part and proving to be fabulous ambassadors for Lakeside Wheelers are in no certain order, Sarah Franzoni, Wendy Bates, Steve Franzoni, Peter Rimmer, Dave Fagan, John Murray, Mark O’Hara, Craig Sterrett, Mairtin Savage and Ciarain Coffey. Well done to you all and please forgive me if I omitted anything of importance!!

Destination Sport Mullingar
Hopefully you are all aware by now that Lakeside Wheelers are playing a major part in the upcoming sports week which starts with an opening ceremony parade next Saturday. We will be hoping to have a number of Wheelers in this parade so watch email and text for updates.

Our main input to this event is definitely the Criterium which is being staged in Mullingar town centre on Wednesday 16th. However a new idea and one which we hope will receive the full backing and support of all members is the Great Mullingar Turbo Challenge. This is being staged at five locations in the town throughout the week. It commences on Sunday June 13th in the Market Square and will go to the Harbour Place shopping centre, Fairgreen shopping centre, Tesco shopping centre and the plaza outside the town park during the week. Our call to you the members is to get two friends and make up a team to challenge yourselves and others to ride the turbos for an hour. Preferably your team members should be from outside Lakeside Wheelers so as to introduce as many people as possible to cycling. However you can also do an hour with your Lakeside friends and challenge other teams to see who cycles the greater distance. We also hope to enlist teams from all walks of life in Mullingar such as the business people, the army, Gardai, hospital staff, factories, schools and literally anywhere we can. The turbo challenge will close on Sunday June 20th on Dominick st where we are hosting a reception to coincide with three Cycling Ireland cyclists arriving in town to end a Round Ireland cycling challenge. As you can see a lot of work and thought has gone into organising this week of sport in Mullingar so please give it your full support. Once again please read your emails for details of the turbo challenge. To enter a team please contact Darly O’Toole on 044 9332170 or email him at studentc&
Race League
Next Thursday we are back in Dysart for round 5 of our summer race league which is  also a Midland league event. Please see emails from race league organiser, Mark Horohoe for updates re results to date. As a novel attempt to include all members and all abilities we are holding a fun race for all our over 60’s members prior the the main race at 6pm. Arthur Dempsey has been busy in recent weeks cajoling and whipping up a frenzy of excitement for this big race and rumour has it there will be serious competition for the inaugural running of this event, so please come out and support. Even if you never attend the summer league this is an ideal opportunity to see what we are all about and you never know you might be pleasantly surprised. There are three more stages after this Thursday so it’s never too late to give it a go. Plans are afoot for an end of race league BBQ in Dysart on August 11th so once again, watch this space for more details.

FBD insurance RAS
What an achievement for our own Stuart Cox to have competed in and completed the FBD Ras this year. As mentioned in recent weeks the Ras is a marathon 8 day race around Ireland with some of Europe’s top professional teams taking part. Stuart assisted the Meath based Stamullen team for this event and gave a fabulous account of himself by finishing each gruelling stage, and in so doing becoming the first Lakeside Wheeler to achieve this honour. Well done “Stuey” and hopefully this will inspire more Wheelers to consider giving Ireland’s premier road race a go in the future.

Spring Spin
Pairic Devine has just been in touch and asked me to inform you that the final amount raised on this year’s cycle was a whopping forty two thousand euro. He was adamant that this would not be possible without the huge input and support from Lakeside Wheelers members, so on behalf of the organising committee he sends thanks and said you are all to take a bow.

Very Important Notice
As mentioned above we are hosting a reception on June 20th for three Cycling Ireland members who are doing a Round Ireland cycling challenge for National Bike Week. Lakeside Wheelers are in the process of arranging this reception and to ensure it gets as much support as possible the committee decided to change the timing of the morning spin and instead go out in the afternoon to meet up with the Cycling Ireland team. We hope you will agree with this decision and support it if you can. So please remember, NO spin from ORS on the morning of Sunday June 20th.  We will be in touch by text and via next week’s notes with final arrangements for this event.

Junior news
Our youth officer, Michelle Culligan has informed me that such was the success of the Saturday morning training for the juniors it has been extended for another 8 weeks to accommodate the demand from these young guns. As usual these spins need to be marshalled by some of our more senior members so please give Michelle a shout if you are free to give a hand any Saturday morning from 9am to midday.

Unfortunately we must once again end our weekly notes on a sad note. The club sends it’s condolences to our social officer, Adrian Murphy and his family on the recent death of his father Kieran. May he rest in peace.
Kevin Monaghan,
8 Jun 2010, 02:17