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Cyclocross Racing Comes to Mullingar

posted 2 Dec 2014, 06:32 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 7 Dec 2014, 12:27 ]
(By Steven Franzoni - Sun. 30th November)   

Is this the start of something great?  Remember November 30th because this was the start of the Lakeside Wheelers off-road agenda. On Sunday cyclocross racing came to Mullingar, namely, St. Lomans GAA grounds at Lakepoint Park. Stealing a tried and tested format from Dublin and the North, the Wheelers put on a mixed kids and adults event in great style.

https://plus.google.com/photos/109023924508564049182/albums/6088754406580906625
Cyclocross racing is a short race event taking place in parks and fields. It started life in Europe, as a winter sport and finance generator for cycling pros in their off season. This style of racing can attract sixty thousands followers in Belgium or Holland, and is very much a spectator friendly sport. The racing takes place on short laps and can include obstacles such as steps,, sand or boards to make you dismount and run. Racers in Europe have hero status and fan clubs who follow them to every race.

Back to Mullingar, what we lacked in drunk Belgium supporters waving huge flags, we made up for in family and friends who came out in great numbers to support all the racers. 

The day started early for the organisers. The tapping and electric post epic, involving nearly a three kilometres of workman's tape, started at ten o'clock. As usual with all Wheelers events, a huge number of members where on hand and made light work of the big task. The end result was a very confusing, imagine a complicated maze like set up, of grass and gravel routes zigzagging its way around the great St. Loman's venue. There are too many helpers names to list but we all, as usual appreciate your help. Not sure what Peter Rimmer's excuse for turning up so late is, as he lives only one hundred meters away, guess I really should have text him though.

The under age races started at one o'clock, on a shortened twisty track that would later make up part of the adults race. Races catered for under six, under eights, under tens, and under twelve's. An extension of the clubs popular Summer Sprocket Rocket program. These races passed without incident and all were smiles at the finish as the medals were handed out. Families were out in their droves to support and special thanks should go Westmeath Sports Partnership for the medals and help.

The adults and under fourteen races were next up, on an extended lap taking in most of the grounds in one way or another, dizzyingly so at some points. Thirty riders signed on, a little lower than was expected. I did notice a large amount of spectators who I would have thought would be racing. Not sure whether it is the fear of the hardship or the unknown that kept them off their bikes. Hopefully next time we can tease or tempt you guys out for a bit of fun.

Racing lasted for forty five minutes and I can confidently say it was as expected pure hardship! Stuart Cox put in a huge effort to take the win and is showing some great cyclocross form this year. As for the rest of use we all soldiered on trying to avoid being lapped. I found the battle to keep down the copious cups of coffee and slices of cake nearly as hard as the race. The battle between Peter Rimmer and Billy Cunnane was great sport to watch as I raced on. Not sure Billy can avoid the follow mentality from his years of road racing. Wherever you looked around the course participants seemed to be enjoying themselves. This always seems to be the case with this style of bike racing.

So to the inevitable thank you section. So many people helped out and thanks to you all. Bell Lane Coffee lent some equipment to enable us to put their great coffee on all day. Maybe I over indulged a little because three hours later I am still buzzing. Rodney Martin from St. Loman's was very obliging over the last few weeks with the exceptional venue. Well done to all who attended. Look out for dates for round two soon.
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