“Flakeanders” Deemed A Huge Success

Post date: Apr 02, 2012 9:31:19 PM

(By Shay O'Toole)

Flakeanders...?? OK, let me explain this new addition to the local cycling vocabulary. This weekend last year saw the biggest travelling group ever to depart these shores from Lakeside Wheelers, take to the start line of the famous Belgian spring classic, the Tour of Flanders. This is one of the major races on the professional cycling calendar and is a torture fest of hills and cobbled roads in the Flanders region located about an hour from Brussels.

To commemorate this trip Robbie Kenny put together a route involving as many hills, narrow roads and rough surfaces as he could find within a 20 mile radius of Mullingar, leading to the Lakeside Wheelers version of the Belgian race and so, “Flakeanders” was born. With the plan being to cycle this 130km route and make it back in time to catch the second half of the Tour on Eurosport in Cafferys bar we had to set off a little earlier than usual. So, after some initial confusion, and yes, we hold our hands up (after all Fine Gael can mess up the household charge and they are supposed to be professionals) but this year is part of a learning curve. Not knowing what to expect, we were delighted first of all with the gloriously sunny morning that greeted us but more so with the huge numbers that had turned up to try out this new Wheelers event. From the outset it was clear that the numbers were too big to tackle the route as one group however, we did ride en masse to Loughegar School where we split into three groups.

From an A group perspective the pace from the start was fairly hectic and with the hills coming thick and fast through Clonkill, Whitehall, Crookedwood and Multyfarnham there was plenty of heaving and lactate filled legs. However with everybody showing good fitness levels the peloton managed to stay together as we swung out on the N4 heading for more pain over Bunbrosna, Laragh Hill and Skeagh Hill. By the time we reached Castletown and with 50 miles in the bag a call was made to slice a little off the intended route to enable us make the finish of the pro race so we turned left at Ballinagore and headed for home. This had the counter effect of driving the speed dial well into the red zone and before we reached Dalystown there was a breakaway of 9 riders. The dog fight had begun in earnest and finished at the pre nominated white line outside Belvedere with Mark Horohoe raising his hands to claim the inaugural “Flakanders” cup.

Well done to all who took part and especially to Robbie for a fantastic route. T Make no mistake, we have the makings of a very enjoyable annual club day out in the “Flakeanders” idea and no doubt we will tweak it for 2013 to make it even better than this weekend’s maiden trip.

The following is a list of all A group prize winners on the day:

1st rider home..... Mark Horohoe

Polka Dot Jersey....Eoin Lynch

Best map reader.....Mickey Hynes

Best Domestique..... Colin Pierce’s wife (who we spotted mowing their lawn as we descended Laragh Hill)

Best Young rider.....Jack Nugent

Best attacking rider.....Clem Bartley

April fool of the day.....The B group (who thought the route went through Kilbeggan, Tyrellspass and Rochfortbridge)

Well Done Shay on a great report.

Group C Notes: 1st April

North Westmeath was the destination, having completed 100 k the week before we opted for an easy spin. It has been referred to in the past as a hilly 50, and that it was. As the group was quiet large leaving ORS, it was decided half way to Killucan to split the group in 2. Once we got to Raharney we swung a hard left after the granite pub,(don’t ask how I know the name of it). What was supposed to be an easy spin became pain. After multiple climbs lows and rises, we eventually reached the tea stop in Castlepollard. After a que for the kettle, and a quick chat with some old friends (second week meeting the same old friends) two routes home where discussed and offered up. One group headed towards Coole, Multy and that pig of a hill, the other group returned to Mullingar via a collection of Piggery type hills. All safe home, no issues 50 miles on the clock with an average of 16.5 mph. Well done to all.

Shay O'Toole & Jack Nugent on the Ballinacargy "Coppenberg" aka Laragh Hill