VCI : The Competitive Edge

The VC Iveagh guys are certainly on a high with some great results in recent weeks and this past weekend was no exception. The local road racing scene is now well and truly underway with VC Iveagh competing in most of the scheduled races. To add another string to our collective bow, we now have quite a few talented duathlon athletes and they have just kicked off their season. We have full race reports from most of the guys and each in turn give a fascinating in-sight into their respective events. Read more about all the guys’ races below:


Dan Gordon : Clann Eireann Cup
St. Patricks day for me this year was all about the Clann Eireann cup held in Derrymacash just outside Lurgan.  With the race being limited to A3 only it provided a more relaxed attitude to the racing. With a small field it meant that if a group got away it would be hard to pull back, but it also meant that everything would generally be chased down.

The race got underway and I decided to hit out from the gun just for a bit of fun, but it was clear the bunch where having none of it, the first half of the race was basically flat out attacking which certainly withered down the already small field. I managed to get in a few breaks but nothing seemed to be sticking. I began to think that the race would end in a bunch sprint, so my plan was to sit in the bunch and wait, however on the 5 or 6th lap a group of 8 got away, I thought they would be pulled back, but sadly no one seemed to want to work.

On the last lap about 4 of us working tirelessly on the front we pulled the break to within 25-30 seconds, but couldn’t reel them back in. I wasn’t sure whether there was points for top ten but with the legs feeling good I thought I’d try and take the bunch sprint, which I did pretty comfortably finishing in 9th place.

Overall it was a good race with lots of attacking, and I was glad to get the first points of the year. Hopefully over the next few races I can continue to climb the positions and gather up a few more points. Next race for me is the Ciclisport GP in April so the plan will be to get another two big weeks of training before that.


Neil Seffen : Lucan GP
This was an A3 only race and on a relatively flat course, it was always going to be a fast one with riders trying to get up the road and away from the bunch. Headwinds were the order of the day, with what seemed to be a headwind around every corner! The first couple of attacks were pulled back before a group of roughly 15 riders finally managed to develop a gap of around 300 meters. This was the case for the remaining 2 laps with the main peloton content to let the breakaway sit out in front, forcing the race commissionaire to pull the A2’s over and allow the A3’s to charge on.

The final kilometer saw an all or nothing effort by the peloton which resulted in the tail-end of the breakaway group being caught on the line, however junior rider Harvey Banes of East Tyrone had jumped off the front of the break to win. I finished comfortably at the front of the bunch but disappointed I missed the break that stuck.


Mark Johnston : Lucan GP
Having not raced from the John Moore memorial on the 27th of February I was eager to keep going and after missing out on a few entry central races Neil and myself decided to head south to the Lucan GP, there is no rider limit in southern races so no need for online entry just turn up sign on and race.

It was a rolling start behind the lead car because the marshals needed to control the speed down a steep hill which wasn’t part of the course, the start was a narrow road which then widened up onto mains roads, once on the main roads I could get moved up but being such a large group it was difficult and found myself towards the back in no time, I found it near impossible to move up the group on the narrow roads with a lot of people trying it on the other side with the chance of on coming cars I just sat in and played it safe it also gave me a little time to recover, when the corners came I could get the power down and move up, final lap the pace picked up a lot and on the final 300 meters I got dropped which played in my favor as there was a few riders came down very hard a few metres in front of me, I stopped and moved some bikes off the main road, lucky enough an ambulance had be following and was helping riders in seconds, I wasn’t sure which club it was but I hope the guys weren’t to badly hurt.

All in all a well marshaled event and a good day for me with more race miles in the legs


Mervyn McKeown : Carn Wheelers Classic
Sunday 20th March saw the Master League move to Maghera and the Carn Wheelers Classic, two laps of the 14 mile rolling circuit. Having arrived early I drove round the course as this was to be my first time competing in this race, all seemed good with a few climbs but nothing that appeared too extreme. Too busy talking near the start I completely missed the ready steady go which aided by a tail wind saw a brisk peace as the riders made their way towards Knockcloghrim and its picturesque tree lined avenue. The first real climb saw a two man break develop a gap of 100 metres which was rained in as the group made its way through Knockclogrim. On the run in towards Bellaghy for the first time I joined a four man break away which again was reeled in a few miles down the road. The pace back towards Maghera eased a little giving everyone time to catch their breath.

The start of the second lap saw a quick acceleration out of the first corner before settling into a stead peace towards the main climb before Knockcloghrim which again saw a number of attacks which continued towards Bellaghy. through Bellaghy and I’m starting to think about the finish to the point I have myself convinced we are on the final run in towards Maghera before I realise its the round about at Gulladuff, a few miles ahead of myself. Back on track the bunch slows to a comfortable 20 odd mph and into the last few miles of the race, plenty of jockeying for position but suddenly the last turn right towards the finish line is in sight. The pace increased before the turn and continued towards the finish. I made to move up on the outside and succeeded for a while before losing ground to riders around me. The sprint for the finish was on and I found myself too far back to ever get involved, accepting I was finishing with the main group events suddenly reminded me you can not afford to switch off until you finish. A rider just in front of me lost control of their bike and came off, thankfully I was able to move right and avoid colliding with the rider or his bike. The race winner was by Brian O’Kane of the Square Wheelers, second was Neil McCartan of Powerhouse and third was Alan Roper of Phoenix CC.


Simon Keery : SERE duathlon
On Sunday, Myself, Johnny (Junior) & Stephen (Steece) raced the Lisburn Triathlon Club “SERE duathlon” based at the Down Royal, Maze.  Conditions were near race perfect on arrival with the sun having made a brief appearance and light winds albeit still a bit chilly.  The format was a 2 mile run round the race course then a 10 TT mile bike leg on open roads in and around the Maze and skirting Moira before a second 2 mile run at the race course.

The two lads with me having only joined the Club earlier in the week are both from running backgrounds and after sign-on and transition set-up this was plain to see from the off in the first run.   I soon found my rhythm and with it slowly loosing places to the quick folk around me, Junior & Steece among them.

Run one complete, nearly 15 minutes gone and through transition I was in my comfort zone on my bike.  I felt good and moved well through the field passing my two club mates on the road I gave a shout of encouragement to them both.  I was second fastest bike split on the day so made up a fair bit of time on the fast paced runners which was really pleasing.

Back to the race course, through transition 2 and on the plod to the finish line.  This was a real effort having gone quite deep on the bike but managed to complete it and was chuffed to see my finish time was under the hour.

Junior and Steece were very much leisure cyclists and had never turned a pedal in anger prior to the duathlon.  Although they recorded great running times, their bike splits are a credit to them averaging a healthy 19mph each.  These are great markers set for us all and we look forward to the next one to try and improve.

Simon      (Run1) 14’32 : (T1) 01’43 : (Bike) 27’04 : (T2) 01’14 : (Run2) 15’05 : (Total) 0’59″36
Stephen  (Run1) 12’22 : (T1) 01’25 : (Bike) 33’13 : (T2) 01’10 : (Run2) 13’05 : (Total) 1’01″13
Johnny    (Run1) 13’50 : (T1) 01’20 : (Bike) 33’58 : (T2) 00’54 : (Run2) 15’08 : (Total) 1’05″09

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