Review courtesy of the Cycling Ulster principals, photos courtesy of http://www.richardhowesphotography.com with thanks
Last weekend saw the Cycling Ulster off-road riders tackle the Olympic Games course at Hadleigh Park overlooking the Thames estuary for round 2 of the British National mountain bike series. Some of the riders had been here before for the interregional games but quickly found that the full Olympic configuration track was a different beast altogether. Nevertheless, they got down to work on Saturday with Cycling Ulster coaches Gareth Mckee, Graham Boyd and Mark Harvey to work their way around the technical features during practice so that they had their riding dialled to perfection by the end of the day. Sunday morning saw four young riders in the 9 am races with Cycling Ulster represented by Dean Harvey and Ryan Skelly. Dean would go on to have one of his best races competing strongly in the front group to finish 7th at the flag. Ryan made his debut for the team to record a 29th place finish. No mean achievement in such a large field of riders. Travis Harkness riding for his Carn Wheelers club scored his best result with a fighting 9th place in U14 boys with VC Glendale rider Aine Doherty continued her strong start to her debut season in 5th place in U14 girls.
Next up were the junior women with Niamh McKiverigan and Darcey Harkness taking to the start line in Cycling Ulster colours.
Both would have great races, Niamh was to race to her first podium position in this UCI category race. An achievement all the more impressive when considering that she had broken and dislocated her finger during practice the day before. Niamh refused to go to the hospital, instead of having her finger put straight back into place in the back of an ambulance in order that she wouldn’t be ruled out of the race.
Following close behind was Darcey in 6th position, a great ride for this first year junior and a credit to the amount of work she put in on the Saturday during practice to ensure that she could race down the A-line sections on the course.