Countdown to the new cycle racing season.

05 February 2014
The build up to the 2014 cycle racing season continued last weekend with reliability trial events at Coalisland and Carrickfergus.
East Antrim had a "coast and country” route which started from Carrickfergus castle; they used a course which, in places, was similar to last month’s Ballymena event, with distances of 50 and 65 miles. The best weather of the weekend was on enjoyed on Sunday with Saturday again being a complete washout.
This weekend the Phoenix Reliability Trial will take place on Sunday 9th February. The format will be an "A” run aiming for an average speed of 20-21mph, and a "B” run aiming at 17-18mph average speed.
Sign on will be held at the Queen’s "Sport at Malone” clubhouse where there are toilet and changing facilities. The entrance is situated approximately 100 metres past the House of Sport on the Upper Malone Rd. Sign-on is open from 9:15 with the A run leaving at 10:00 and the B run leaving shortly after. The sign-on fee is £5
Riders, who are intending to take part, should have already applied for their 2014 Cycling Ireland membership. Those who haven’t received their membership card are requested to login to their own page on the Cycling Ireland database and print off the licence status.
Season begins at Annaclone.
Two weeks later on Saturday 22nd February Banbridge cycling club will hold the first road race of the 2014 season, when the Annaclone Grand Prix handicapped road race takes place near Katesbridge, in the midst of Drumlin country.
The next day, Sunday 23rd February, Phoenix are in action again with their Phoenix GP road race at Crumlin. 
Pre-entry for this event will be via Entry central and will open at 7.00pm today Wednesday 5th Feb. The sign-on fee is £12 for everyone except juniors who pay £6.
Please note the new Sign-on location which will be at Crumlin Football Club from 9:30. The course will be the usual Nutt’s Corner > Seven Mile Straight > Long Rig Rd circuit finishing at the top lay-by. 
There will be five races: Women & over 50′s three laps 25 miles. A1 and A2 handicapped road race over six laps 50 miles. There will be a separate A3 race over 5 laps, 42 miles. The A4 riders will have a scratch race, 4 laps in distance, approximately 34 miles overall.
Spires cycling club have their Grand Prix at the Loup near Ballyronan on Saturday 1st March with the Newry wheelers John Haldane memorial road race at Newry on 2nd March.
Weekend three of the season sees Castlereagh cycling club promote their John Moore memorial road race at Carryduff on Saturday 8th March.
Dates for the new season.
Ballymena Road Club’s – Chain Reaction Cycles - two big open race promotions will both take place before Easter this incoming season.
First up is the "Blair International Transport” Red Hand Trophy which is scheduled for Saturday 15th March 2014. 
The Tour of Ards is on 22nd March, with the Tour of the Mournes on Sunday 6th April.
Next it’s the Road Club’s Wallace Caldwell memorial on 12th April, which comes just one week before the "resurrected” Tour of the North, which is due to be held over the Easter weekend. I’m not sure of the exact format of this year’s tour although I understand that it will be centred in the Ballymena area. The traditional starting day for the race is normally Good Friday (18th April) with the final stage on Easter Monday 21st April.
The road club will be hoping for better luck with these events than they had in 2013 when snow caused the postponement of the Caldwell race, the cancellation of the Tour of the North and then a late season date meant a poor entry and subsequent cancellation of the Red Hand Trophy.
The club have already held their first "open promotion” of the season when their annual reliability trial took place from Rex Bonar House on Sunday 19th January.
Ballymena Road Club’s membership has reached 116 so far in 2014.
Most of the cyclists who are currently taking part in the weekend club runs and reliability trials have now re-joined, but the few other existing Road Club members who have still to register should note that their Cycling Ireland memberships, insurance and race licences expired on 31st December.
Existing members may renew their licences etc. on line at the CI web site, where there is a facility in place to pay both their Cycling Ireland fee and also their Ballymena Road Club fee.