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Ulster Cyclo-Cross - 2012/2013 Season

Date: Sunday 6 October 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 1
Location: Lurgan Park
Host club: Apollo CT

The first round of the 2013 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place on Sunday 6 October at Lurgan Park.  The weather was overcast with a strong breeze but it was warm and the park, magnificent in autumn colours, was busy with walkers as well as cyclists.  The crew from Apollo CT and the local park staff were on site from 7 am laying out the course which covered a wide expanse of the park.  The conditions were good, despite having rain for four days up to Thursday, the dry, warm weather on Friday and Saturday had left the course running well.  Sign on opened at 9:30 and it wasn't long before the first participants arrived to sign on.  At 10:30 the first of the races took place with the Under 6s fun race which was one lap around the tennis courts with parents running behind.  At 10:45 the Under 8s race set off.  New for 2013 was the introduction of a short skill section for the Under 8s, 10s and 12s which was a dismount area where the young riders had to jump off their bikes, push the bikes through the obstacles and then remount their bikes to carry on.  This proved a great success and showcased the great skills of the youth.

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Date: Sunday 13 October 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 2
Location: Lady Dixon Park, Belfast
Host club: Phoenix CC

Lady Dixon Park again proved its popularity among riders with a great showing of young and not so young taking part in the cyclo-cross race and support races.  The sun was shining, it felt more like August than October and the park was looking magnificent.  Local club Phoenix CC were on site from 6:30 am setting out the course which took in a great swathe of the grass area and the trees towards the upper end of the park.  The club wish to thank Belfast City Council and the local park staff for their continued support.  There was a full schedule of races for Round 2 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series from the Under 6s through to the Under 16s, a mountain bike support race and two separate cyclo-cross race times.  

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Date: Sunday 20 October 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 3
Location: Windmill Park, Dungannon
Host club: Island Wheelers

It was a return to Windmill Park in Dungannon for Round 3 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series and it was Island Wheelers second time hosting a CX race at this venue.  The event last year was held in January and was a very muddy course but the organisers took on board some feedback and produced a more flowing and fun course this time.  The open grass area was laid out again as before with the start line for all events now set in the wide open middle section.  This meant that there were almost 20 riders across the front line all heading down for the first sweeping left hand bend, which then followed the slippery right hander past the finish line.  

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Date: Sunday 27 October 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 4
Location: Castle Park, Bangor
Host club: North Down CC

Round 4 of the 2013 Ulster Cyclo-cross series took place at Castle Park in Bangor beside the new Aurora 50 metre swimming complex.  The park has not been used for cycling events for a few years now but prior to that it has seen a great history of cycling events hosted by both North Down Cycling Club and Xmtb CC.  Sign on and changing facilities were available in the Aurora centre with the racing happening on the banked grass area and forest behind the walled garden.  The organisers were on site from early morning setting up the course but they were greatly hindered by the strong winds that were whipping across the open grass and football pitches.  

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Date: Sunday 3 November 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 5
Location: Moira Demesne, Moira
Host club: Dromara CC

Moira Park was looking picturesque bathed in autumn sunshine on the first Sunday in November for Round 5 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series.  Event organisers from Dromara Cycling Club had been soaked by heavy rain the day before when they were doing their first day of set up, but were thankful to be squinting into the early morning sunshine when they were out putting out the rest of the posts and tape around the park on Sunday.  The club would like to thank Lisburn City Council for the use of the park, changing facilities, bike wash and pedestrian barriers.  This was the third year that the club have used the park and this year the course designers had reversed the direction of the race, built some steps for the cyclo-cross riders and added in a spectator friendly feature called "the hammerhead".  

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Date: Sunday 17 November 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 6
Location: Ormeau Park, Belfast
Host club: Xmtb McConvey Cycles

Up until 8am on Sunday 17 November 2013, Ormeau Park was a dry and fast flowing cyclo-cross course.  By 9am, as the host club Xmtb McConvey Cycles were still setting up, the rain came on.  The dry course soon became a very different course, with surface mud, deep mud, exposed roots and expanding water features.  This was Round 6 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series and only the second wet race (Windmill Park in Dungannon was the other one).  Pre-registrations were high but with the turn in the weather it was difficult to predict how many would turn up, but they did, with approximately 240 taking part, just over 100 in the youth categories.  

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Date: Sunday 1 December 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 7
Location: Seacourt, Larne
Host club: Team Madigan

Seacourt Community Centre on the outskirts of Larne was the setting for Round 7 of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series.  Host club Team Madigan has used this venue since 2010 and it is easy to see why as it boasts a large venue hall, kitchen and showers as well as an expansive grass area that is undisturbed by other users.  The weather was fine, dry with hardly a breeze, similar to the event held here last year.  This location is high up on the coast line and offers great views of the lough with the boats coming in and out. 

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Date: Sunday 15 December 2013
Event: Ulster Cyclo-cross Round 8 - Ulster Cyclo-cross championships
Location: Drum Manor Forest, Cookstown
Host club: Carn Wheelers

Carn Wheelers played host to the 8th and final round of the Ulster Cyclo-cross series, which also doubled up as the Ulster Cyclo-cross championships 2013, at Drum Manor Forest outside of Cookstown.  This was the second year that the club had used this site and they had reshaped the course to make it shorter, faster and more flowing than the previous year.  There was strong winds on race day morning with occasional showers and a cold chill in the air.  The host club had the course well prepared and the first of the riders started to appear at 9:30am.  Racing began at 10:30 with the support races for youth, with the Under 6s starting the day off.  The club had set up the youth circuits within the event field in clear view of the spectators as well as having the young riders cycle up the fire road where they were cheered on by the crowd.  

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