First KCC member to enter M50 Open Race

Barry Liddell – First Road Race (off many we hope)

John Haldane Memorial 28th February 2016

Having reached maturity ( some may disagree with this!) and being able to race in the Masters (M50 Category ) I finally decided to finally give open road racing a go , after upgrading to a Limited Competition license I targeted the John Haldane Memorial race hosted by Newry Wheelers on 28-2-2015
I viewed this as the ideal introduction to racing as its short – 3 no 9mile laps of the flat, reasonably surfaced dual carriageway between Newry and Warrenpoint.
After booking on line with a week to go I kept an eye on the entrants list on Entry Central, I was surprised to see that at that stage there was only 9 entrants although this rose to 28 on Thursday 25th which was the cut-off date for on line entries.
Race Preparation was taken very seriously, Wednesday night club run took us on a lap of Belfast’s finest locations and barring a few punctures was incident free, Friday night meal with friends started the carb loading – well Guinness is a carbohydrate!
Saturday afternoon saw the England versus Ireland rugby match and the temptation of more carbs restricted as I had big plans for a Chinese that night (If it’s good enough for Andy McCullough its good enough for me!)
Race morning came round way to quickly and I left bright and early to get to Newry for 8-30 sign on, driving down saw temperatures sitting at minus two degrees – it was going to be a cold one!
After signing on I met Paul Crossen who gave me a few tips and I went out for a gentle spin to get the legs stretched,
9-45am saw the entrants leaving the sign on area at the leisure centre to the race start area , where the races were going off A1& A2 first , A3 , A4 then Masters and ladies race together.
10.00 am saw the first race away, followed by the second and third races leaving a group of around 50-60 for my race – obviously a lot of late sign on entries.
Race started at what I thought was a pretty reasonable pace, and carried on like this for the second lap – a few solo break always but they were soon pulled in by the group and continued as such until we came back into Newry and got the last lap sign.
Notable increase in pace and I thought, great this is where it gets interesting! Good pace to the roundabout in Warrenpoint ( half a lap to go) and once we got safely round it the pace increased again before slowing slightly again with about 2 miles to go , at this stage I got into the leading bunch and got tucked in behind a few fast riders, things then started to really happen and with about 200m to go I decided to go for it – at the same time riders came from nowhere and I got trapped and lost a bit of momentum before crossing the line in roughly 11th or 12th place ( hard to tell with mayhem around you!)
All in all a great days crack , next up first attempt at a 10 mile TT , then who knows maybe venture over to the dark side and have a go at a mountain bike race!!

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