In a sign that CX is really taking off within the club, we have not one, not two, but three individual reports from the three races that took place last Sunday on Glencullen's greens. Breda Horan, Michael Hanley and Eric Downey all take us through their days: two of them scored 9th, and one a DNF - find out which below!

Breda Horan

Having not practised any CX skills all week, I arranged a short park session with Siobhan Duggan and Brianne Mulvihill for the Saturday. Fixx was to be their first race and as I had avoided using any of the mounting and dismounting skills in the DCCX race the week before, I was adamant I'd try for this race. Sio had been delayed collecting her new CX bike so we substituted Michael Hanley for her. A little less like the blind leading the blind, he gave us plenty of advice.

That morning in Glencullen, I met Brianne and we managed one and a half practice laps before calling it quits. Twice through the sand was enough before we joined the rest of the Orwell ladies huddled around Stephen O'Shea. At the start line I was trying to get sand out of the cleats and wondered how am I supposed to do this mid race?

Straight away all the obvious contenders were making their mark out front and I found myself surrounded by some familiar faces from last week's race. The first obstacle was a bunker which we had to run through followed by a gentle incline. Some girls choose to run this but I figured cycling would be the better option. This lead to a U-bend on a descent and we were straight into bunker number two. This seemed to be a popular spot for spectators, including the Orwell guys - John Blennerhassett, Luke GJ Potter, Barry Mooney - waiting on their B race, so no pressure. Thankfully I managed to pedal my way through without coming off. In the end I was happy with managing two out of four attempts.

Out into the next grassy section, I took one of the short descents far too fast and missed the right turn, resulting in me landing head first onto the grass and taking the course tape with me. Luckily the ambulance crew were nearby and came over straight away. They were then caught between directing the girls Sandra Telford and Naoise Sheridan behind me to stay on course and tending to me. Not feeling any dizziness or pain I quickly readjusted the hoods as they had bent in and sped off in an adrenaline rush. Not far from the finish line I noticed Fran Meehan having her bike looked at so I was very glad to still be racing.

Getting to the bunker on lap two I noticed a lot of pain in my right arm trying to lift the bike. Once it wasn't bothering me cycling I didn't mind. The next few laps I just tried to complete as best I could, keeping an eye on Monica Marconi and Orla Hendron out in front of me. No matter how close I ever thought I was to gaining some ground, they were gone again in the blink of an eye.

Another great racing experience and lots of lessons learned for the next one.

Horan tackles the treacherous bunkers of Glencullen on her way to 9th (photo thanks to Sean Rowe)


Michael Hanley

Fun and frollicking in the Phoenix park, that was my race preparation. In hindsight, I should probably have been doing something a little more structured for the last few weeks, but such is the nature of cyclocross that you can just turn up to a race and still have a bit of a laugh.

There was no laughing today.

I decided to cycle from home to the start in Glencullen, it was all uphill but my legs never really felt like they warmed up at all. A few cars with bikes passed me on the road up to Johnny Foxes (one of many that claims to be “Ireland's highest pub”) and I found myself wondering if feigning a mechanical would evoke a sympathetic lift up the rest of the hill. As it would transpire, I would not need to feign a mechanical later on to get a lift home.

The course itself was fantastic, a rolling loop over the golf course with some leg sapping uphills and fast, off-camber downhills. I joked with one of the starters that cycling was indeed the new golf as we carved up some impressive divots around the course. The organisers from Team WORC had decided to add some extra suffering: two sand bunkers that serve as hazards for wayward golf balls would now act as obstacles for the riders. The first one was uphill and had to be run through with bike slung over shoulder. The second was downhill into deeper sand. It's the closest I've come to storming the beaches of Normandy outside of “Medal of Honor”, made even more horrifying by the crowd of onlookers, camped overlooking the carnage below. The cheers and jeers sounding off like machine guns, taking riders out left, right and centre.

I came off on the first lap, but on the second I managed to find my groove. Literally. You needed to aim the bike for a rut in the sand and drop the front wheel into it. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” has never seemed so apt, as once that wheel is lodged in the rut you have no choice but to pedal hard and let the bike do its thing as it tries to buck and kick beneath you.

Unfortunately, the main hazard in the B race tends to be other riders, and as I made my way through the sand pit for the 4th time, a rider who had been up on the right lip of the bunker veered left, lost control and cycled into my back wheel. I tried to pedal but my cranks spun freely and when I looked down, I saw that I had done more than shipped my chain as the rear derailleur spun forward and knocked into the front one. I looked back, shook my head and got off the bike. Cries of “What's he doing? Get back on!” were fired off from the crowd and my assailant left me with a “sorry buddy” as he rode off.

Oh, another cyclocross tip? Sure! Don't race anything you can't afford to replace:

  • Broken rear derailleur
  • Mangled chain
  • 2 x snapped derailleur cables (no idea how the front one was damaged)
  • Snapped derailleur hanger
  • Buckled rear wheel

Thankfully, it's all Shimano 105 replacement parts, so the entire repair bill is half the price of a Dura Ace rear mech. You will fall in cyclocross, people will ride into you, dirt will clog and tear parts asunder and you will find that you will have to spend money. So if it's the choice between Tiagra and 105, or Ultegra and Dura Ace, make sure your pockets are deep enough to cover the inevitable replacements!

A CX fall - in this photo, the role of Mike Hanley is played by Luke Potter (photo thanks to Sean Rowe)


Eric Downey

Teeing off with scratch in the A race on the sloping fairways of Glencullen Golf Course were me, Philippe Bourdarias and Sean Murnane. I was on the 3rd row in the grid at the start, gridding being based on previous results. Our race was 7 laps.

The course was one of the hardest physically but also the most fun that I've done. I was knackered just recce'ing it beforehand! The lap was mainly uphill for the first half, with a bunker to be run up followed by an uphill remount. A tight downhill corner preceded the second bunker which was deep and downhill. A short, steep kicker which was just about rideable followed and then we were into a long fun swoopy downhill section. There was a final sharp uphill into the downhill run to the line.

I got a decent start, staying in the first 10 up the initial climb which meant a clear run through the sand. There were tons of Orwell out supporting at this point on the course, but the concentration required to ride through the sand meant they were heard and not seen! After that I just tried to maintain a good pace, passing one or two people who were fading later on, getting caught by a couple of others who had had bad starts.

A determined Downey on the way to 9th (photo thanks to Sean Rowe)


The Orwell women had an excellent day, with three members in the top ten, and Michelle Geoghegan also faring superb in the top five. We also had another four inside the top fifteen.

Eric Downey also managed to sneak inside the A top ten to nab 9th, an outstanding result against a top quality field.

The competition will be high for the forthcoming Club CX Champs, happening in Corkagh Park on 2nd January. Get that date and venue in your diary now!


Fixx Supercross Cup - Round 2, Glencullen (25/10/2015)

Women's Race
1 Beth McCluskey 34:28
2 Maeve O’Grady Cycleways 36:31
3 Caroline Murphy Epic MTB 37:06
4 Michelle Geoghegan u/\ 37:41
5 Mary Dawson Bray Wheelers 38:58
6 Hannah Ormesher DID Electrical Ladies 39:32
7 Monica Marconi Orwell Wheelers 40:33
8 Orla Hendron Orwell Wheelers 41:15
9 Breda Horan Orwell Wheelers 41:36
10 Natalie Grieve Sundrive Track Club 42:02

Men's A Race
1 Robin Seymour Team WORC 48:02
2 Paul O’Reilly Fixx Rouleurs 48:04
3 Gareth Hegarty Scott/DLCO 49:28
4 Sean Feeney Scott/DLCO 49:53
5 Anthony Doyle Strata3/VeloRevolution 49:55
6 Peter Buggle Rocky Mountain 50:01
7 David Vaughan Scott/DLCO 50:37
8 Ray O’Shaughnessy Cuchulainn CC 50:41
9 Eric Downey Orwell Wheelers 51:07
10 Niall Davis 51:23


Full results at


Fixx Supercross Cup 2015 Round 2 Glencullen from Fixx Supercross Cup on Vimeo.