The Lakeland Cycling Club virtual league continued at 7.30pm last Wednesday night via the Zwift platforms Hares and Hounds race.

Once again approximately 70 riders took to the start line in this ‘staggered start’ race with eight Lakeland men among their numbers. Kieran McGrory had been the highest placed Lakeland rider the previous week starting out of the B group and so started again as favourite, however with four Lakeland men in the A group there was a determination to catch them.

Conor Sprice, Kyle Fisher, Seamus McGovern and Nigel Foster were indeed the main pacesetters amongst the A’s and worked hard throughout. In the group ahead Kieran McGrory, Paul Beaumont, Chris Kelly and Kieran Byrne were all in the front group of B’s for the first lap.

The pace was high and first Byrne and then Kelly dropped off the back leaving McGrory and Beaumont to fight it out with the leading group which had caught all the C’s and D’s by the middle of the third lap of four.

Behind, Sprice, McGovern and Fisher were setting a ferocious pace catching and dropping the tailenders from the other groups. Despite their efforts they just couldn’t quite bridge over to this very strong group of B riders and once again had to fight it out for minor placings.

In the front group Kieran McGrory was once again the first Lakeland man home within a group of about 16 and sprinting to seventh overall. Paul Beaumont did his rankings in the league no harm, coming in as the second placed Lakeland man home, just 10 seconds later.

Although Conor Sprice and Kyle Fisher were the two highest placed A riders in the entire field they were still a good two minutes behind this B group. Seamus McGovern was also contained within this strong A grouping and he rounded off the top five placings.

Chris Kelly was the next man in with Gareth McCormick and Kieran Byrne completing the Lakeland results on the night. Nigel Foster suffered yet again from connection issues and was unable to complete the race. His internet issues have seriously hampered his league standings.

The league standings are as follows and the top of the table is getting crowded.

1.Conor Sprice 46

2. Kieran McGrory 41

3. Kyle Fisher 40

4. Paul Beaumont 33

5. Mark McGirr 30

6. Gareth McCormick 27

7. Philip Bremner 26

8. Ronan Campbell 17

9. Seamus McGovern 15

Chris Kelly 15

11. Nigel Foster 14

12. Lee Somerville 12

13. Paul McMulkin 8

14. Kieran Byrne 3

Cycling Ireland Virtual League

The National Cycling Ireland Virtual Cycling League continued on Saturday morning with another large field tackling a very tough 48km route containing some of Zwift’s toughest climbs.

The longer distance, combined with the very hilly circuit seems to have reduced the participation levels and within the Lakeland Club other commitments had also reduced their numbers.

There was still some 700 riders taking to the start line but just three Lakeland men amongst them. Conor Sprice was the first of these home and this was after a glitchy internet connection delayed him on the descent of the last climb.

For a change, Nigel Foster had no such issues and enjoyed a great day in the saddle coming in just behind, both completing the course in 1hr 19mins. Kieran McGrory was the only other Lakeland man competing in the B race and came home in the top 25 and continues to enjoy the virtual racing programme. The racing scene continues with another highly competitive Hares and Hounds race scheduled for Wednesday.

Recent speculation suggests that cycling may be one of the first sports allowed to return to some form of competitive action. Following the popularity of highly competitive virtual racing, the Club will be able to complete a truncated road racing league as the year progresses.

We would encourage anyone who wishes to compete to dust down the wheels and get back out on the road for solo rides.

Also, if as a field sport enthusiast you find there isn’t an outlet for your competitive edge and would like to try road racing then please contact the club through the Facebook page for advice on how to participate and prepare.