FOUR Cuchulainn CC riders travelled to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in Belfast last Sunday week to compete in round four of the Irish XC NPS Series.
The weather was an unusually tropical and sunny 16 degrees which was very welcome not only for the riders but the hordes of spectators also.
The course was almost the same as the 2012 layout, a fast 5km lap with kicker climbs, fast descents, fire roads and rolling grassy meadows - a real mix of everything.
Sandra O'Hagan was the first of the Cuchulainns to race, in the S3 Women category.
Her main rival on the day would be Lisa Millar from Dromara CC and Sandra and Lisa battled it out over the two-lap race.
Only a slight lapse of concentration on the second lap caused Sandra to lose the back wheel of Lisa, allowing her to pull away and take the win, with Sandra coming in second, ahead of Una May.
The remaining Cuchulainns - Gary Sheils, Fergus McCann and Michael Wilson - were racing in S2 and S3 respectively.
With the larger number of racers taking part in the S2 and S3 categories the sprint to the first corner was important as this course narrowed very quickly in the forested area, making it harder to carry out any overtaking during that section.
Unfortunately, the race didn't go according to plan for Fergus and Gary as Fergus was forced to retire after the first lap due to a mechanical problem and Gary had to pull into the Tech Zone after lap 1 to tighten his seat post which had dropped.
Meanwhile, Michael was having his own battle with Leo and his vast supporters club from IMBRC.
With all racing done Gary Sheils took 13th place in S2 (top half of the field) and Michael Wilson took 14th place in S3 (top third of the field).