THE well-worn sporting cliche ‘no pain no gain’ is certainly something Caldwell Cycles competitor Darnell Moore can readily identify with given his recent travails and triumphs in the saddle.
Making his debut in the prestigious eight-day An Post Ras event which began at Dublin Castle and 1,235km later finished in Skerries at the end of last month, Moore crashed no fewer than three times.
Riding for the North Down team, the gifted teenager twice took a tumble on Stage One which finished in Multyfarnham and on day three again hit the tarmac between Charleville and Dingle following a freak mechanical failure.
Despite being badly battered and bruised, the 19-year-old demonstrated he is made of stern stuff and in Friday’s Stage Six he was the first county rider to cross the finish line having raced some 159 kilometres from Clonakilty to Dungarvan.
In spite of the many up and downs, Moore insisted his first appearance at the Ras had been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
“I was badly beat up and bruised but I got top county rider on the Friday,” said the young Caldwell’s rider.
“I had so many cuts and bruises that I was lucky still to be riding.
“It was certainly eventful for my first one (Ras), so I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it in a hurry.
“I was feeling the pain alright immediately after the crashes but then you get to a stage where you don’t really care about it.”
On Tuesday evening a determined Moore was back in the saddle as he and a number of Omagh Wheelers competed in Derry’s Maiden City CRIT which takes riders up and over the notorious Shipquay Street.
After a number of laps Moore was out in front with the Wheelers pair of Gary Donaldson and Angus Fyffe, the defending champion, and race favourite Chris McGlinchey from Belfast.
On the final lap Moore broke away and, despite being chased to the line by McGlinchey, held on to win the coveted crown for a second time, having previously triumphed in 2014.
It had been a painful experience of a different kind but nonetheless had been worth straining every sinew on what was a gruelling course.
“Quite a few strong riders were taking part in it and it was nice to win it again,” continued Moore.
“You go up Shipquay Street every lap and you usually take quite a kicking. It’s a steep street.
“But it was enjoyable at the same time. The race lasts about 40 minutes but it’s harder than a road race of say three hours. It’s flat out all the time but the course suits me. It’s important to keep the power going on the hills.
“The other night there was only four of us left battling it out. It was cat and mouse for much of the way, a few of us tried to get away but nothing was sticking.
“I got away on the last lap coming down off a wee twisty descent. I got a bit of a gap and kept going to the finish.
“I just had enough left to hold off McGlinchey in the end.”
Next up for the Pat Kirk Ltd employee is the All Ireland National Championship which last year were hosted in Omagh for the first time.
The 2016 championships are based in Kilcullen, Co Kildare between June 23-26.
THE annual Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club SPAR Tour of Omagh 2015 takes places over the next three days.