All posts by Aine O Donnell

Ten hour mountain bike race for Glenarm in Antrim

Northern Irish mountain bikers will have their endurance tested in a ten hour race taking place in Glenarm, Co. Antrim as part of the Dalriada Festival on July 23.

The event, known as “10 in the Glen”, involves solo mountain bike riders or teams competing to complete as many laps of a 6km loop as they can in ten hours. While similar events have taken place in England, Scotland and Wales, this is the first race of this scale in Northern Ireland.

The course in Glenarm consists of sections of single speed track, gravel trails and forest runs, suitable for both novice and intermediate mountain bikers. Each team and solo rider will be designated a pit area along the race track for making repairs and resting up between laps.

Ian Cumming, Director of 26 Extreme, a company that runs outdoor events, is managing the race on behalf of the Dalriada Festival. He explained that while events like these are usually “slow to get going”, spaces for the competition are already a quarter full over three months out from race day.

He confirmed that the race will be part of the finale for the Dalriada Festival. He added: “Along with fireworks planned to close the festival, the final few laps should add to the party atmosphere”.

Depending on the success of this year’s event, Mr Cumming is planning to run the ten hour race annually in Glenarm. He is also considering organising similar events in other locations in the province to take place more frequently.

Kevin Purcell, member of Coventry Road Cycling Club, will be travelling from England to compete in the race as part of a team. Mr Purcell, originally from Donegal, was delighted that such an event was being held in Ulster. He said: “We are lucky in Ulster to have such great trails for mountain biking and it is about time a competition like this was organised”.

For more information about the race including entry forms, log on to www.26extreme.com.

Review: Girls

Last week’s double episode finale of Girls saw the HBO comedy’s fifth and penultimate season draw to a triumphant close. The series had suffered from a sophomore slump with season three and four missing the brash and sharp comedic mark of the opening two offerings.

Girls is the brainchild of New York native, Lena Dunham, and follows the semi autobiographical story of Hannah Horvath, also played by Dunham, and her three female friends, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.

Hannah unabashedly asserts in the pilot “I may be the voice of my generation. Or, at least, the voice of a generation” and the series has strictly adhered to the satirical narrative of Gen Y otherwise known as millennials. All of the girls in the series are narcissistic, entitled and aimless: a caricature of what it is to be a millennial. The flawed characters and unapologetic brand of comedy led the show to critical acclaim for its refreshing honesty.

While the series, much like its characters, intermittently lost its way, the fifth season brought an assured maturity and a return to form. The highlight was “Panic in Central Park” which enfolds over an evening that Marnie (Allison Williams) spends with old flame Charlie (Christopher Abbott) after a chance encounter. The episode has the feel of a stand alone short film and has a distinctly different tone of sincerity without seeming disjointed or separate from the rest of the series.

The subsequent instalment, “Hello Kitty”, maintains the directorial momentum. It juxtaposes a dramatic performance of the murder of Kitty Genovese with Hannah’s realisation that her oldest friend Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke, is seeing her ex boyfriend, Adam (Adam Driver). The episode concludes with Hannah left as an onlooker in Adam and Jessa’s relationship, a clever ironic touch given the Kitty Genovese murder was notorious for the phenomenon known as the “bystander effect”.

The season ended with the girls no further forward in their respective careers or love lives but each had an air of assured determination and newly discovered confidence. Girls has matured into its prime ahead of next year’s final season and the girls who gave the series its name, are beginning to become women.