Fantastic Result For Watergrasshill Cyclists - by: Denis Dineen
Four cyclists from the Watergrasshill based 'Over The Hill Cycling Club' finished second in what organisers described as one of the toughest cycling events in the World, the 2172km, (1357.5 miles) Race Around Ireland which incorporates over 75000 ft. of climbing and which took place this year starting in Co. Meath on 9th Sept.
It was a stunning achievement by the club which was only formed in 2011. They beat all but one team from the UK, Strategic Lions, who are a semi-professional team consisting of ex professional cyclists who can avail of huge sponsorship and financial backing.
The Watergrasshill cyclists competing were Des Ryan, Mick O'Leary, Donal Scannell and Brendan Coakley putting in enormous efforts in training for this event during the course of 2012. The gruelling training schedule that they put themselves through paid dividends when they crossed the finish line in Navan at 1.49am on the 15th of September to claim second place in a time of 78 hours and 16 minutes having clocked an average speed of 28.01 km per hour.
The race started outside the splendid Trim Castle, Co Meath at 7.33pm on the previous Sunday evening, September 9th, and they raced relentlessly 24 hours a day from then until they finished. They took turns to race with two racers out and two in campervans moving ahead. The two out took turns on the road for six hours, one racer always on the road, and then swapped over with the other two for the next six hours.
The Strategic Lions team who finished first consisted of a three time RAS stage winner, a double British road race champion and also the current British 100 mile time trial record holder. They are the current UK time trial champions and they set out to break the record for this event which they did, coming home in a time of just over 66 hours. As Des Ryan put it "...to come second behind them was a super achievement".
The Over The Hill team were managed by Aidan O'Brien and aided by a support team of 11 and in the process they also helped to raise a considerable amount of money for their chosen charity, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland. A second Cork club from Youghal also competed in the event, coming home in a time of 83 hours,35 minutes, while an eight man team, Sunflower Pedal Power came in next to the Watergrasshill club in a time of 80 hours, 24 min.
The race itself, run in association with the Navan Road Club, is part of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association World Cup which includes huge endurance tests such as the Race Across America and it is designed to be one of the most gruelling bike races in the world. It attracted cyclists from nine different countries and in fact the Race Around Ireland is the second highest ranked race in the Ultra Marathon Cycle Association World Cup after the Race Across America, making it the most gruelling endurance cycle in Europe.
This makes the achievement of the four Watergrasshill cyclists all the more remarkable for amature cyclists who only formed a club last year and the whole community is rightly proud of their fantastic effort, the enormity of which is only now being fully appreciated. It has also undoubtedly made all of the cycling world sit up and take notice now of the 'Over The Hill Cycling Club' from Watergrasshill.top...
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