Galway Baybes a team of four Galway based female amateur cyclists was launched last week in Salthill Galway. The team of riders will participate in the 2,150 km Ultra Marathon Cycling Event Race Around Ireland starting on Sunday 27th August 2017.
The team made up of Spiddal’s Brid Naughton, Moycullen’s Karen Cassidy, Donegal native (now based in Spiddal) Marie Boyle and Cork born, (Knocknacarra based) Joanne Murphy make up the team of four riders.
They will be the first Galway based female team of four to participate in the Race Around Ireland and only the fourth ever four person all female team to compete in the event in it’s 9 year history.
The Race Around Ireland has been described as one of the toughest cycling endurance events in the World, where solo riders can spend up to 22 hours per day in the saddle. Galway Baybes will share the 2,150km distance between them as they race around the country, each team member will complete approximately 550k during the event within the allocated total time of 93 hours.
The current 4 person female record was set in 2016 by a team from the UK however, Galway Baybes have this record in their sights and are aiming to break it. To set a new record they will need to complete the event in 90 hours or less, a challenge they are relishing as they rack up the training miles.
The team members have a host of experience across endurance racing. All four have completed a variety of long distance events across the sport of triathlon, swimming, running and cycling. Marie Boyle has previously represented Ireland as an elite cyclist. She is consistently in the top 3 in her age group across Duathlon & Triathlon races, holding her own in the cycling leagues with the A4 male cyclists locally and nationally.
Speaking about how they made a decision to enter the event, Joanne Murphy said ‘Karen Cassidy and I had watched the 2016 Race Around Ireland and were discussing how Lisa Jacob and Nicky Dorey (the first female pair to race in the event), had performed so well. Karen and I were both looking for a new endurance challenge, we have raced all distances across triathlon, completed long open water swims and a few marathons. The Race Around Ireland is a natural progression in terms of where we wanted our endurance racing to go so we put a team of four together for the event.‘
Speaking about her participation in the event Karen said ‘Not only are we pushing the boundaries of our own physical capacity, overall fitness and mental strength, we are using the platform of the team as an opportunity to promote women in sport and women in cycling. Through our participation in the Race Around Ireland we hope to encourage more females to take up cycling as a lifelong hobby, inspiring women to compete on the domestic and international circuit.’ Karen will also race in 2017 as a part of the recently formed Gerry McVeigh cars amateur racing team.
With the increased focus on the participation of women in sport in Ireland and the increase in numbers of women cycling across the country this is a great opportunity for us all to take part in a big sporting challenge whilst hopefully inspiring other females to get in the saddle said Bríd who has already racked up plenty of cycling miles on the Mizen to Malin Challenge, 32 Counties Challenge and is now also getting ready for the 6 Cities Challenge in July of this year.
They have recruited some excellent support around them with Nigel Forde of Nigel’s Cycles as Coach, Jonathan Gibson of the Athlete Clinic as Team Physio looking after testing and injury prevention. Sharon Madigan, Head of High Performance Nutrition at the Institute of Sport will manage the team’s nutrition as they prepare for the race. Team Manager Padraic Benson is a familiar face on the bike in Galway and across the country and will ensure the team of riders and support crew are ready for road come August 27th.
The team are relishing the opportunity to participate in the event and are seeking support from companies and businesses locally and nationally that would like to be associated with them as they prepare for the ultra cycling challenge later in the year.
For more information and to follow their progress, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @galwaybaybes