Salmon of Knowledge Festival to Play Host to World’s Best Ultracyclists
Paracycling hero Peter Ryan says he’s “excited, not nervous” ahead of the 10th edition of Europe’s toughest bike race Race Around Ireland which begins on August 26th in Trim, County Meath.
The former Tipperary intercounty hurler and his sighted pilot Seán Hahessy are attempting to do what has never been done before: to finish the most gruelling sporting challenge in Ireland on a tandem.
Racing non-stop through 23 counties and over 2,100km of many of the most challenging roads in world ultracycling, Ryan and Hahessy will join riders from eight nations in racing for up to 22 hours a day over five days in one of the most important Ultracycling events in the world.
Should Ryan and Hahessy achieve their goal, they will join an exclusive club of ultracyclists who have earned a finisher’s medal in a race that, more than almost any other on the planet, is a personal battle with the terrain and elements as much as it is a race against the other competitors.
Solo riders, teams of two-. four- and eight- riders compete in different categories in one of the most important events on the world calendar which serves as an official qualifier for the famous Race Across America or RAAM.
Attending the launch of Race Around Ireland 2018 in Trim Castle today, Friday 17th August, Ryan spoke of his relentless preparation for this latest goal in his extraordinary sporting odyssey and what it will mean for himself and Hahessy.
“It’s going to be a real leap into the unknown,” says the 2016 Paralympian, who is on target to compete in Tokyo 2020 and who will be raising funds for the Doran and Gleeson families in Tipperary whose lives have been affected by cancer.
“We’ve been training hard and we’re well prepared but we’re also well aware that no tandem crew have ever completed this event,” said Ryan. “It’s going to be a really tough challenge and an amazing experience.”
Many of the world’s best ultracyclists including two former race winners are back to do battle with the terrain, the weather and physical and mental challenge of riding almost non-stop for five days.
Ulsterman Joe Barr, a former top road racer and winner of the inaugural Race Around Ireland in 2009, has geared his season around this event and will start among the favourites, while Valerio Zamboni from Monaco is another former winner heading to the startline in Trim on Sunday August 26th.
Trevor Golden Cathaoirleach Trim Municipal District and Councillor Noel French, gave the event their official imprimatur and welcomed the appearance of such inspiring athletes from all over the world to County Meath once again.
“This is an important international competition and a key date on the world calendar of ultracycling and we’re honoured that Race Around Ireland will once again start in Trim,” said Councillor French.
“To have the race start and finish in Trim is a delight and we want to wish all the riders the very best in this amazing and wonderful sports event.”
For a second consecutive year Race Around Ireland coincides with the Trim Salmon of Knowledge Festival and the departure of the solo and team riders will be an integral part of festival activities next Sunday week.
“Race Around Ireland was a wonderful addition to our roster of activities in last year’s festival and we’re delighted to welcome back competitors from all over the world to our event.” said Salmon of Knowledge Festival Chairman Michael Hughes of Trim Tourism Network.
For full details on Race Around Ireland and the Irish Ultra Challenge see http://racearoundireland.com/