The Galway Baybes all female amateur cycling team made up of Joanne Murphy, Bríd Naughton, Karen Cassidy and Marie Boyle returned home to Galway last Thursday with a new Irish cycling record after completing the gruelling 2,212 KM Race Around Ireland Ultra Marathon Cycling event last week.
Starting in Trim in Co. Meath on Sunday 27th August they raced against a team of female Australians and nine men’s teams in their 4person category.
Cycling non stop in relay format taking in some of the country’s most breath taking scenery, iconic attractions and severe climbs. They battled the elements in the early stages of Monday coming from Donegal to Castlebar but it didn’t dampen the spirits of riders or crew with thoughts turning to the welcome expected when the team made their way through Galway with huge support on the road and lots of signage welcoming teams to ‘Baybe Country’ in Connemara all the way to Kinvara.
Working their way to the southern most tip of the country after some mountainous climbs in Kerry the team continued to increase their pace with all eyes focused on the finish line by late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as they made their way from West Cork to Cork City, through Waterford and Wicklow.
The Aussie ladies ‘The Veloroos’ took the title in the female category, with a race record breaking performance, finishing 4th overall against the men’s teams early on Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile the Galway Baybes powered home to cross the finish line in Moynalty, Co. Meath just before 11:30pm on Wednesday night in a time of 81 hours 13 minutes with an average pace of 27.26kph, a new Irish record by 10 hours and 17 minutes.
Speaking about the race Joanne said, ‘This event is epic, the training, logistics and race preparation to take on such a mammoth event was huge, the endless training on the bike was only a small part of the preparations. The camaraderie between riders and crew out on the road was fantastic, we had lots of fun with the other teams, chasing each other down yet supporting each other as we went past on the road. This event is like none we have ever taken part in before. For a group of amateur riders to take on the challenge of breaking the Irish Record and succeed in such a significant way is testament to the dedication, commitment and strength of not only the riders but the amazing crew and our support teams who pushed us all the way to the finish line.
Karen who was on the bike coming through Galway, said ‘Seeing the welcome to ‘Baybe Country’ signs in Connemara, hearing the crowd cheer from Oughterard, to Moycullen, Bushypark, Newcastle, Oranmore and all the way to Kinvara was hugely motivating and emotional. To think we had so many people willing us to the finish line, watching the dots on the race tracker was amazing. We will never forget the experience of this race and the support we have received from friends and family, our sponsors as well as complete strangers not only in Galway but all across the country.
In a sad turn of events for the team, Marie Boyle’s father passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, Marie’s husband Pat was on the crew with the team making this record breaking success even more emotional, poignant and meaningful for all involved.
Speaking about the next racing adventure, Bríd said; We are not ruling anything out, we are going to take a couple of weeks off to recover and reflect on our achievements and explore what race we might take on next. We do have our eyes on Race Across America but that is a little while down the road. Some of the riders and crew are taking on the Charity Cycle ‘ Giro D Jigsaw’ at the end of this month but that will be more about having fun, with no racing involved.’