A group of cyclists, headed by London-Irishman Gerry Boots, completed a gruelling cycle for charity over the weekend.
Raising funds for the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, the group of eight cycled from Ireland’s most southerly point Mizen Head to the most northerly point Malin Head all within 24 hours from start to finish.
If entered into Google Maps, the app estimates that to drive this 630km route in a car it would take nine hours alone, which goes some way into comparing how much of a challenge it is to do it in under a day with just pedal power.
The group of like-minded cyclists consisted of Alan Heaney (Kilasser), Gary Smyth & Gary Bigley (Kiltimagh), Colm Carney (Bohola), Patrick Murtagh (Tubbercurry), Jonathan Verry (Crossmolina) Patrick Bilbow (Killala), Gerry Boots (London).
Before he embarked on his latest challenge, which has so far raised €12,000 (£10,500) of its €15,000 (£13,000) target, Gerry spoke to the Irish World about his cycling career.
“I suppose I must be stone mad! I used to do marathons before an injury meant I couldn’t anymore, so I got into cycling as something to do, and have been increasing the distances in events.
“We have done this cycle before, once over three days and the last time over two days. Now we really have to push on for this huge challenge. We are doing training sessions of 150- 200 miles every weekend at the crack of dawn.
“I love it. I could wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday and be in a random place in the country, well outside of London, by lunchtime.”
Gerry admits he gets a huge ‘kick’ out of the intense events that he partakes in, while still managing to raise money for good causes.
“It’s not even enjoyable when you are doing it, you get the rush once it is completed.
“It is absolutely horrible hard work, but then once you get that feeling of satisfaction it only lasts a few days and then it’s history and you look to the next challenge.
“You always are looking for the finish line, but then by the time it is nearing you don’t want it to come at all. It is 70 per cent mental and 30 per cent physical.
“I’ve always been competitive, but this standard of cycling is brutal.
“If I am doing something I want to be good at it. Nice to know you have something in the tank when someone alongside you makes a burst after 140 miles and you can keep up with them.”