Irelands ultimate cycling challenge is conquered

The inaugural Race Around Ireland, Irelands ultimate cycling challenge, was won by Joe Barr in the men’s solo event and Caroline Van Den Bulk in the women’s. Irelands former endurance record holder Barr, of Co. Derry, finished in a time of four days, 12 hours and 12 minutes.

Second was the UKs RAAM record holder Mark Pattinson, who finished in  four days, 16 hours and 51 minutes. Third place went to Germany’s Holger Roethig, who finished in five days, 8 hours and 11 minutes.

Canada’s Caroline Van Den Bulk, current Word Cup Champion and world number 1, finished the ladies solo event in five days, 11 hours and 18 minutes.

The course started and finished at the Civic Space, Navan, Co. Meath and the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association World Cup Event is a 1,350 mile non-stop event that loops around the entire country and takes in some of the country’s most famous landmarks and crests 25 major climbs.

It follows a format similar to the Race Across America (RAAM): the course is not roped off and there are no marshals controlling traffic flow. And once the clock starts it doesn’t stop until each cyclist reaches the finish line at the end of the circuit.

The race is one of the most gruelling and unique sporting events in Ireland and it is the ultimate test of endurance, strength and mental toughness for elite and leisure cyclists. Some of the highlights of the course included Newgrange, Giants Causeway, Malin Head, Connemara, The Burren, Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head, Carrick on Suir and the Wicklow Mountains.

The race, a registered Cycling Ireland event organised in association with the Navan Road Club and the Irish Sports Academy, has been sanctioned by the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA), who placed the race on their International World Cup Series.