The Galway Baybes set hearts racing in Donegal on Friday and Saturday (23rd/24th June) when they took on the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra, their second ever ultra-cycling endurance race.
The team of riders, all members of Galway Triathlon Club set a new course record for the 555k distance, winning the women’s four-person category in a time of 19 hours and 24 minutes.
Less than 12 months after their record-breaking performance in the 2,250km Race Around Ireland the team had one focus in mind when starting out from Ballyraine Halls, to ride as hard and as fast as they could for a long as they could and get to the finish line in the quickest time possible.
The team of riders (Bríd Ní Neachtain, Karen Cassidy, Joanne Murphy and Marie Boyle) were supported by a crew of six on the road – Jonathan Gibson, Padraic Benson, Pat Dirrane, Patrick Mc Nicholas, Pat Dowd & Michael Casserly.
With over 40 teams competing, the Galway Baybes put their mark on the race within the first hour recording a 34kph average before hitting the undulating climbs and hills up around the Inishowen Peninsula on stage one of the race.
By the halfway point the Baybes had been racing for 9 hours and 30 minutes and had built up a comfortable lead over their nearest rivals.
In the closing stage, the team not content with just winning their category, dug deep to reel in a 19-minute course record. Pushing right to the last second it was Marie Boyle originally from Gweedore, Donegal who crossed the line sealing the course record and win for the team.
There was much excitement, emotion and elation on the finish line for the team of riders and crew who delivered a superb performance. The sense of camaraderie and the support for each other on and off the road was immense, the focus, commitment and determination shone through from start to finish.
After one win and two records over 10 months, the Galway Baybes have nothing planned for their next challenge yet. But after two riders and three crew members compete in IRONMAN Barcelona in October 2018, they’ll look at options and hope to inspire more ladies to take up endurance racing.
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