A group of Kildare amateur cyclists havs won Europe’s toughest endurance cycling race, and broken the course record for an Irish team.
Calling themselves Team Average Joes, the eight cyclists completed the Race Around Ireland at a minute past six last Wednesday, September 3, in a total of 75 hours and one minute.
The next placed team was 78 hours and 49 minutes.
The Average Joes completed the 2,200 km event at an average speed of more than 29kph.
Team Average Joe are Bill Watson from Lucan, Alan Nugent from Maynooth, Mark Nugent from Maynooth, the Leinster Leader’s Conor McHugh of Blackwood, Ivor McCormack formerly of Celbridge,Dave Hickey from Celbridge, John Fallon of Castledermot and Nick Rabe of Celbridge.
The team also had an impressive support crew of 16, mostly hailing from Kildare as well.
The race began in Trim on Sunday, August 31, with Alan Nugent of the Average Joes the first cyclist down the starting ramp.
Cycling all day and all night for the next 75 hours, the team operated in relay, organising progress in eight-hour shifts which enabled cyclists to get sufficent rest.
The weather throughout the three days was kind to them, with low winds and occasional blazing sunshine.
The team last encountered their competitors some time after dark on the first day, and by dawn on Monday morning were almost an hour ahead of their nearest rivals.
From then on, the gap widened steadily so that by the time they finished, they were almost four hours ahead of the next team.
The cyclists used the event to raise awareness and funds for Prader Willi Association of Ireland.
Team member Bill Watson paid tribute to the team’s suppoters. “There is only one reason that we were this far ahead, and that’s our magnificent support team who made everything so easy for us. ”
The team has now turned its attention to the Race Across America.