Thursday 25 December 2014

Pedal the Planet - It's party time for a proper Irish send-off

Breifne Earley
Breifne Earley

The route has been mapped out and redrafted countless times, all the equipment is ordered, the draft travel schedules are burnt into my memory and the first day on the bike is in a little more than a week's time. I'm struggling to sleep purely with the nervous energy that is building.

I'm looking forward to finishing with the preparations and getting myself and my team rolling towards, ironically enough, home. Considering there are no major turns in the route, and that I'll end up back at my front door again 18,000 miles later, is pretty unique.

My team consists of two support crew, Louise and Sara. The girls will be in charge of the day-to-day project off the bike as well as managing me on it. It's a mammoth task and I'm not entirely sure which of the three of us has the tougher task.

I met a friend, Jim, recently who has taken part in a number of long-distance endurance events who advised to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Jim highlighted the experience of telling people he completed the 5,000k Race Across America in less than 10 days to little acknowledgment, but mention that he had done an Ironman and the questions started flying.

In some ways I think the numbers are a little unfathomable. A marathon run over 26 miles is seen as one of the toughest events by most non-elite athletes and typically lasts about four hours, while an Ironman, with its 140-mile distance and 17-hour cut-off time, poses a huge challenge. Now imagine getting up and doing this for a second day or a 10th like my fellow FIT columnist Gerry Duffy during his deca-enduroman in 2011. I'm facing into more than 100 such days. The World Cycle Race will require between 13 and 15 hours in the saddle virtually every day from leaving London on March 1 and returning, hopefully, sometime in June, covering a distance equivalent of Dublin to Killorglin, Co Kerry, every day of the journey.

While the World Cycle Race starts in London, I'm starting my journey from my home town of Leitrim. Over the weekend of February 22 and 23, I'll make my way across the country from Leitrim village to Dublin, with breaks in Carrick-on-Shannon, Longford, Mullingar, Enfield, Maynooth and Dublin. I'd love to have as many people as possible join me for different sections of the route.

There of course wouldn't be an Irish send-off without a big party and I'll be certainly making sure I leave Ireland in fine style with two parties – in Carrick-on-Shannon on February 21 and in Dublin on the 23rd. There will be some special guests and fantastic prizes.

There is no charge to come along, but there will be some merchandise available including Pedal The Planet cycle jerseys, water bottles and wristbands. All of these include the message 'It's alright not to feel okay' as part of their core design and will help spread this vital message to as wide an audience as possible.

Breifne will take part in the World Cycle Race next month, in which he hopes to break the current record for cycling around the planet. See www.pedaltheplanet.tv

Irish Independent

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