Kerry – or Slea Head, to be more precise – will be the start-point for a world-first cross-country solo cycle this coming weekend, although you might have to be up very early in the morning to catch ultra cyclist Laura Grehan.
Ms Grehan (41), from Baldoyle in north Dublin, will depart from Kerry and Ireland’s most westerly point before dawn on September 5 – or possibly the day before or after, if conditions dictate – and she will travel some 100 kilometres of Kerry roadway on her way to Ireland’s most easterly point, Wicklow Head in County Wicklow. The cycle itself will travel through locations such as Dingle, Annascaul, Castlemaine, and Farranfore.
The total distance will include 3,500 metres of climbing and almost 400 kilometres total – meaning roughly a quarter will take place in Kerry – and she’s doing it all in aid of the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association.
She also has her eyes on a unique achievement. She explained that there are currently no female records for Irish cross-country cycles (whether north-to-south or vice-versa, or east-to-west or vice-versa), and an west-to-east record hasn’t been set by any cyclist male or female.
“It’s something I began to think seriously about from around February,” the cyclist of five years told The Kerryman. “During lock-down, I was racking up a lot of mileage on a turbo-trainer at home, and since then my training has included the Ring of Kerry in July, and I did a training spin with the Killorglin Cycling Club the day after.”
This will be a solo attempt on the cycling front, although she will be joined by cars including a support crew and a representative adjudicating on the attempt.
“It will take, I think, roughly 15 hours, although that’s very much dependant on the weather. It’s just under 390 kilometres, so it’s a long distance, but do-able.
“I would have become aware of the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association [ILFA] and the wonderful services and supports it offers to lung fibrosis patients as my aunt, Denise, suffered from the condition, and she sadly passed away 13 years ago. My cousin, Nicola Cassidy, is an ILFA director.”
The charity also offers services in this county, including a support group which meets on the last Saturday of each month at 3pm in the Rose Hotel in Tralee. The contact for this group is Lios Póil man and lung-transplant recipient John Patrick O’Sullivan, who is available at (087) 280 9801.
To donate to Laura’s fundraiser, one can visit the GoFundMe page titled ‘Laura Grehan World Ultracycling Record Bid – ILFA’ .
To find out more about ILFA, one can visit www.ilfa.ie.
The cycle can be tracked online at www.live.primaltracking.com/westeast2020/.