We flew back from Ireland on Monday morning having been there for the start of the Race Around Ireland on Sunday evening, which Carvalho Custom has sponsored. And here we are on Friday afternoon and the solo riders are still racing, with over 1500 kms cycling in their legs and less than 15 hours sleep over the 5 days and still going. To think that these riders have barely got off their bikes over all this time makes you realise the enormity of their achievement.
So you might be expecting these heroes of endurance cycling to be brash or full of themselves given the fact that they are some of the most amazing athletes on the planet; but having met them at the pre-race meetings, I was really struck by how humble and down-to-earth they all seemed. It made me think, that anyone who has had to face up to the unthinkable depths of suffering that ultra endurance racing involves, is bound to be humbled by it.
Here is Nicole from Carvalho Custom presenting the RAI jersey to 2009 winner, Joe Barr:
This is not a sport for the insecure – it takes enormous strength of character to deal with the sleep deprivation, exhaustion and pain and the people who do it are giants, but they must feel so small in the face of the magnitude of their task and it makes you respect them all the more for it.