The Solas 500 has an epic sound to it. A bit like the Indy 500 Nascar race in America. Whilst there may not be as much horsepower lining up at 12am (that’s the middle of the night) this Saturday at the Giants Causeway in Antrim there will be a lot more heart then any race car may have ever seen.
A group of cycling hardmen, mostly from Counties Waterford and Kilkenny are setting out on a single day adventure that will see them pedal over 500km through the four provinces from The Giants Causeway in Antrim all the way to Tramore in County Waterford at the other end of the Country.
The dedication involved in preparing for such a mammoth undertaking has meant that the combined training of the eleven men has so far this year exceeded 65,000km’s and 2,200 hours in the saddle. The average speeds of training spins of over 200k have so often contained numbers like 32 and 33, that some locals have been afraid to even look at Strava on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
This is a charity cycle with the aim of raising €10,000 for the Solas Centre, South Eastern Cancer Foundation, but there is something very different about this cycle that makes it truly unique.
Whilst many charity cycles involve raising money for something that has affected a friend or family member in the past, this group will be looking at a guy riding alongside, or in front, who is right now in the midst of a battle with Cancer and undergoing Chemotherapy just days before the event.
Watching Alberto Contador sprint up a mountain may be inspiring to many but to look beside you in the dark hours of this Saturday morning at a softly spoken, humble, family man, quietly batting the very disease that you are cycling to raise funds for takes the word inspiring to a different level completely.
No matter how sore their legs become, or how tired their bodies feel each and every rider will be driven on by something larger than just cycling a bike.
I can only wish each and every one of the Magnificent 11 the very best of luck with a massive tailwind and a rarity of punctures as they set off this weekend. I also hope that the support crew are well rested as it will surely be as tough for them as for those riding the bikes.
The 11 are ;
Pat ‘Mr 34kph’ Dobbyn – organiser
Keith ‘The Magician’ Barry
David ‘Nana’ Waters
Raymond ‘Gizmo’ Bourke
Mikey ‘Diesel’ O’Loughlin
If anyone would like to donate to the Solas 500 you can follow this link below ;
Best of luck lads,