The agri-supported Mayo Ultra Cyclists are powering their way through Kerry today (Monday, July 19) on day two of a major ultra cycle adventure to raise funds for mental health charities.
The group completed day one of their Wild Atlantic Way Ultra Cycle at around 8:30pm yesterday after cycling an incredible 288km from Kinsale in Co. Cork. to Ardgroom.
Weather was on the side of the team with temperatures reaching 28.5° at times yesterday.
Farmers, agribusiness, media and cyclists have come together for the major fundraising drive.
The ultra cyclists are a group of like-minded adventure cyclists who take on an ultra cycling challenge every year for charity.
This year they are being led by ultra cyclist Alan Heaney of Efficient Farm Systems (EFS) in Mullingar, supported by Lely and Agriland Media.
Day one complete
The cyclists set out at 6:00a.m yesterday on day one, leaving Kinsale and travelling through Rosscarbery, Clonakilty, Glandore, Skull, Skibbereen with a special stop at Mizen Head.
A beauty spot which the ultra cyclists know well, having visited there on their previous charity cycles in 2016 and 2017.
The team pushed on passing thorough Bantry, Ballylickey, Glengarrif, Castletownbear and Ardgroom.
Despite hot temperatures the toughest part of the day was the steep hills on The Goats Path at Kilcrohane.
As part of this worthy and vital campaign, Agriland Media will feature articles with a mental health focus throughout the week, to raise awareness of the charities and shine a light on the supports available to those who have been struggling with isolation, anxiety or depression.
The cyclists bid farewell to the Rebel County earlier, to see what the Kingdom had to offer.
They have passed through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Caherciveen, heading to Dingle and Castlegregory.
You can keep track of the location of cyclists by clicking here.
The team encountered very steep climbs today – a 17% incline at Coonanaspig, located near Skelig Michael above Portmagee where temperatures had reached 28° but the cyclists kept pedaling (see video above).
Tomorrow Tuesday, July 20, on day 3 of the challenge – the stage from Castlegregory, Co. Kerry to Oranmore, Co. Galway – the ultra cyclists will be joined by farmers, vets, colleagues in co-ops, agri-tech, feed, finance and animal health companies, who will join in and cycle a 65km leg or two and maybe the whole 320km stage.
A team from Macra na Feirme, including their president John Keane, will be present on the day to support the cause.
Macra na Feirme is urging clubs or counties to get together and support the ultra cyclists’ goal of 2,100km and cycle the distance in their own areas to raise awareness and to fundraise in their local areas.
Support mental health
The aim of the challenge this year is to raise €150,000 for the three vital charities.
Ultra cyclist Alan Heaney told Agriland: “It’s all about creating awareness. Mental health visits every family, in every way, whether it’s work-related, whether it’s relationship-related, whether it’s finance-related, whatever it is, it’s everywhere. It’s in everyone’s house.
“It’s probably something that’s not talked about and I know a lot of the charities are about creating the awareness that it’s okay not to be okay. Just pick up the phone and ring. I think it will resonate with the whole rural farming community, of which I am a part.”
Other companies or agencies which have come on board to support the ultra cycle and the mental health charities include, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Teagasc, Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia, Easyfix, Alltech, ZeroGrazer, IFAC and MSD.