“During my RAS days I had some great ding dong tussles with my good friend Paul McCormack as we both won the week long race twice. In recent years Paul and I had the pleasure of once again riding the roads of Ireland together in a less competitive way with the charity cycle Race the Ras. Raising funds for Breast Cancer Research with a great bunch of people is as good as it gets and I would highly recommend this challenge to anyone. Good craic, great cycling and wonderful company on a well organised event, what more could you ask for.”
“Race the Ras has had a wonderful 7 year association with the Ras and during that period has raised over €400,000 for cancer research. Im hugely excited about the new Pink Ribbon tour and believe that it’s an event which will have wide appeal to male and female cyclists of different abilities who would like to test themselves over one two or three stages, make new friends and have great fun along the way. For me, this endurance event gives me a big goal to work towards at the end of the summer with great friends that I’ve made through cycling, and in the process raise funds for breast cancer research, a charity that I’m associated with. I look forward to welcoming many new participants from both GAA and Cycling in the inaugural Pink Ribbon Tour in September”
Paul Clark All Ireland winning Dublin Footballer
“26 years senior club football,12 years inter county and the last 16 coaching at club and county level. I even had time to do a few triathlons lately.
I thought I’d done it all,the good and the bad days,the thrill of competing sometimes winning and some times losing till Eamonn O’Muircheartaigh came a calling. Himself, Paul Early and Declan Darcy along with other lunatics had decided to cycle around Ireland,do the Ras they said.
Initially I did 3 stages over the first 2 years to ease myself in or maybe I wasn’t good enough to do the whole event? But something was very clear, that buzz, camaraderie, new friendships, relief oh and some pain was very evident on peoples faces as they embraced in Skerries Harps Gaa after that last stage. The same effects I’d seen as a player over the years of my playing career. I wanted a piece of it!!
So in January of 2013 I started training for Race the Ras. I had good and bad days just like football. I had tough days in the mountains and fast days on the flat but I keep building up the miles. Advice and encouragement was everywhere. Craig and Cian in work, Andy my brother in law, Rob and Ais in Wheelworx but most of all from the people who were planning and organising. Somewhere in there was Kerry, Roscommon, Leitrim men all past participant’s wanting you to succeed and be prepared for a tough week.
The start arrived in no time. Sunday to Sunday. 8 days in the saddle, 1200 km of pushing the boundaries so you wouldn’t let down the group and the professionals racing behind wouldn’t catch us.
That’s how it went stage after stage. A new bed each night in great accommodation shared with great people and entertained by former Ras winners Paul McCormack and Philip Cassidy.
Memories and emotions came flooding back of playing days but these days on and off the bike were winning feelings.No one could do wrong, everybody helped and encouraged each other, far beyond expectations. Nobody was let down or left behind and all levels of fitness catered for with the strongest cyclists gladly coming to the back and helping out. And at the end of it all I got what I wanted and more. The emotional hug,the embrace and of course a bit of pain.
But most all I made friends and new team mates. Lads and ladies from Donegal,Waterford,Cork and even a Meath man or 2!! That was the best feeling of all and nothing is going to change that.
I would strongly encourage any ex players to consider this challenge and opportunity. To test and push the boundaries a bit and see if there is life in the legs.
I said at the start a bit about my career and they were great times but I would put it up there with the 8 days I spent with the people of Race the Ras. The cyclists,organisers,charity people,medical,drivers and motorcyclists who got us around safely.
During the week at the end of a stage I famously said that I will no longer be known as the footballer who played for Dublin and won an All Ireland but as a Race the Ras’er 2013 like my new teammates and friends.
Hopefully I’ll see some of them this year and a few more former players who’ll be known as Race the Ras’ers 2014 for what it represents and the fantastic charitable fundraising it does for Breast Cancer Research.