Local men to cycle 2,000km in 5 days
A Mullingar-based businessman and a Killucan dad of four are part of a team of cyclists undertaking a mammoth 2,000km cycle from Lourdes to Knock in only five days.
Alan Heaney, co-owner of robotic milking specialists Lely Centre, and Maurice Dore, will be joining Mayo duo Garry Bigley and Jonathan Verry on an epic journey will that see them rack up 400 kilometres in the saddle each day.
They will cycle through France and across England and Wales before ending with a 200km final leg from Dublin to Mayo.
For their efforts they hope to collect at least €20,000 for Down Syndrome Ireland as well as raising awareness of depression and anxiety among members of the farming community.
Father of four Alan says that people who are not from agricultural backgrounds may not realise how difficult the last few years have been for many farmers.
A part-time farmer himself, he says that a range of factors from extreme weather events to fluctuating market prices have contributed to farmers’ stresses, while rural isolation also affects a large number.
Looking ahead to next week’s trip, which gets under way on Tuesday, June 18, Alan says that it will be as much of a mental challenge as it will be a physical one.
He should know; this time last year, he was part of a group that cycled the 1600km from Land’s End to John O’Groats in four days, while two years ago they completed the 612km from Malin to Mizen Head in less than 24 hours.
This time around he expects that he and his colleagues will be cycling for more than 20 hours some days to achieve their goal.
“It’s surprising how low your body can go,” he said.
“You think your tank is empty and then you realise you have more.
“You build up your body to a certain level of fitness and after that it’s basically down to your mind and your ability to get through it.
“It’s about how you manage the negative thoughts as well as the pain, hunger, cold and heat.”
Alan and his team have set up a GoFundMe page where people can make donations.
If you would like to donate go to gofundme.com and search for Alan Heaney Campaign.
The trip is entirely self financed, so all of the money raised with go to their chosen charity.