A Clogheen mother of two has said she has never seen an organisation or an event run as well as the Galway Cycle 2018 after she volunteered to drive the Galway Cycle Support mini-bus from Maynooth to Galway last weekend.
Caroline Fogarty spent three days with the Galway Cycle team from Maynooth. She had no idea what she was in for when she signed up for the event but told The Avondhu that she was 'blown away' by every bit of it.
The cycle is an annual fund-raiser run from Maynooth University and was started 31 years ago by Martin Rocks aka "Roxy". The basis is a cycle from Maynooth to Galway on Friday with the return cycle on Sunday. In order for the event to run smoothly, a committee plus safety personell and a host of drivers for various vehicles, is required.
That’s where Caroline comes in. She was the driver for the GC Support mini-bus, which she drove over a number of mandatory training weekends in advance of the main event, but she said she had 'no clue' of the scale of the actual weekend until now.
“From the moment we left Maynooth University on Friday morning at 6am, there was a heavy emphasis on the safety of cyclists, our drivers and other road users. Each vehicle in the cavalcade was supplied with a radio system, all connected to relevant people and marshals. The professionalism of the people using radios was very impressive. There was constant interaction from head security guys to all vehicles and to marshals cycling.
“I was involved in a 'leap-frog' system with another vehicle to pick up and repair bike problems and get riders back into the peloton. We had motor-marshals zipping up and down constantly checking road situations and guiding other traffic past the GC Bubble. These guys were amazing with one in particular making my journey even brighter.”
Caroline says the the fun and laughter was non-stop throughout the entire 12 hour journey to Galway and return journey to Maynooth. As she was new to the GC team, she didn’t know any of her colleagues on the day apart from the few she had made contact with on training weekends but was soon made to feel welcome.
“I was treated like an old friend from the start with every single person welcoming me into the GC family. What I noticed most over the whole weekend was the amount of love and respect that was so obvious from everybody. I've never laughed out loud as much as I did over the weekend and I smiled constantly just watching, listening and getting to know everyone around me.
“It was emotional for sure and tears flowed,” she added.
Funds raised this year were for 'Friends of the Coombe' Hospital in Dublin. Total money raised at last count was €83,600. This money will be used by The Coombe to refurbish three bereavement suites to a high standard.
“I have never seen an organisation or an event run as well as this one. It was incredible to witness it and to see how every little thing fell into place without a hitch. Pure professionalism at its best.
“I am honoured and proud to be now considered a member of the GC family and I'll sum up in the words of Huey Lewis & The News: "I'm happy to be stuck with You,” said a delighted Caroline.