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Gearing up for solo ride across UK


Rostrevor old scholar Patrick Shanahan is gearing up to ride more than 2000km from Scotland to Wales next month as part of an effort to raise funds for charity.

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The 21 year old, who regularly attends Mass at St Joseph’s Tranmere, has been cycling for only about four years having taken a liking to the sport while in Year 11 at Rostrevor College.

He is about to embark on his biggest ever ride covering 2317km and climbing more than 26,000m in the self-supported cycling event, the Pan Celtic Race.

The event runs from Inverness, Scotland, through to Ireland before heading into Wales finishing in the coastal town of Llandudno.

Patrick (pictured above) is the only Australian among a field of about 50 riders taking part in the event – which will require him to camp out overnight wherever he stops, while also carrying his equipment on his bike.

“One day I’ll be really pumped and the next day I’ll be thinking what have I got myself into,” he said.

“I have heard from people that have done these things before, once you get past day three you’re going to be fine.”

Growing up Patrick stuck to the more traditional sports of football and cricket as he made his way through schooling life at St Joseph’s Tranmere and Rostrevor.

But having watched a bit of cycling with his father, Matthew Shanahan, and seen Australian Cadel Evans win cycling’s biggest race – the Tour de France – Patrick decided to jump on the bandwagon and by the age of 17 he had his first proper bike.

“Since then I have fallen in love with it (cycling) and I now even have a job at a bike shop – at 99 Bikes at Prospect.

“It was all leisurely until this year when I started racing at Victoria Park, not hugely full on, but every Tuesday night they have a race.

“These ultra-distance bikepacking events have been getting a lot more popular lately and a lot more people are doing them.

“One was held in Australia not too long ago called the Indian Pacific Wheel Race where they go from Fremantle to Sydney. I followed that and just got an interest in it.

“So I got a bike for it, I have kept buying little things and now I’m hoping to race on it.”

Patrick rides more than 200km a day during the week and on alternate weeks takes on more high intensity sprint-type work to build up fitness for the gruelling race which he is aiming to finish within 10 days.

But this is more than just a race for him as he will also be raising funds for Epilepsy Australia, a charity which has featured in his life in the past.

“I have epilepsy, and mum thought of the idea – she said why don’t we create a bit of a fundraising page for Epilepsy Australia seeing as they supported me when I first had it,” he said.

“Year 6 or 7, I had my first seizure, and it was pretty scary because I was young. So I was pretty closed off about it, didn’t really want to talk about it much. But now I’ve graduated high school I’m much more open about it.

“I haven’t had a seizure for over a year, I’m on medication. But I have found out for a lot of people medication doesn’t help them so that’s why I thought raising a bit of money will help out those kinds of people.”

Patrick said, along with his mother, his Christian faith was a driving force behind the charity aspect of his ride.

“Being from a Christian background my whole life, you’re always taught to help other people. So when it comes to helping others out if there’s a chance to do it, I want to do every bit I can,” he said.

Patrick begins the Pan Celtic Race in Inverness on July 7. He has already raised more than $1800 for Epilepsy Australia and is aiming to reach $2317.

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