Name: Noel Cusack
Meet the Crew
My crew chief will be Dermot Smyth. What can I say about this man - he is my guardian angel both on and off the bike. I met Dermot through our local cycling club and little did I know but a lifetime friendship was about to be struck.
Dermot has been involved with me in this ultra-mad journey since the very first race. He has never left my side on the road. I owe every start and finish line to him. We have a 100% finish rate and we've shared some tough times on the road. At this point, I'm not sure I could do actually do a race without him in my corner. We'll be lining up to do our 9th utra race together at The Joe Barr 500.
Aidan is an ultracyclist and owner of Impulse Fitness in Ashbourne. We have raced many races together as ultra-cyclists. He has competed in the Donegal 555, the Team Joe Barr 200 and the Race Around Ireland, Ultra along with many other adventure races. I was delighted when he offered to crew for me as having an experienced rider on board is an asset. He can help the crew see things through a rider's eye. His experienced and steady hand is a huge win for me. I know he'll crack the whip when I start moaning.
Shane is my nephew and a very enthusiatic member. He's full of energy, helps with nutrition and is my go-to guy for supplies for the whole team. He recently started cycling so I better watch out! It's his 3rd race with me and it's great to have a family member to share these memories.
This is Thomas' first time crewing. I am delighted to have him on board. He is an extreme adventure athlete and has taken on some crazy and tough adventure races over the years. He has completed over 24 adventure races so he knows what's needed when the pressure is on. I'm looking forward to working together and will enjoy the pre-race lead up as an opportunity to get to know him more. I already know though he'll be 100% motivated and he'll make sure to keep the power down and an eye on the game!
Meet the Rider
I started cycling as a way to get to school and then one day signed up to do a 250-mile charity spin with some friends. We barely survived but after that, life took over and I didn't cycle for 15 years.
After my father passed away I realised how short life is so I made some changes in my life, created some free time which was new to me! A friend suggested I tag along for a spin with the Clare Crusaders. I turned up and during the first 90km I nearly died, in fact I remember Sinead and Sylvia pushing me home. No-one expected me to turn up the next Sat but I did. I had found a new passion. I purchased a race bike (2 sizes too big) and rode it until the frame cracked.
I never competed in sports growing up as I never thought I was good enough but cycling was always different, I could enjoy the social aspect of it. I enjoy being out in all conditions. Slowly I built up mileage and before long 100km wasn't too far for me. I wasn't the fastest but I was stubborn, I never quit and the longer I went the more I enjoyed it.
I have travelled Ireland doing Sportives and met some great people. I eventually signed up for a 24hr challenge on the Isle of Man in 2016. Due to gale force winds everyone but 3 peope gave up. I was one of those 3 people. I will never give up. I'm far from the strongest but I have the will power to keep moving forward.
I have been training and racing since then and it has totally changed my life. All the races are tracked and people seem to love watching me suffer! But knowing people enjoy following me, especially during the tough times, keeps me focused.
Don't know how my partner Martina lives with me but I am blessed to have her in my life. The fact that she is not a cycling fan probably keeps me sane.
My main focus is to keep setting personal bests while enjoying every minute of the race. If that keeps happening I am confident that I will stand on the top step at some stage and pay back my crew for all the help over the years.
Why I go the distance
The person that I admire most is my mother. I think I got a lot of my mental strength from her. You never give up no matter what is thrown at you, you just get on with it and don't look back. She has a great outlook on life and enjoys every day. If you keep worrying about what might happen you end up doing nothing.
Live life. Enjoy and be kind to everyone. Get up, get out and get moving is her motto!
I know she doesn't like the races and what I put myself through but she knows its what I live for. She keeps thinking the next race will be my last but I just smile and say, 'you never know'.
See you at the start line and thanks to Team Joe Barr for helping through the years. I'm honored to be lining up at The Joe Barr 500 for the 3rd year in a row, hopefully this race goes better than last years!
Final Note - Ultra-cycling can be a selfish sport and I have missed a lot of family events. Something I must try to rebalance. I have been lucky to have great people and friends that helped crew and be part of my ultra races. Thanks to Pat Scully, Niall Thornton, Denis Rynne, Adrian Kelly, Ross Hussey, John Maloney, Martin Cusack, Dermot Egan, Fergus Casey, Richad Casey,, Collette Cusack, Linda O'Brien, Eddie Dillon and many more from the Clare cycling community and beyond.