Cookstown cyclist Gary Jeffers ready for Suir Valley event

East Tyrone’s Gary Jeffers will take on some of the best riders in Ireland at the Suir Valley 3-day race in Tipperary starting on August 3.

“There will be two professional teams at this race. Their riders are all very strong and work together so it makes it very hard when you are there by yourself,” Gary told the MAIL.

Gary Jeffers on his way to victory. Pictures by Alan Donnelly.

Gary Jeffers on his way to victory. Pictures by Alan Donnelly.

“The aim would be to try the RAS down south and a few of the top end amateur races on the continent next year. I would love to get a full time ride somewhere, maybe on a continental team.”

Gary, it must be remembered, is an amateur, but has been going toe-to-toe with professionals in races up and down the country. Not only that but he only took up cycling after suffering a broken back during his motorcycling career

“I won the first race of the year and have put together a couple of good results here and there. I did the Tour of Ulster this year and got a few good results in a few of the stages.

“My highlight of the year was the National Road Race. On the Sunday the 107 miles road race - riding along with the professionals is a whole different style of racing. I suffered more and enjoyed it more than I can remember!

“Finishing eleventh in that was better even than winning in Ulster.”

The 160km Suir Valley Challenge will take the participants along one of the most breath taking scenic cycling tours in the country. While this route travels over 4 significant climbs those regularily participating in 100km sportives should really consider this achieaveable.

The Challenge route brings the participants directly to Cahir, then on to Tipperary Town. In Tipperary the riders will turn left tackle the first climb of the day the “The Glen of Aherlow” after descending down Christ the King the route travels along the foot of the Galtees to Galbally, and then on to Mitchelstown.

At Mitchelstown the route heads along the foot of the Knockmealdown mountain range until Clogheen, where it turns and ascends “The Vee”, after descending into Cappaquinn the route travels towards Dungarvan, then Milstreet, Ballymacarbry and the final ascent of the day “The Nire” before decending to O Connell Street in Clonmel.