The Waterford man who rode an epic 400km on Saturday

Posted on: June 19th, 2016

John Tracey, a 47 year-old father of two from Passage East, Waterford, completed an incredible journey yesterday when he rode from his home to Howth and back in one day. He’s raising vital funds for Waterford Hospice and if you’d like to donate, please click here.



By Brian Canty

A 47 year-old Waterford father of two completed the most epic journey of his life yesterday when he rode a staggering 400 kilometres in aid of Waterford Hospice.

John Tracey, a member of Comeragh CC, left his home in Passage East yesterday morning at 4am and didn’t get back there until 10.45pm last night after riding to his mother’s house in Howth for the dinner, and back again.

He had to contend with all sorts of issues throughout the day and some of those obstacles included his reduced-function right leg, a wind that did him no favours and a slight ‘fuelling mishap’ he’s choosing to keep on the downlow!

Let’s just say a jumbo breakfast roll from a Topaz garage had to suffice after someone forgot to make the pasta and sandwiches he required after eight hours.

But he arrived home to a hero’s welcome last night and all was forgotten after a few swift pints.

“It was an epic day, an emotional and a fun day all wrapped up in one,” he told stickybottle this afternoon.

“It was dark leaving home and the wild goats in Passage East were still asleep when I took off at 4am on the button.”

Having trained with the Comeragh CC Rás team for the last two months, Tracey was in good shape for the ordeal that he undertook, but had never ridden over 300 kilometres before.

So along with his two major concerns; sustenance and how he’d cope mentally, how his body would react was also a worry.


The whole trip took over 18 hours to complete and along with chicken, pasta, sandwiches and gels, it was cans of coke – and cider, that got him there in the end.


“After 100 kilometres my right leg flared up and I thought ‘here we go’ but it was about putting that problem into a box, sealing the box and storing it away for later.

“My sister called out to my mam’s, she’s a massage therapist, so she got me over that leg issue and that got me going again.

“But I was still 200 kilometres from home and the north-westerly I was fighting on the way up had turned and I was riding into a south-westerly so that threw me off, time-wise.

“But the morale boost I needed came when I saw the Comeragh CC lads with 50k to go.

“That was just amazing because to be honest, I was in a bag.

“I was down to cans of coke and gels, I couldn’t eat any more. Seeing them was unbelievable.

“Noel O’Dwyer (who just completed the Rás) handed me a can of cider crossing the bridge as we came into Waterford.

“The rain was hopping down at this stage, it was miserable but the can of cider, how sweet was that, we all had a slug and it gave us a big boost!”


Tracey just about had the energy to give the photographer on this occasion the two thumbs up! 


He ambled home a shell of a man but the reception he got took away all the pain his body had accumulated during 18 hours of cycling.

“For a tiny rural community to have everyone and their dogs to come out and cheer you is very moving.

“It was sheer elation, sheer positivity, all the good things we want to feel.”

To donate to his worthy cause, click on this link and read more about where the proceeds go.


It was so early in the morning even the goats in Passage East were still asleep when this mad man took off on a 400-kilometre journey to Howth and back.