500 riders pay tribute to Richie Byrne, the fallen Godfather of Irish mountain biking
Over 500 riders gathered to pay tribute to Richie Byrne, the Godfather of Irish mtb, who tragically passed away after a battle with cancer.
Richie Byrne is credited with kickstarting the Irish mountain bike scene back in the nineties when he formed Ireland's first ever mountain biking club, which was followed shortly after by the country’s first National Championship race. Richie also ran the Giant Store, Dublin and raced at elite level. You could expect to see (or hear) his larger than life personality at any big event in the country.
More than this though, Richie was a true ambassador of the sport organising women's, kids' and beginners' rides to get as many people as possible excited about his beloved sport.
In October last year Richie was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain with another that had spread to his body. True to form, he was resolute in his battle with the disease.
He never gave a hint that the cancer would win and even printed t-shirts that said: "if only you knew who you have started on". His courageous battle inspired many, especially through the No Surrender blog that charted his year long fight. Unfortunately Richie succumbed to the cancer on September 29, he died peacefully in his sleep.
500 riders gathered at Ballinastoe on Sunday for a Last Blast mass start ride in Richie's honour, while tributes were also paid at the Foxhunt. The event was full of smiles, happiness and "good craic", just how he would have wanted.
Our thoughts go out to Richie's family and friends.
If you were unable to attend the event then a GoFundMe has been set up in his honour with proceeds going to his family. For more info on Richie's influence on the Irish scene, watch the Through the Roots documentary