By Mark Higgins
Registration is now open for the 2020 Westportif, the hugely popular West Mayo cycling challenge. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, May 9 and two new and different routes are on offer (80km and 150km) to suit cyclists of all abilities. It’s an ideal challenge for new and improving cyclists, who have 16 weeks to build up to their chosen distance.
Both routes start and finish in Westport and take in the spectacular scenery of Clew Bay and the Doolough Valley. Cyclists on the 150km route will also enjoy the splendour of Lough Mask and Tourmakeady. The routes are very well-managed and marshalled, ensuring maximum enjoyment for everyone. The shorter route is an ideal distance for less experienced cyclists and is a great length to aim for over the next few months. A well-deserved break for refreshments at the half-way stage makes it even more accessible to newcomers to the sport.
Anthony Murray is chairperson of the Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club, who are one of the organisers of the Westportif. He said the event is growing in stature year-on-year.
“It’s a real celebration of leisure cycling, bringing cyclists from all over the country and beyond to enjoy the scenery and camaraderie in the west. We’re really looking forward to welcoming participants in 2020.”
The Westportif is run by two local cycling clubs, Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club and Western Lakes Cycling Club. As well as raising funds for the clubs, the event is also a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“We are delighted to be the charity partner for the third year in a row with Westportif,” said Sheila Kelly of Make-A-Wish. “Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses all around Ireland and granted five in Mayo in 2019. We are so thankful for the amazing support from the local Westport people and the great team at Westportif.”
Speaking about the event, Earnan Naughton (chairperson of Western Lakes Cycling Club) said: “The Westportif is an exciting cycling challenge for all levels of cyclists. The event ethos is one of safety and enjoyment for all participants while enjoying the scenic routes of Mayo’s mountains and lakes.”
He also highlighted the high proportion of participants who return each year, many from cycling clubs around the country, as well as groups of friends, family groups and charity fundraisers, and added: “It’s great to see the successful collaboration of the Westport Covey Wheelers and Western Lakes Cycling Club in running this event while supporting Make a Wish Foundation.”
Special Early Bird offers are available at registration. Participants who avail of the early bird offer will receive a free Westportif-branded cycling top. There are also special rates available for groups of ten or more. Visit www.westportif.ie for more details and to book your place.