Westport, known as the adventure capital of Ireland, will be abuzz this weekend as it hosts the second edition of the Wild Mayo Ultra – an ultra-cycling weekend with three fantastic events on routes around the county that will aim to push the competitors to their limits!
The routes use the majestic Mayo coastline and county border roads, passing through iconic beauty spots which take the participants on a historic tour of Mayo’s gems.
This event is not for the faint-hearted, it really is ‘Ultra’. In fact, from once the competitors in the 650-kilometre race begin their event at 4pm on Friday afternoon, they’ll be competing right through the night and not expected to reach the finish line until between 6pm and 11pm on Saturday night – so if you spot a cyclist in high viz and lit up like a Christmas tree then it’s sure to be an Ultra participant.
The Wild Mayo Ultra route leaves Westport and visits Louisborgh, Killeen, Drummin, Ashleigh Falls, Leenane, Finny, Tourmakeady, Killawalla, Ballinrobe, Cong (via the Clonbur Road), Cross, Shrule, Irishtown, Ballyhanuis, Kilmovee, Carracastle, Bonniconlon, Ballina, Killala, Lacken, Ballycastle, Belderrig, Bellanaboy, Pulathomas, Barnatra, Belmullet, Blacksod, Barnatra (for the second time), Ballycroy, Mulranny, Corraun, Achill sound, Atlantic drive to Minaun Heights, Keel, Keem Bay with the final section straight back to Starting outside The Mariner Hotel on Mill Street in Westport, participants have to negotiate the routes cycling completely solo. The 650k route covers every nook and cranny of the county’s border, scaling the highest mountains with a total elevation gain of 6500 metres. All participants have to use a GPS device to navigate the route, descending down boreens, back roads and on the roads less travelled. The event really is an adventure of exploration and sightseeing making it a lifetime achievement when completed.
On Saturday morning, there are 200k and 300k events that will also mean full days in the saddle. The 200k route navigates through the Newport Furnace lakes, the Wild Nephin drive, North West Mayo, and over most of the Achill hills. The 300k event takes in all that plus the North Mayo coast where sights like Downpatrick Head and the Ceide Fields will be stunning.
Full details of the route and time schedules are on www.raceface.ie.