The Wild Mayo Ultra attracted a very niche breed of cyclist to Westport for 72hours on the weekend of July 23 to 25th. The numbers partaking were small but each brought their own support crews, supporters and family members to cajole them around the route.
The Wild Mayo Ultra had 2 events running simultaneously, the 300k was for those new to Ultra cycling, the route was still considered very tough as it packed a fair punch with over 310m of elevation gain for every 30kms covered. The route whizzed along the North and West coastlines finishing back in buzzing Westport.
The 650k event was a completely different proposition, taking in a full lap of the county border and coastline, with every mountain and hill that a road climbs over whilst passing a host of iconic beauty spots, this route wasn’t for the faint hearted as it included the best of what Mayo has to offer a cyclist.
650K Route – Relentless But Beautiful
Meath man Paul Caldwell chewed up the 650k route in a mere 26hrs to blow the opposition away. An endurance junkie, he set a new Irish record on his mountain bike for an out and back bid on the Wicklow Way, 6 weeks prior to his champion performance in Mayo. Paul also did something similar on what’s known as the Ireland divide, an off road path from the Beara peninsula in Co Cork to Belcoo in Co Fermanagh again unsupported. Thriving on pain and misery, he considered the Mayo 650 route as “something of pure beauty where he felt Euphoric at times.”
Rachel Nolan the queen of endurance in Mayo and indeed in Ireland, pushed Paul hard early on but had to back off a bit due to Paul’s unrelenting pace.. Relentless in her pursuit, the Ballina fearless rider set a blistering pace for 650k fighting tooth and nail to hold off the challenge of Darragh Delaney (Claremorris) who gradually came into his own as the hours passed, this was Darragh’s first 24 hour race and he acquitted himself admirably.
300km – Blitzing The Route In Scorching Heat
Aichlinn O Reilly from Kilmeena, Westport blitzed around the 300k route in a time of 9hrs 36minutes at an unbelievable average speed of 31.5 kilometres per hour. This was some feat considering the hot and sticky temperatures that exceeded 27 degrees for most of the day. The majority of the climbing was in the second half of the route in Achill providing plenty of punishment for those who started fast.
Aihclinn’s pace never dropped, he may have struggled on Minaun Heights with gears that were not low enough as he underestimated the steepness of the climb (20% plus for 2kms) but once over the top he ploughed on home at a blistering speed.
Second home was Carramore man Shaun Barnicle of Western Lakes CC who despite his tender age and lack of experience completed the route in 10hours 21minutes.
Third home was Cavan man Mervyn Kinkade in 10hours 32minutes, Mervan only a few weeks earlier set a new record for the Joe Barr 200 distance and was very much the favourite to take the Champions jersey on the day.
For most of the participants and especially those from around the country the Wild Mayo Ultra 300k was all about completing the route, if the opportunity arose where they could enjoy the views they took it and savoured the whole experience. Over half the 300k field did the event unsupported with organisers making provisions for mobile support along the way.
The Wild Mayo Ultra organisers are extremely grateful to the Mariner hotel, Westport’s newest Boutique hotel for hosting the event headquarters for the entire weekend and to Mayo.ie, Destination Westport, Primal event timing and prize sponsors Marrey Bikes and Westport Bike shop for supporting the event.
Mayo Ultra will be back in April 2022.
Everyone remarked how beautiful county Mayo is, the unique route brought them to areas that wouldn’t be mainstream tourist hotspots and one can be sure participants will be back again to explore in detail the route and anything else they missed whilst racing around Wild Mayo. The 2022 edition of the event will return in April for another epic adventure in Mayo.
Mayo 650 Ultra – https://live.primaltracking.com/mayo650ultra21/
Mayo Furnace 300 – https://live.primaltracking.com/mayofurnace21/