Mayo Ultra 300km
My story with cycling is very simple, I love the freedom of it, jumping up on the bike and cycling for hours.
I don’t get to cycle as often as I like, given that I’m a single mum with 2 young daughters so I must optimise my babysitting requests
I don’t have the time to train to race and I don’t think I have the head for that type of pressure so I tried a few different events to find what appealed to me most.
I found I loved the long distance challenges and signed up for Mondello24 last year to see how much did I actually like long distance – turns out I loved that
When I came across the Wild Mayo Ultra I thought long and hard about it, the Mondello track is quite different to the open roads and hills of Mayo!!
I signed up for the 300km none the less, I trained as much as I could combining cycling, running, swimming and weight training and on the day I was ready as I was ever going to be.
One rule I’ve heard time and time again is DONT DEVIATE FROM YOUR DIET THE NIGHT BEFORE AN EVENT
Myself and my girls thought we would be ok with a healthy meal in a restaurant after registration on Saturday the night before. I was wrong and the three of us were sick all night My dodgy stomach still wasn’t going to stop me doing this event though!!
I was obviously dehydrated, and by 70km I had my two bottles drained when I came across a pub I practically Ran in – the lady owner refilled my bottles and gave me a packet of silver mints for my journey
I was doing well by 210 km – but I was a bit haunted by having been repeatedly told Minaun was my beast and I kept reflecting after every hill “was that it” – @210km I came face to face with the beast!!
I had a head wind the whole way and turning up this mountain I now had crosswinds to help me climb a wall!! I was going so slow my bike was nearly rolling backwards and my muscles were cramping forcing me to stop and walk! Having to get off the bike I think blows my confidence- so I was feeling a bit defeated then.
Getting down tested my triceps as I tried not to get blown clean off the mountain or crash into sheep who were wandering and running across my path randomly – why can’t sheep be predictable?! The highlight of my whole cycle was getting off that mountain
Got a bit of a kick back when I thought I was nearing the home stretch after having faced the beast only to realise I’d another mountain to climb – not only that – I’d to go down it- turn around and come back over it Oh was I feeling sorry for myself then
At 230km I couldn’t believe all I’d done and all the time that had passed and I still had 70km to go, on the way towards Achill sound, I got the fright of my life when I heard boy races flying behind me, the sound of the cars scared the S… out of me, I could here them coming for ages, it sounded like they had sewer pipes for exhausts, when they passed my nerves were gone, They passed so close, the noise, I was alone, I was defenceless and I felt so vulnerable, the darkness had descended and night was creeping in –
Then if things weren’t bad enough my thoughts all of a sudden start thinking of that dark film of 2022 the Banshees of Inisherin, the cruelty of that film got me thinking here I am all alone on this wind swept island, my kids at home and me trying to do 300k on a bike…Christ for what.. and just like that an angel appeared…Mary one of the organisers came up behind me, she pulled up beside me in the car and asked did I went anything, I gratefully accepted a banana and some coke and the company – no one talks about how lonely it is out there!! The kindness shown by Mary was invitation for my tears to flow and consider getting a lift home!! I didn’t want a lift after coming this far but I’m not sure if she offered would I’d decline it, but I should have known better Mary’s pedigree would not allow me or her to ask and we never said a word but I knew what was on the table… She came out to make sure I finished, but never spoke a word of doubt.. she was my guardian angle for the night…
Mary shone the lights of the car behind me so I could see where I was going and it made me feel so much safer from the other traffic, she shouted at me as we neared the finish – only 20km left only 10km left I mean you couldn’t ask for better support, and I honestly loved not feeling alone!!
The trials and tribulations, the self criticism and self doubt all faded as I could see the haze of lights of Westport, I felt hugely emotional, bouts of pride for attempting it at all, the scenery, the support and the course— all and all I can sum it up as an experience of a lifetime!! I am thoroughly delighted to have completed the challenge, not as quick as I’d have liked but I don’t think I could have done better at my current level.
I drink out of my finishers mug every day to remind myself- I did it!! Everyday is a fight but on May 13th 2023, I won my battle against the Wild Mayo Ultra…
Thank you to all the team