Sean Mulligan – Bohermeen Cycling Club – Wild May 300Km – Solo – Unsupported
14th May 2022 – “looked around, couldn’t see anyone to moan too so had to shut up and get on
I Didn’t really go to Mayo with any major expectations. A little hope and confirmation that my training was
working the last few months or at least nearly on track with a few adjustments after, with the worse case
scenario, I’d get a confirmation that I needed to give up cycling altogether.
Mayo 300 Solo Unsupported was part of my training for 555 Solo, “sure if I can do a tough 300 solo
unsupported then, surely I’d be able to take on 555 with a decent crew behind me”. Mondello24 2021 and
RAI 2018 were races where I was part of team, but Mayo was my first solo timed race, which really was more
a test of the head and partly of the body.
Delighted to be heading off early 7:03am (2nd rider out) with no town traffic, nobody around at the start line
to ask too many questions or remind you of the task ahead. While all mean well, sometimes it’s better to
hear nothing. Quietly chatting away to Darragh Byrne who was out first at 7am and before we knew it, we
were both gone, no hassle or no big hurray.
Had a noticeable and nice side-tail and tailwind heading over Nephin Drive which was great to allow me
settle into race and find a nice rhythm where you could actually forget about racing or chasing and just
pedal. On a long day I’d never properly settle until 40 or 50km so anxious to get to that marker. Caught
sight of Darragh a few times over Nephin, but no chasing. Always reminding yourself “long day ahead!”.
The tailwind party ended in Ballycastle!… Turning left in Ballycastle was the start of a 30km head-side wind.
While winds were not very high off the bike, on the bike and out on that north coast of Mayo wide open you
could feel every bit of it. No riders past me and probably only seen max 2 or 3 cars so felt like a long 30km
battling away trying to keep the head down as much as possible and the food and drink going in.
Turning right heading out to Pulathomas, I was like a new man. I knew I only had a small number of kms of
shelter, but I enjoyed it. Martin Divilly pasted me at 107km, flying it. He looked like a man on a mission, we
gave our salutes and I gave him a good cheer on up the road, out of sight in a matter of minutes!.
I had it set in my head to make my first water stop in Barnatra (120km) so spent the last few Kms finishing up
the water I had. Was anxious not to cool down, not so much about wasting time but kept the water stop to
approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Plan was to top up both water bottles knowing I had 40km spin to Mulranney
where I could refill again. Ideally, I needed to empty the 2 waters in that 40km which I more or less did.
Passing Carrowmore Lough was rough with bad surfaces but not the worst with head-side winds, small
amount of shelter on the right. Lovely 3km tailwind into Bangor (133Km). All hell broke loose once I turned
right in Bangor. Back into a brutal headwind (wasn’t surprised, I knew it was coming) I did wonder why do
we put ourselves through this stuff, not sure I put it as politely at the time tho!!. There really was just no let
up from Bangor to Mulranney. The only thing keeping me going was knowing that I’d have a small break in
Mulranney so spent that Bangor to Mulranney stretch trying to finish all my food and drink as much as
possible always telling myself, still “long day ahead!”. Passed 1 or 2 (200Km Race) lads on that road, a few
hellos and on I go.
Mulranney stop was welcomed (164Km), tried to keep time to a minimum, think it was 6 or 7 minutes max.
Refill of the water, restock of sambos, bars and bananas which I had ready. Change of gloves, got a small
face wash down. Forgot to pack my own sunscreen, robbed some of Darragh Byrnes, thanks Darragh!. Kept
the sun for the bald head!, felt like a new man! It’s the little things that keep you going.
Mary, Padraig and all the crew were on hand with whatever we needed which was super. Stayed away from
the sugar drinks and sweets offered. It would have been easy to accept after a 165Km and 30km headwind
but sugar wasn’t in the plan so needed to stick to what the stomach was used to! I knew the next 110km
was going to be toughest of the day with the majority of climbing and already having 6 hours in the legs.
Headed off with the mindset of pedal and settle back into the next 4 to 5 hours. Minaun was always in the
back of the mind (209km) and while I wasn’t worried about it, I did hope to hit it relatively fresh with no food
or drink issues so spent the 40km Mulranney to Minaun eating and drinking plenty. Legs were never really an
issue until closer to home.
Day had warmed up heading for Minaun, sun was out, place looked amazing! I actually enjoyed the views
briefly!… Wasn’t long before I heard a rider behind me, Donnacha Curttris. Good chat with Donnacha, the
amazing views, how we were feeling! The food stop, Donnacha was buzzing from Coke and Jelly babies! So
was in super form!. The chat was welcomed as we hadn’t seen anyone on the roads all day so just the chats
and banter was a change. Soon after he headed on up the road with our goodbyes, best of luck, chat later!
Caught up again with Donnacha at the bottom of the Minuan climb (209Km), Minuan is probably toughest
for the first stretch not so bad after that. Plan was to just pedal it out regardless of how fast or slow!.
Donnacha stayed and chatted a bit but soon after headed on up, no bother to him!… Half way up, Darragh
Byrne was descending with a good big smile!.. Soon after Donnacha was descending. Met a lad at the
turnaround on Minaun who told me I was in 4th position!… Laughed and thanked him but told him that I’d
rather have not known that!. Descending was smooth for me and passed Jerry McCarthy who was climbing
and he was flying up it at that!
Thankfully positioning in the race never really entered the head all day but was aware of the 300Km Solo
Unsupported only 2 lads, Martin and Donnacha passed me.
Once down from Minaun I knew I was in good form (or more so) I thought I would have been worse after the
climb but no, the body was ready for the head-side winds out to Keem. Was probably dreading the climb
into and out of Keem more than Minuan. I had it in my head once I turn back in Keem, I was on the home run
with 65km to go so really just anxious to start that home run 65km!.
Spin out to Keem and climbing back out didn’t actually turn out too bad. Lots of cars and rider activity, had
made another water stop after Minaun so well stocked with Water and Food and was making my way
through it. Small turn around circle on the ground in Keem which I took way to sharp and nearly fell over!
Rookie mistake..lol.. Morto, as there was a crowd there..lol.!!.. Jerry McCarthy crew checked in on me
coming out of Keem to see did I need anything so fair play to them!.
Was starting to feel the day in the body on the run home after 240Km but kept the pedals turning, telling the
head SHUT UP some more, looked around, couldn’t see anyone to moan too so had to shut up and get on with
While I wouldn’t normally opt for sugar options on any ride, I did say If Mary (crew at food stop) was still in Mulranney at
270Km, I’d do a water fill and possibly a can of coke!.. She was just leaving, I was in time and in luck, she
topped up the water, gave me a can of coke and pocket full of jellys.
Tailwind from Mulranney + Can of coke + Pocket full of jellys, I was a new man and ready to do another lap!!!
Spin home was a breeze from there!.. Through Newport and heading for the greenway traffic lights. While I
wasn’t looking for a position, I did want to finish within the 11 to 12 hours so was well within the 12 hours.
Jumped onto the Greenway and met up with Mickey Hall who was finishing his 650, amazing work from
Mickey and all those 650 lads, quick chat with Mickey and he followed me in the greenway route. Caught up
with Donnacha 200mtrs from finish as he had a puncture but was easier for him to keep going, fair play to
Thankfully crossed over finish line with Mickey and Donnacha soon after!. Was great to meet both at the
The route was tough and windy. The climbs were great, but you had to be ready. A lot of the day for myself
was keeping the mind occupied and keeping the doubts out of the head. Legs never really gave up, upper
body & back needs some strength work. Never got hungry or thirsty so happy that food and fluids were
plenty on the day. Kept my stoppage all day to 23 minutes which I was happy with, had hoped it would be
Overall couldn’t have asked a better outcome for a 1st solo race. Delighted with 4th in the end but was just
happy to finish.
Padraig, Bryan, Mary and all the crew were a great help, makes a big difference to know, yes, it’s a race and
you shouldn’t be here if you can’t do it yourself but if things went wrong, there’s a team there to help where
Caught up with some great people and riders I knew previously and met some of the new competitors who
no doubt we’ll cross paths in the future.
Was great to represent Bohermeen Cycling Club and for the club to have 3 riders race!… Will promote event
for sure, as mentioned to Padraig, when promoting I’ll be honest and tell people it’s brutal, but it’s worth it!