The Wild Mayo 650 Ultra starts in the adventure capital of Ireland Westport; the route leaves the bustling coastal town and hugs the coast line to the surfer’s paradise Mecca of Louisburgh before returning inland to take on the first of many magnificent climbs!
First up and not long into the event we have “The Maum”, with 5 vicious ramps of over 20% gradient. Next, it’s onto the Shreffrey pass, halfway up you can look back over your left shoulder and see the stunning valley to Westport, and once you crest the top it has the most beautiful descent down to the shores of Doolough Lake.
Then on we go through the “Doolough Valley” before passing the spectacular “Ashleigh Falls”. Zipp through the picturesque village of Leenane where much of the movie “The Field” was made! From here we move inland to start climbing the 3 sisters, “Leenane Hill”, “Aíl Duíl” and “Maam Trasna”. Now you have a flat spin along the lakeshore of Lough Mask which brings you to the village of Tourmakeady. From here you have a slog up and over “Lally’s Mountain” (nicknamed after the famous actor Mick Lally because his home house is at the foot of the pass).
Once off Lally’s we take a break from the mountains and onto the winding back roads of South Mayo, this is where your crew and navigation skills will be hugely important.
First up you will pass through the oldest town in the county called Ballinrobe and just down the road hugging the border is the quiet man village of Cong with the majestic Ashford castle nestled in the trees.
Then we wind along the Galway border with limestone walls on either side, this should give you a break from the wind. Heading East the tiny village of Irishtown is famed as the home of the Land league huge history here so worth doing a google. The town of Ballyhanuis is the biggest town in East Mayo and the village of Kilmovee is the most easterly village of the course with history dating back to before 545AD, the village boasts to have 7 Caiseals (Round stone fort) with the largest in Connacht beside its local football field. Knock and Knock airport are all close by if you feel like a visit. Visit https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/ for more history and geography on the county of Mayo.
Not long before Balina we have the OX Mountains and picturesque “Lough Talt”. We descend into Ballina and join up with the “Wild Atlantic Way” for the second time on the route! We use the Humbert way (Year of the French 1798) to take us to Killala (another fishing village) where you skip along the shore with the beautiful Lacken beaches in view. Every now and then you will see signs for Tir Saile, it’s a sculpture trail on the North coast of Mayo more info herehttps://www.northmayoarttrail.com/en/home-english.
Along the North Coast of Mayo there is so much nature on display, from Downpatrick head (Dun Briste sea stack) “Ceide Fields” Belderg, Pulathomas, and “Carrowteige”! that a few days is warranted to go back and discover.
Mother nature will play her part from here on too, cycling against the brutal west or the onshore wind and then the exposed coastal roads will be mentally, spiritually and energy draining.
You tip into Belmullet and down along the Mullet peninsula to Blacksod lighthouse, out in the ocean are the infamous Black Rocks (Rescue 116 crash site) will be visible on the Fallmore loop. Make your way back to Belmullet but not before we give you a look at Cross lake and beach.
The trip south takes you along the hidden gem that is “Carrowmore Lake” between Barnatra and Bangor. The wild open roads with raw beauty either side when passing through the Ballycroy national park on the way to Mullraney is really something!
We go West again but this time we take the road less traveled by going around the Corraun peninsula loop to Achill Sound.
Achill is rich with beauty spots, the “Atlantic Drive” is the first one with the powerful views of Atlantic sea on your left, then we hit the highest point on the route as we climb up to the super impressive Minuan Heights! Minaun, which stands at 415m above sea level with many sections of the climb over 25% gradient! This is a real leg breaker.
The spin down to Keem bay will be hair raising but beautiful, the road climbs up along the cliff edge with the sea falling away below you, it’s a hard climb in and out, but well worth it.
Your furthest point west in Achill is the world famous “Keem Beach”, this is your turnaround point and now you are facing for home but we do this via Dugort beach! The rest of the route back to Westport should be a chance to contemplate what you have achieved and will give you a chance to soak up all of what the stunning “Wild Mayo Ultra” has to offer a cyclist.
It’s still over 35k left but after what you have just been through it will be a piece of cake!
Lastly we couldn’t let you go home without taking you off the main road one last time and experiencing the beautiful road through the Furnace lakes just outside Newport!
The last 13k to the finish will be probably be on the smoothest road you will have cycled on since you started the ultra and with Croagh Patrick looming in the distance what a better way to finish an event! You have the iconic mountain to guide you home!!
What you will have achieved if you complete the route:
Distance covered : 650k
Meters climbed: Over 6500m
Visited virtually every beauty and tourist icon in Mayo
Have the experience of a life time!!
The event is open to solo racers, 2-person, and up to 4 person teams. While the event is open to everyone the solo category is aimed at experienced ultra athletes, the team categories are open to cyclists of all abilities. Racers in the team categories cycle in a relay format (not in a pair/team of four together, etc) with frequency of change over being at the discretion of the team and crew. All riders must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
Crews must be a minimum of 2 persons and adhere to all the rules and regulations of our event. Their main objective is to make sure their riders follow the correct route and are safely supported along the way.
By using the most iconic climbs and the Mayo part of the “Wild Atlantic Way” this route is EPIC!
For those who want to experience Mayo but on a shorter route try out our 300k..
Go Explore Wild Mayo