Sportif (160 km route)
It sets out from the bustling town of Westport and heads west along the R335 taking in the breathtaking views of Ireland’s famous mountain Croagh Patrick on the left and the 365 islands of Clew Bay on the right.
The route passes through the scenic small town of Louisburg turning left onto the R335 continues south towards the spectacular and picturesque Doolough Valley. Here the cyclists can take in the stunning views of Mweelrea (Connaughts highest mountain) which dominates the landscape and the dramatic beauty of Doolough Lake which translates as the “Black Lake”.
After the valley, cyclists will get a well-earned food stop at Delphi Adventure Centre which is at the 38 km mark before continuing.
They travel another 5 km along Ireland’s only fjord “Killary Fjord” where majestic views await on all sides leading into Ashleigh Falls and beyond this point the two routes separate with the long route going right towards leenane village where the movie “The Field” was filmed.
With 5 categorised climbs, the 160 km route will offer a good test for all riders. This challenging route takes participants to Leenane with a spectacular cycle along the right hand side of Killary Forde with Mweelrea mountain looming ahead (the highest mountain in Connacht), it makes for postcard views of the mouth of Killary Forde, Irelands only fjord and the deepest in Europe.
The route passes the popular K2 hostel before turning inland and heading down the Innagh valley in the shadow of Maamturks. After taking a left in Recess towards Maam Cross, this where the climbing starts with a moderate pull to Maam.
After a quick food stop we turn left at Maam Bridge for the village of Kilmilkin with the 2 short sharp climbs of Ail Dubh and Maam Transna in quick succession.
With all the climbing out of the way we will take a break for our last refreshment stop at Paddy’s bar along the shores of Lough Mask in Tourmakeady. This will be your last chance to catch your breath before the final 25km back to Westport where the world famous night life awaits.