The 160km takes in a very big climb at 135km. If your legs are tired there is a flat option on the way home, see here:
There is a cut off time for the 160km route. If cyclist are not in Leenane by 12.00pm, marshals will direct them to a 120km route, see here:
This route starts and finishes at the same place, The Towers Bar and Restaurant, The Quay Westport.
The 160km cycle with 5 categorised climbs will offer a good test for all riders. Remember the biggest climb is at the end of the day, so conserve your energy wisely.
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.
Croagh Patrick as seen from Westport Quay. Pic: Fáilte Ireland
The route passes through the scenic small town of Louisburgh continuing along the coast toward Killeen where cyclists will take a left towards Cregganbaun. This where you will hit your first effort so watch out, its a nice little hill/drag to warm up the legs.
You will then take a right onto the R335 (main Louisburgh to Leenane road) and continue south towards the spectacular and picturesque Doolough Valley.
After the valley, you will get a well-earned food stop at Glen Keen Farm which is at the 35 km mark.
After you refuel at you will travel another 12 km along Ireland’s only fjord “Killary Fjord” where majestic views await leading to Ashleigh Falls before before turning right towards Leenane with a spectacular cycle along the right hand side of Killary Fjord.
Continuing through Leenane with the Mweelrea mountain looming ahead (the highest mountain in Connacht), it makes for postcard views of the mouth of Killary Fjord, Irelands only fjord and the deepest in Europe.
The second noticeable real drag of the cycle finishes at the K2 Hostel (about 2 km long) before you will turn inland and head through 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, which will bring on the first categorized climb.
The second food stop is the community center in Maam at the 106 km mark.
After leaving Maam you will 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 (both catagorised climbs, I might add!).
You will take a break for the last refreshment stop at O’Tooles Bar (138km) 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.
Just when you thought you were in the final stretch we have introduced the biggest climb of the day. A category 3 climb awaits so you will have to leave some energy in the tank.
Riders have options here, you can take on the monster climb of Lally’s mountain or you can take a flat route home.
Which ever route you choose follow the signs and you end up on the Westport – Leenane road contimue towards Westport town turning left down the Quay Hill towards The Towers Bar and Restaurant, The Quay Westport.
Please be careful and vigilant as Westport will be very busy with traffic and tourists.
A warm welcome and refreshments are awaiting you at the new Westportif Food Village where you can reflect on a great days cycling.
Rest, rehydrate, refuel and then get your dancing pants on, the town and amazing nightlife of Westport awaits you.