Back in the 1990’s, down tube gears, narrow saddles, and even narrower tyres were all the craz, people cycled everywhere with little more than a cap on their heads. It’s hard to believe that cycling helmets had only been introduced into the Professional peloton. All those years with huge pelotons, manic bunch sprints and not one of them wore a hard shell helmet.

The country was coming out of lean times and cycling wasn’t a popular sport, especially after a terrible 1998 tour. The tour started in Dublin and ended in a fiasco when drugs were found in a team car at a ferry port in Belgium. It has since transpired that drugs were ruining our sport! The Kelly / Roche era had been forgotten and a cycling club was been formed in the small South Mayo town of Ballinrobe.

Western Lakes Cycling Club was founded in the winter of 1998 but it was 1999 before we got affiliated to the National Governing body, now called Cycling Ireland.

Eight friends (John Halloran, John Holian (RIP), JJ Flaherty, Dessie Woods, Paul Maguire, Eamon Marrey, Noel Gibbons and Padraig Marrey) set up a club to cater for the cycling needs of South Mayo and the West Galway region.

The late John Holian was the club’s first chairman; he gave us the use of his car so it could be used as the club’s first team car.

Since its foundation in 1999, our membership has grown to over 160 members. We have always been known as a cluster club, we have pods of cyclist littered everywhere from Clifden/Renvyle to Shrule, Partry & Hollymount with Ballinrobe the hub.

You might ask why the name Western Lakes Cycling Club? Well it came from a number of reasons, first, most of us lived near a lake and with the whole area being associated with the “Lake District” (an organisation for promoting tourism and enterprise in South Mayo) and with the club based in the West it was just a case of combining the two.

Ballinrobe is beautifully situated in the middle of a cluster of lakes or Loughs called The Mask, Corrib and Carra, for any cyclist there is a great sense of achievement just to cycle around any of these beautiful loughs.

1999- 2002

With the club barely formed and under the leadership of Eamon Marrey we set about putting Western Lakes CC and Ballinrobe on the map by first looking to host a stage of the infamous FBD RasTailteann and secondly securing that bid. Bringing over 500 riders, managers, helpers and supporters to the town for a night in May was some feat by the bunch of novices.

Main street Ballinrobe was going to be the finishing straight for a peloton of nearly 200 riders, local man Padraig Marrey was hoping to be the star of the show!! riding for the Hire Equip team from county Kildare but his ambitions were dashed a long way from home with a serious of mishaps… The stage winner was David McCann who went on to win with a solo effort. The following day was to Sligo, Padraig got the chance to redeem himself which you can watch here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZWVFZwAaVU “see Ballinrobe stage end from 2 min 09 seconds on”.

This was now the standard, leisure spins, youth skills and a host of competitive events brought scantily clad lycra cyclist of all shapes and sizes to the area, ex footballers and rugby players got in on the act too.

Looking for something adventurous to aspire to, these new enthusiastic  members were mad for road,  an idea was floated… Why don’t we try and cycle the length of the country!!! The goal was set (680k Mizen head to Malin Head), and for the next 5 months elaborate training plans were hatched so that everyone would be fit enough to complete the challenge. Most of the spring of 2002 was spent getting men in rugby and football shorts converted to lycra. Getting them used to the saddle was a whole different ball game! The road was the new football pitch, miles were the new terminology, and the game had changed. There were no more balls, just bikes!

A few recce spins in June and July told their own stories, training plans were great but practice was another thing altogether. The crew were in poor shape…

Against all the odds, the poor accommodation, faulty speedometers, spluttery vans and cars, the strong headwinds and at times even hail stones. There was lashings of sudacream and a huge amount of sacrifice, the group of 16 made the 680k trip a huge success. The club collected a small fortune en-route putting all the coins into a large galvanised garbage bin that they couldn’t lift out .. it was OK as it all went to charity.

https://westernlakescc.com/2012/08/30/western-lakes-cyclist-tackle-mizen-to-malin/

Seamus Maloney’s account of the 2002 M2M

“We set off for what I thought would have been one of the biggest cycling challenges I have ever undertaken; most people said we were mad, and I nearly agreed with them but a challenge was set and who were we to refuse it, especially when it was all in aid of a good cause.

It turned out to be the most rewarding 3 days spent with a group of 16 guys along with a big fund raising crew, the craic was 90 and just full of encouragement all the way to the finish by everyone involved. Myself and good mate Pat Grimes (both novice cyclists at the time) learnt that a ‘leisurely spin’ from Mizen to Malin is possible when the company is good. Don’t get me wrong we were challenged along the way, day 1 saw 175 miles clocked (we were told it was 175k), day 2 the head was feeling down but we covered 155 miles and on day 3 when the hail poured down on us in Donegal, I thought we might never see what Malin head looked like but we got there in the end. We had a great celebration I think …I was drunk after the first pint, I suppose the 436 miles took its toll.

With the opposite direction planned the following year it wasn’t too hard a job to convince us to do it again for the Blazzing saddles and NCBI charity. For anyone who does not know Padraic Marrey the consensus is ‘leisurely spin’ does not come into his vocabulary!”

2003-2006

This was the Celtic Tiger era for the club, in these years the club built up monster numbers in our youth ranks with weekly skills and road sessions; the club was getting a name for itself winning numerous national titles across an array of age groups.

In 2004 we brought a new kind of cycling event to Ballinrobe called Cycling superstars, this was a national championship. The name changed in 2005 to Talent Spot. The championship was like a decathlon for cycling, participants had to be good at cycling skills and maneuvering around an obstacle course, have exceptional explosive power which was tested with a short timed sprint. To top it off be good at controlling their bikes at speed on a slippery grass track loop.The winner who accumulated the most points from the three disciplines would make the podium.

The club still pursued more leisure cycle challenges, this time with a Malin to Mizen effort. Going this was way was supposed to be downhill… 

More ideas were floated, this time why not go from the most Easterly to the most Westerly points so the Carnasore Point to Erris Head challenge was invented for another 3 day epic cycling adventure, guys talkng to cows, arses covered in white cream! that 3 days seen a lot of unthinkables or was in untalkables …

The racers were up and down the country winning prizes and representing the club in valour!

We were lucky to get our hands on an auld factory building on the Kilmaine road. With the help of the Ballinrobe scouts we secured a lease from Mayo County Council that we have to this day.

03 to 06 Martin Munroe and Willy Connolly were regulars on Irish teams both on the road and in the velodrome. Martin even got to race the European Youth Olympics in Paris in 2003; a great achievement for any cyclist.

Loads of youngsters cycled and raced their bikes locally, and the lifelong activity of cycling was becoming infectious.

http://www.irishcycling.com/web/publish/roadnews/Martin_Munroe_goes_to_World_Cycling_Centre_1622.shtml 

http://westernlakescc.kk5.org/william-connolly-interview/4527968075
 

In 2006 Padraig Marrey and Mary Mulchrone dipped their toes into Ultra cycling for the first time, when they both completed the Mizen head to Malin Head in under 22hrs (non-stop).

Later that year Padraig Marrey had caught the bug and went on a solo bid to break the record from Mizen Head to Fair Head (the two furthest apart points that can be cycled in Ireland) with an incredible time of 17:49hrs. That record still stands...

http://www.irishcycling.com/web/publish/ss-local/MARREY_SETS_NEW_MIZEN_HEAD_TO_FAIR_HEAD_RECORD_2015.shtml

2007-2011

These were lean years for the club. Our youth program went quite for whatever reason? The country was coming into a recession and money was scarce.

In 2007 we built the BMX track at the Cycling Centre, we even got the great Sean Kelly to ride around it on his racer.

"King of the Mountain" Sean Kelly tries out the new BMX track at Ballinrobe.Photo: © Michael Donnelly

The aim was to have another stepping stone for our youth members. A discipline of cycling that looked exciting was BMX, and that fitted the bill nicely.

BMX was to be an Olympic sport in 2008 so we wanted to capitalise on it.

 
http://www.irishcycling.com/web/publish/offroad/NEW_BMX_TRACK_FOR_BALLINROBE_3488.shtml  

In 2008 the Professional Tour of Ireland was back on the cycling calendar. Eamon Marrey pulled another rabbit out of the hat and got one of the five stage starts for Ballinrobe. Considering the town didn’t have the accommodation or infrastructure to hold such an event, this was a master stroke.

A yellow jersey clad Mark Cavendish led the race for Team Columbia from Ballinrobe, looking through the results it’s amazing to see the stars that were in our home town that day.

See from 1:27hrs onwards https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4loyqklLLk

The Western Covey League kicked off in the summer of 2008, the idea was to tier riders by using a handicap system. The stronger riders were put back X amount of minutes with the aim of all riders finishing together. This didn’t happen often though; it was great training for everyone. Most were encouraged to try out the open racing scene for the first time.

This league nurtured some great talent for both clubs and helped build a great relationship with the Covies. The league is still going strong today, 12 years on.

Above the Western Lakes CC team and Mary Mulchrone at the last round in Swinford,  Mary with the help of her team won the Connacht cycling league, she was and believe still is the only woman to win that league against male competition. 

In 2009 we were back cycling the length of the country but with a specific Goal in mind, the challenge was to cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head as fast as possible with a group. Western Lakes CC organised the challenge and had 7 of the 18 riders in our club colours, plus all the backup crew. It was completed in 18:53 which was some feat when you look back at it. It is still the record for a group today…

2011-2014

Looking back, this was the Ras Tailteann era. An Post sponsored the event for 8 years. Once they came on board the race’s profile increased significantly.

A stage end of the 2012 route was announced for Westport. That was the catalyst the racers in the club needed... The Goal was announced Western Lakes were going to put a team in the race. All types of favors were pulled, sponsors, cars, vans and accommodation were all summoned for the project. The aim was simple, get to the start line and be ready to duke it out with some of the brightest stars in the sport. Teams could only enter under the county from where the riders were from, so with the help of Centra as a main sponsor, Team Mayo Centra was born. For three golden years Western Lakes fielded the Mayo Centra Team, what a unique experience for all involved and a huge Thanks to Gary Higgins Centra for making this happen.

In 2012 Mark Cavendish was after winning the Green Jersey in the Giro d’Italia but Donal Harrington from the Mayo Centra ras team took the front cover of Cycling Weekly (a UK Magazine). He also got a 4 page spread on the inside of his journey in cycling.

The photos from that 2012 Ras are still doing the rounds such was the extent that people associated the Mayo Centra team as the real county team of the event!

In 2012 we built a great event with the Covies called Westportif. Using the tourist town of Westport and the know how and infrastructure from our experienced Western Lakes CC members, the event grew to be a thee go-to event for all leisure riders nationally.

Another great event was born in 2012 called The Ladies Sportif. The brainchild of Fergal O Neill, Andrea Heneghan and Marie Fraser the idea was that there were only ladies aloud to enter but there was a little twist, the men of the club had to do all the behind the scenes stuff, like sign on, marshal, look after breakdowns and man the food stops. The event was one of the first only lady events for cycling that now is a trend for the sport.

In the summer of 2012 the BMX track was revamped with a new starting gate and ramp. Over 200 tons of materials was shaped by Shane Gilligan in his digger along with the help of a few committed members. The new makeover completely re shaped the track making great use of an old container donated by Tim Kelly ltd this doubled up as a starting ramp and storage area. Flood lights were installed and now the track could be used during the dark winter months. 

Stephen Clancy former Pro BMX rider from Dublin came down to test his skills at the opening of the Western Lakes BMX track.
Pic Conor McKeown

Martin Joyce got the leisure scene back on the road with another 3 day effort of Mizen to Malin.

Also in 2012 the Hollymount Wheelers group formed their own branch of the Western Lakes CC reuniting some of the older members with their original roots.

Articles

https://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/the-men-of-the-ras-they-were-absolutely-out-of-it-they-could-hardly-even-look-up/
https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/othersport/arid-20231628.html
https://www.mayonews.ie/sports/12400-man-plans-to-cycle-route-of-tour-de-france

2014-2017

In 2014 for whatever reason the racing side of the club slowed. Most members of the club really got into the leisure scene especially Sportifs (Leisure events with numerous food stops…).

In an effort to get more members racing we started our own club league, based on the format of the Western/ Covey league. With members now multiplying in Clifden (Twelve Bens) and with the (Hollies) in Hollymount plus a scattering more from around the South Mayo area the league was a great success. The early years of the club league were full of hot air with a lot of bragging going on. At the conclusion of each event, there was allot of showing off...who had the best spread, as it was all about the grub on offer, which was  just delightful. I’ll have to admit that the Robeen and Renvyle rounds were the most appetising with all sorts of goodies on offer pre and post race.

Sportif’s turned into the new races, members claimed they won this and that sportif’s without ever a result being published or recorded… That didn’t stop the likes  of Westportif, The Ladies sportif, The Great lakes challenge, Tour of the Bens and the Hollymount sportif going from strength to strength with big numbers turning up to sample the beautiful routes in the West of Ireland.

On the racing front, Sean O Malley, Janis Blivous, Padraic Hughes, Barry Holian, Kieran Heneghan, Michael Gilvarry, Mark Kelly, JJ Flaherty and John Gill led from the front in their various categories.

Kilmovee native Jerry Towey nearly qualified for the Rio Olympic games after a number of podium places at para World Cup events at various destinations around the World. In the end it wasn’t to be, national selection processes dictated otherwise… saying all that, he still came along way from where he started as a leisure cyclist!

Martin Joyce again organised another epic 3 day challenge from Carnsore Point to Erris Head, 10 years after our maiden journey.

https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/road-safety-motorbikes-speeding-1439393-May2014/

https://www.stickybottle.com/coaching/my-favourite-training-spin-sean-omalley-western-lakes/


2017-2020
In 2017 we drew up plans to improve our cycling centre, it was in a bad state and with very limited facilities for training during the winter months the plan was to modernise the building with new showers, changing rooms and a plan to insulate the whole building.

The BMX track made a comeback and the kids got back into cycling with new coaches helping out.

In 2017 the Twelve Bens formed their branch of Western Lakes CC led by the infamous Johnny King; sorry no it’s JJ Flaherty…

Off road cycling was always a part of Western Lakes CC but it was more by a select few on the competitive front. Cong, Clonbur and Moorehall woods are now recognoised as good off road cycling areas, loads of members hit the trails be it in darkness or day light hours it didn’t matter, off road was the new craz.

The club ventured into the World of Audax… For 2 years the club created a 100k and 200k off road route around Lough Mask, this further created enthusiasm for trail riding with many members now into gravel and adventure riding.

The Mizen to Malin route is a huge attraction for members of Western Lakes CC, everyone who cycles around our area wants to say they have completed that route… It takes a big effort to get everything sorted and to get people to give up 5 days to help out, it’s such a big ask for volunteers.

In 2017 Mizen to Malin again was the big challenge when the Hollymount Wheelers put together a composite group.

In 2019 the Twelve Bens put together another challenge on the Mizen to Malin route, again over 3 days. It’s always a huge effort and achievement.

2020 our 21st year.

At the start of 2020 all sports were shut down and by March all races
and sportifs were cancelled. When restrictions lightened over the summer months youth cycling flourished and by September the youth coaches had a great idea. They came up with Bikefest Mayo, it was held at the splendid facilities of the Ballinrobe race course. Every discipline of the sport was covered and coached! There were areas set aside for Cyclo Cross, Track, Road, BMX, road safety, obstacles courses and we even built a mountain bike course. The event was huge success, it sold out. 120 kids participated from all over Connacht. Some outsiders said it was the best day out for youth cycling enthusiasts that they had ever seen. In the history of the club this event and day was definitely one of the better days for coaches, officials and volunteers who combined to pull off a great days fun pedalling.

The reward has been tremendous since, with up to 50 plus kids turning up weekly for  youth cycling training.

Just before Christmas the club organisied a Christmas evening spin where all participants had to do their bikes up with Christmas lights. They paraded around the town in small pods with over 80 kids involved. This was another great milestone for the club.


Western Lakes Cycling Club at a glance.
We cater for all cyclists including;Leisure, Off-road, Track, BMX, Gravel, Recreational, Racing and we also nurture the young cyclists.Western Lakes Cycling Club is one of the most progressive cycling clubs in Ireland. It is held in high regard by other sports organisations in Mayo and Connacht.  Western Lakes has a wealth of experience including youth coaches, reps for each discipline (Cyclo Cross, BMX MTB, Road and track). We have national grade cyclists and administrators at virtually all levels.

The blue ribboned event of Irish cycling is the RasTailteann, the club has had the privilege of entering  four squads in the years 2003, 2012, 2013 and 2014 equipped with team car, support van and all the personal to go with it.

At Youth/Junior level our club has had significant successes – winning Gold, silver and bronze medals at National Track and Road Championships. At senior level the clubs boasts numerous national champions in various disciplines. At provincial level every year we always win at least one title and bring home a host of medals.

This is no mean feat for a club in South Mayo with no former tradition of cycling in the area.

One of the greatest honors for our club was seeing Martin Munroe and Willy Connolly wearing the Green jersey for Ireland at five different World Championships from 2004 to 2008 there is no greater honor with maybe the exception of  the Olympics. Brendan Butler, Jerry Towey and Padraig Marrey also got to wear green for Ireland at various international prestigious events around the World.

1998 World Junior champion and Tour De France rider Mark Scanlon of Sligo has a long history with the club as he was coached by one of our own who is now the chairman of Western Lakes CC. Cong’s David O Loughlin who was an Olympian in the 2008 Beijing Olympics also has a strong connection with the club.

Over the years the club has organised all kinds of mad, innovative and competitive events to cater to its members. All of our events benefit charities of various natures and its estimated we have collected over €250,000 for them.

The founding members still help direct the ship from time to time and are still very valuable volunteers.

Looking back is 20/20 vision but leaving a legacy is priceless, over the years people come and go into the beautiful sport of cycling, some gravitate towards MTB/Off road, others do all things road but for the club they all come under the one umbrella of cycling.

Keep the pedals turning, keep your head up and clear, open up your spirit and let the wind take you there….

To these great volunteers the cycling community owes you a huge debt of gratitude:

Salute to Breege Connolly, Gerry Butler, Jimmy Durcan and Brendan Scullion.

EVENTS THE CLUB HAS ORGANISED

RACES

Ballinrobe 2/3 day

Bogman 2 Day in Tullycross

Garhill cup

The Sean Stagg Shield in Hollymount

Tourmakeady festival race

Tour of Kilmore Belmullet

Holian Gp

Leisure SPORTIVES

WLCC Ladies sportive

Westportif (in conjunction with Westport CC)

Tour de Bens sportive

Hollymount sportif

The Great Western Lakes Challenge

365 Mile a day challenge

Mayo coastal challenge

Family spin Cornmarket to Castle

Polkadot challenge

Challenges

Mizen to Malin; 2002,2003, 2012, 2017 & 2019

Carnsore point to Erris head; 2004 & 2014

Mizen to Malin non stop in 18:53 in 2009

Currently

The club holds weekly safety and skills coaching session for young cyclists. Weekly Off road spins for Adults, Sunday morning group spins for all abilities, Weekly virtual spin classes during Covid-19 times and this is only a small measure of our commitment to promoting all types of safe cycling.

The club would like to thanks all its sponsors, supporters and volunteers who have put their shoulder to the wheel so that it continues to move forward.

Aims of Western Lakes Cycling Club:

·         To encourage non-competitive cyclists to take up what is a healthy outdoor recreational activity.

·         To encourage children to use what almost every child has, a bicycle, constructively – learn bike handling skills, rules of the road, and the pure enjoyment and the FUN of cycling

·         To organise and facilitate Coaching Courses and upskilling for our members

·         To bring major cycling events to our region

·         To bring cycling to as many people as possible – we aim to have 200 active members. We are putting particular emphasis on women, and youth.

·         To further enhance the club’s profile through a year-round programme of activities – training camps, Charity cycles, races, education and embracing social activity.

·         To provide the necessary technical and physical back-up to our cyclists that will give them the very best chance of succeeding in this Sport.

 

 

The plan for 2019 is to encourage the participation of new and existing cyclists in group leisure cycling activities. Communication of activities will be conducted through WLCC Club Website, WLCC Facebook page and Discipline/Location WhatsApp Group.

Based on our participating Member feedback to date in 2019, it is initially proposed to structure three Groups ranging in objective and average speed. These groups will designated by the WLCC club colours as follows;

Read More

Western Lakes Ladies Sportive 2018

Event Details

Registration times & Location

Date:               Sunday 15th July 2018

Location:        Western lakes Cycling Centre, Ballinrobe

Registration: 08:30 to 09:50

Briefing:         09:50

Start time:       10:00

Entrance fee: €25

Route:             Lap of Lough mask, 65km

Registration will take place at the Western Lakes Cycling centre in Ballinrobe on the morning of the sportive, there is NO on-line registration.

Please leave plenty of time to get to the cycling centre and for registration and pre- Sportive briefing.

The proceeds from this year’s ladies sportive will go to the local Order of Malta

Full event details click here: Western Lakes CC Ladies Sportive 2018 Event Details

Great Western Lakes Sportif 2018

Event Details

Start times
● The 135km cycle starts at 9.00 am
● 65/85k cycle starts at 9.30am

No going early if you are riding the shorter ​distances.
The Sportive starts from Western Lakes cycling centre, Kilmaine Rd,
Ballinrobe.

This event is to commemorate club officer John Cummins, the sportive
will divert so that we pass his family business on New St

Charity​: Western Lakes will be donating proceeds to CROI for the vast
work they do in promoting a healthy heart.

Sign ​on times
● Sign on and registration is open from 7.30am on Sunday June 24th,
Please bring your Cycling Ireland license or else pay the €5 fee if you
don’t have it, this covers insurance
● Please leave plenty of time to get to the event sign on as there will be
a lot of traffic around the area.

Full Itinerary here GWLS participants event briefing 2018.docx (2)

CYCLISTS are being encouraged to get their pulses racing for this year’s Great Western Lakes Sportif on June 24.

Entry Fee is only €30 on line ENTRY HERE

The annual event has two routes, a challenging route of 135km and an achievable 85km for those hoping to take in the sights of the picturesque route.

This year, proceeds will go to heart and stroke charity Croí, in memory of late club member John Cummins.

Event facilitator Padraig Marrey said the club felt it was appropriate to honour one of its dedicated members who served the club well.

Vincent Cummins, club member and brother of the late Mr Cummins thanked the club for honouring John’s memory.

“On behalf of the Cummins family I would like to thank the club. It’s great John is being recognised in this way. He was an active member and served on the committee and we really appreciate this,” said Mr Cummins.

Starting in Ballinrobe town, the 135km route takes cyclist to Partry passing Lough Carra on your right.

Turning left towards Tourmakeady, the vast expanse of Lough Mask appears to your left.

Leaving Lough Mask, it’s time for the climb towards Maamtrasna, and on the descent Loch na Fooey comes into view. Then a further climb towards Aill Dubh with a spectacular descent.

At the bottom it’s decision time. Left will take you home via Maam, Corr na Mona and Clonbur for the shorter 85k distance, and right, towards Leenane and you are on the longer 135k route. This route, for the more experienced cyclist, takes in stunning views of Killary Harbour, Inagh Valley, Maam Cross and Lough Corrib.

Sign on at 7.30am on June 24th at the Western Lakes CC cycling centre, Kilmaine Road Ballinrobe, Co Mayo.

The 135km route leaves at 9am sharp while cyclists taking on the 85km challenge hit the road at 9.30am.

For more info and entry see www.westernlakescc.com or Email padraigmarrey@gmail.com for additional info or ring 087 7992857.

 

What is the Great Western Lakes Sportif Route 1, circa 135 km. Starting in the Market town of Ballinrobe, follow the N 84 to Partry, passing Lough Carra on your right.Lough Carra is the largest marl lake in Ireland and is part of the Great Western Lakes complex. It covers 1,560 hectares and is joined to Lough Mask by the Keel River. It has many islands and a ragged shoreline with a plethora of bays and promontories, all on a bedrock of limestone. After turning left towards Tourmakeady, the vast expanse of Lough Mask appears to your left. Known around the world for its brown trout fishing, the Mask is the 6th largest lake in Ireland.Lough Mask is the middle of the three lakes, which empty into the Corrib River, through Galway, into Galway Bay. Lough Carra flows into Lough Mask, which feeds into Lough Corrib through an underground stream which becomes the River Cong. The eastern half of Lough Mask is shallow and contains many islands. The other half is much deeper, sinking to a long trench with depths in excess of 50 metres. As we leave Lough Mask, and take the climb towards Maantrasna, on the descent Loch naFooey comes into view. Its name derives from Lake of the winnowing winds, and you will often see spectacular wind tunnels along the water. Popular locally for swimming and fishing, its nearest village is Finny. A further climb towards Aill Dubh with a spectacular descent.
135k https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27038741
At the bottom its decision time ! left will take you home via Maam, Cornmaona and Clonbur for the shorter 85k distance and right towards Leenane and you are on the longer 135k route so be sure its within your range..!!!
Leaving Leenane on the 135k, you will pass Ireland's only fjord, Killary Harbour. it is simply majestic. an awesome sight on anyday. furer along the road, we turn sharply left into the Inagh Valley. The Inagh Valley has 2 lakes, Inagh and Derryclare, the Twelve Pins of Connemara rising steeply to the west, and the Maamturks to the east. The 2 lakes are connected by a series of rivers, and are renowned for their excellent fishing. Leaving the valley, we turn left towards Maam Cross, and left towards Maam. Onwards towards Cornamona, we get our first glimpse of the massive expanse that is Lough Corrib. While Lough Corrib is reputed to have 365 islands, a recent more accurate figure from the creator of the charts of the lake is 1327 The most famous of the islands is Inchagoil Island, midway between Cong and Oughterard. It is one of the largest of the many wooded islands along Lough Corrib. The island has spectacular views of the Maumturk range, Joyce Country and the mountains of Connemara. There are some secluded beaches and enchanting woods with a variety of walks around the island. There is evidence of an early monastic settlement which still mostly remains a mystery. There are two churches remaining, Saint Patrick's and the 12th-century church known as the "saints" church. There are several paths around the island, an old cemetery and remains of four or five cottages which housed the few inhabitants. The lake continues in our view until Clonbur with only 11k to Ballinrobe and the Finish.
85k https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27038760
Sign on June 24th from 7.30am at the Western Lakes CC cycling centre, Kilamine road Ballinrobe, com Mayo
Email padraigmarrey@gmail.com for any additional info required or ring 0877992857
135k leaves at 9am sharp
85k leave at 9.30am

Western Lakes CC have stepped into the world of Audax events for the 2nd year running where athletes test themselves over a route by completing it inside a time limit.

The Mayo Western Lakes Audax MTB, has 2 event distances 100k and super tough 200k held on Sunday 30th June 2019.

Both routes are steeped in history and geography, starting in the old garrison town of Ballinrobe, following the Monk's trail to Moorehall woods along the banks of Lough Carra and onto Ballintubber Abbey. Chance to refuel at Corleys bar, a trek through the boglands of Killawalla to the hidden and deserted villages of Srah, the watering hole at O Toole's bar (Foodstop), Tourmakeady waterfall and the old escape routes through to the Black valley of Glensaul. High up in the Partry mountains over looking Lough Mask, drinking water out of Glacier lakes and hidden waterfalls. To the Murderous Maam Trasna pass, the Irish quarter of Finney to the end off the leg of the Mask, over the hill of the CO-OP  and descend out onto Lough Corrib via the longest land peninsula of Europe. Climb Heart attack hill and the old Sean Bothar from Cornamona, travel back in time in the Joyce country Geo park and through the majestic woodlands of Cong and Ashford castle, through lane ways and Turloughs over the hill of Cairn and along Ballinrobe Inishmaine Trail: Takes in a variety of archaeological and historical points of Interest including a Souterrain, Caves, a Ringfort, a Cornmill, an Abbey, a Sweathouse and a Hillfort, the final few kms are along the river Robe on the Bowers riverside walk.

Entry and payment made payable to Western Lakes CC, send to Padraig Marrey, 5 Pairc Na Coille, Westport, Co Mayo

Entry fee €6 for the 100k and €11 for the 200k

Audax Ireland Medal €7

ACP (Audax club parisien) €7

MTB, Gravel or cyclo cross bikes suitable (Make sure to bring plenty of spares if using a Gravel or cyclo cross bikes)

Sign on from 6.30am. at the cycling centre Ballinrobe
Kick off at 8am for 200k DOWN LOAD LINK https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27628743
Completion time inside 13.5hrs
4-6 Route controls at either of the following Moorehall @21.2k Picture @48.k Receipt Ballintubber stores @76k Tourmakeady Waterfall Picture/ signature @93k Turbine/Durks Signature @127k Duras Picture @188k Question or picture @202k Record time at Finish 

Potential food stops 

In the 200k you are  never too far away from a shop/ pub, the first is after 31.9k in Caracon village its a Shop, again Ballintubber abbey there is a Pub at 46.6k (tea and sandwich), Ballintubber Stores 48k, (CHECKPOINT) Killavalley at 57.6k Pub and 73.5k pub and shop Tourmakeady (Could get /Tea or coffee and sandwich here) Finney 103.3k, Cornamona 134.9k shop, Clonbur village 142 or 152k (have to deviate off course by 300m) (Shop, pub and hotel), Cong Village 166k Last possible re fueling spot is Cross village 171k. REMEMBER ITS A SUNDAY SO MAY NOT BE OPEN

Only one of the above have a deli that is Ballintubber stores, all the pubs do teas and sandwiches.

Kick off at 9am for the 100k. DOWNLOAD LINK https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30321364
Completion time inside 6hrs
There will be 2 route controls at either of the following check points @32k Waterfall Tourmakeady Picture or signature @49k Turbine/ Durks Picture or signature @72k Lough Coolin picture or signature, @106k record time at Finish line BMX track Ballinrobe. 
Potential Food stops the first is after 28k pub and shop Tourmakeady (Could get /Tea or coffee and sandwich here),  77k Clonbur is the last refueling spot.

For now we want people to  try out the different sections of the route, we have recce more or less it all now, starts off on by roads, with occasional off road section, from Section 2 on alot more fire track and bog sections, end of section 2 gets hilly, section 3 is savage, section 4 and 5 are tough, section 6 is all off road and section 7 is a ramble through the lanes....coming via the Bowers river side walk, the finish line is back at the Western Lakes cycling centre on the Kilmaine road.

Checkout the route in stages..

What to get of the road and onto the beaten track for a few weeks ?
Both routes were designed and recce for the Audax event that the club is organizing on June 30th 2018

Audax don't allow short, they don't encourage racing, the only challenge participants to try and finish a set out route inside a certain time limit.

Each route is broken into sections, a normal club spin could do one or maybe 2 sections at a time, as each section is about 30k return, depending where you start from.
if you want to see the route clearly download the free version of ridewithgps onto your Garmin, phone or Wahoo device.

200k
The 200k route starting at the Cycling Centre section one finishes once you complete the lap in Moorehall, Section 2 finishes at Ballintubber Abbey, section 3 finishes in Tourmakeady (hilly), Section 4 finishes in Finny (The hardest section) section 5 finishes in Cornamona, and section 6 finishes in Cong and Section 7 takes a looping way home to Ballinrobe taking in the sites.

When out on these routes ideally go with a buddy in case of mishap and bring the usual breakdown stuff and your phone.

Western Lakes Cycling Club Ladies Sportive 2017

In Aid of NCIB Centre Athlone

Registration times & Location

Date:                    Saturday 15th July

Location:             Western lakes Cycling Centre, Kilmaine Road Ballinrobe

Registration:       08:30 to 09:45

Briefing:               09:45

Start time:            10:00

Entrance fee:      €25

Please leave plenty of time to get to the cycling centre and for registration and pre-Sportive briefing.

What you need at sign on

  1. Your Cycling Ireland licence.
    1. A One day Cycling Ireland Licence is available on the day for €5.
  2. Your Entrance fee.

Event car parking

There is free car parking provided at the cycling centre.

 What to bring with you on the Sportive

Your bike must be in good working order to cycle the Sportive.

You are also recommended to bring the following with you on the Sportive.

  1. Helmet (Compulsory, No helmet No cycle!)
  2. Water bottle(s)
  3. Spare tubes/Pump
  4. Mobile phone / Cash / Identification.
  5. Rainproof top and/or Suntan lotion (It is Ireland after all)

Route Signage  

The route will be signed at all major junctions.

Marshalls

All major junctions will be marshalled.

 Event Food Stop

There will be 1 food stop during the Sportive which is located at just past Tourmakeedy At Maire Luke’s bar.

Tea, Coffee, Sandwiches, Cake, Buns, fruit and water will be provided at the food stop.

Cycle nutrition / Accessories shop

Marrey Bikes, Ballinrobe will have a stall at registration. They will also be selling cycling accessories in case you forget anything.

 Bike Mechanic

Marrey Bikes, Ballinrobe will be on hand to resolve any last minute mechanical issues on the morning of the Sportive.  Remember: You are responsible for ensuring your bike is safe and in good working order.

Event safety

  • The Western Lakes Ladies Sportive is not a closed road event and you must adhere to the normal rules of the road.
  • You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others on the road.
  • Western Lakes Ladies Sportive is a leisure cycle and not a race.
  • Cycle no faster than your ability or weather conditions allow, the West of Ireland is known for strong gusty winds.
  • Cycle no more than 2 abreast when cycling in a group to facilitate passing cars.
  • The route selected for The Western lakes ladies Sportive is on quiet roads but you will encounter some traffic and road junctions.
  • Marshals will be visible on the route, but remember that they are only there to assist. It is your responsibility to check for traffic at junctions.
  • Cyclists should be prepared as weather conditions on the Sportive can change and you should bring the right type of clothing to keep warm and dry such as a waterproof warm jacket.
    • No earphones permitted on the Sportive
    • No Tri bars permitted on the Sportive

Emergency Medical and/or Mechanical assistance

If you have difficulty on the Sportive that STOP’S you from completing the course or if you are involved in an accident or if you come across an accident please call the emergency numbers provided.

There will be an Order of Malta supporting the Sportive.

There will also be a neutral service car available to fix any mechanical issues or punctures you may have during the Sportive.

There will be a number of Western Lakes male cyclists taking part on the day to offer encouragement, guidance and assistance along the way if required.

In the event that you feel unable to finish the Sportive for any reason there will be a Broom Van available to bring both you and your bike to the finish line.

The Finish Line

The Western Lakes Sportive starts and finishes at the Western lakes cycling centre.

Showers

Showers are provided at the Lakeside Sports and Fitness Centre which is situated across the road from the cycling centre.

Post Sportive Nourishment.  

Refreshments will be available at Inches bar on main street Ballinrobe after the sportive. Please join us after toe sportive for some refreshments.

And finally….

On behalf of Western Lakes Cycling Club and the NCBI we thank you for taking part in this years ladies sportive. We hope everyone enjoys this ladies Sportive and are blown away by the scenery en-route. Mayo is known as the adventure capital of Ireland and with gems like Tourmakeady, Maumtrasna, Finny, Clonbur, Lough Na Fooey, Partry Mountains, Joyce Country and Lough Mask, it’s a spectacular tour of what Mayo and North Galway has to offer so we hope you enjoy it.

 

 

The WLCC Club League consists of 5 races and these are all well handicapped so everyone has a chance to win or finish in the points. Everyone that takes part get 10 points for attendance and this helps to ensure everyone has points on the board. Points will be issued to the first 10 across the line. This league will carter for everyone in the club from beginners to seasoned pros. All safety precautions will be put in place to ensure everyone will be safe. All participants must hold a LC Limited Completion Cycling Ireland license or greater. If you only have only a Lesiure license and wish to take part you can upgrade on the cycling Ireland website. All participants shall have a race number and wear safety helmets.

The Western Lakes Club leagues begins next Wednesday the 24th of May, with the first race in Robeen, the Race Director is John Conroy, this will be a two lap race starting in Robeen. It is a nice course and suitable for all abilities. All participants should wear Club or Group cycling gear, this is a good way to show the club on the road. There will be sign on in Robeen from 6.30 pm and the race starts at 7.30 pm Sharp. There is a 5 euro entry fee and refreshments will be available afterwards.

Check Facebook for updates.

Leisure and MTB Report

Please see Link to Mayo Day promotional video, proud to be Mayo

Hi all bike fans, the bright evenings are here again. The Club spins are going well. Sportif season will be picking up in the coming weeks. The KM should be increasing now to prepare for longer Sportifs rides.

The cycle for suicide will be passing Ballinrobe on Sunday, please see information below and all support would be appreciated.

Please see extract below form Ken McCarthy emails to all members.

The Annual Cycle Against Suicide (CAS) comes through Ballinrobe on Sunday 30th April.

Taken from the Cycle against Suicide Web page:

“Everyone has some connection with suicide, self-harm or depression. The Cycle Against Suicide movement believes that the best way to help fight the Battle Against Suicide in Ireland is to do it together. Our Mental Health is just like our physical health – it is something we have to be mindful of – and from time to time we have to ask for help – and that is OK. Exercise helps…Talking helps…So together let’s Cycle Against Suicide.  Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can Break the Cycle of Suicide on the island of Ireland”

The cycle leaves Castlebar Sunday 30th at 10:30 from St Gerard’s School making its way to Ballinrobe racecourse for 12:00 where there will be a short talk and some refreshments.

Registration in Castlebar on Sunday 30th is between 08:30 and 10:00 in St Gerard’s School .

It would be fantastic if as many people as possible from our club could show their support on the day by either cycling from Castlebar to Ballinrobe (and beyond if you feel up to it).

Or come to Ballinrobe Race course from 11:30 and show your support for the cyclists who are taking part in Cycle Against Suicide.

James Vahey from Ballinrobe is completing all 14 days of this cycle so it would be great if the club and the town could come out in support of this cycle and of James.

If you want to register before the day the link to the Cycle Against Suicide web site is http://www.cycleagainstsuicide.com/cycle-suicide-2017/

We might organise to cycle from Ballinrobe to Castlebar on Sunday morning and join the CAS for their cycle from Castlebar to Ballinrobe..

Racing Report

The racing was in Boohomore last weekend with a  few WLCC members taken part, fair play to any one who traveled to the race.

The third round of the Mayo League was held on Wednesday in Ballinrobe, Race Directors Sean O Malley & Martin Joyce put on a great event and all finished safely. Sean o Malley is back from his recent layoff and he is in good form, he made it in to a 6 man break which broke up over Mam Transa to a three man break and he took the sprint, the coverage can be seen on Facebook.

Winner Sean O Malley and his Domestiques

Fair play to all who took part in the race and all that helped out with the driving or did Marshals on the night, these events can’t be held without help from the club members. Brilliant results by all !

#Fullgas