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June 28th, 2016 @ 16:02

Westportif – Saturday July 16th 2016

Westportif 2016

With the annual “Westportif” race now in it’s fourth year of running, the organisers hope that the event will help in promoting the name of Westport as being the adventure capital of Ireland. This years event is due to take place on Saturday, July 16.

So popular has this race become in recent times that it has already been included amongst the “10 best sportives to try in Ireland in the coming months” according to popular cycling website Stickybottle. Speaking to the Mayo News last week, race director Padraig Marrey highlighted how a number of factors have contributed to this fantastic achievement.

“For starters, Westport is such an iconic town so we are lucky to have two very good routes,” he said. “Both routes circle Croagh Patrick and have some splendid scenery along the way with views of Clew Bay, Doolough Valley, Killary Fjord and Lough Mask to name a few along with the fantastic hospitality of the locals.”

With up to 1500 cyclists set to take part in this years “Ring of the Reek”, Padraig believes the rapid increase in competitors since the first event took place back in 2013 is down to the huge increase in the popularity of the sport in recent years.

“There has been a huge uplift in people taking part in cycling in the last while. It’s a growing sport,” he added. “It’s kind of gone back to the hay days of the 80’s when (Sean)Kelly and (Stephen)Roche were racing, people that know nothing about the competitive side of the sport are beginning to take it up just to gain the benefits in fitness.”

The two routes in this years event are of 80km and 160km in length with the purpose in mind being able to provide something for all levels of cyclists.

“The 80km route is aimed at people new to cycling and people who want to take their time and enjoy the scenery as there are no major hills of any note,” Padraig explained. “The 160km is kind of an iconic figure in cycling so it is aimed at people who are in the sport for a few years and want a bit of a challenge so we have included that.”

Westportif route 2016

Click to enlarge

This years event is being sponsored by Monaghan and Sons Skoda main dealers in Castlebar along with High5 energy, Westport Smarter travel and The Mayo News as the local media partner.

The partner charity for 2016 is The Mayo Roscommon Hospice and fundraising manager for the charity Laurita Blewitt spoke of how important this partnership is to them.

"This is our second year involved with Westportif and we are thrilled to be part of a really fantastic event, we didn't realize how big it was until we got stuck into it," she said. "This year is a big step for us in that we have planning permission granted for a unit in Castlebar so all money raised will be going towards that this year."

Although the event is organised and promoted by Western Lakers CC and Covey Wheelers CC, Padraig was quick to point out the importance of the communal effort put in by other clubs in the area.

“Because it is such a big event we rely on volunteers to ensure it runs well,” he said. “The local GAA clubs are involved along with the local halls and we still have to bring in extra resources, but it is monstrously beneficial to all.”

There will also be an event taking place after the cycle has finished which the organisers are calling “Apres Cycle.” It will take place around the leisure park and the Clew Bay Hotel area. “There will be barbeques and music and a whole host of entertainment going on after the event along with having an amazing atmosphere,” Padraig concluded.

For more information and to sign up for the event visit www.westportif.ie, email them at info@westportif.ie or find the event on Facebook.

5 things you need to know if taking part in the Westportif

1. What to bring with you on the cycle.

A bike in good working order (obviously), a helmet (no helmet no cycle!), water bottle(s), spare tubes/puncture repair kits/bike tools/ pump, Mobile phone/cash/ID, Energy snacks and food and finally sun tan lotion and a Rainproof top just in-case.

2. Event Safety

The Westportif cycle is not a closed road event so you must obey the normal rules of the road at all times. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others on the road. No more than two abreast when cycling in groups.

3. What you get for your fee €49 sign up fee?

A route that is well marshaled and wayward marked, lead and support cars, medical support, Three food/water stops per distance, WestportIf branded bike and helmet numbers, Westportif buff (for those who sign up from May 1 to July 1), Westportif jersey (for those who ordered, limited supply available on the day) High5 energy pack, SKODA goodie bag, Westport ID band, Event map and emergency contact numbers, Westportif finisher medal, post event massage, Aprez cycle activities and access to the Westportif village.

4. The After Party

The post event party being dubbed “Aprez cycle” will be starting at 6pm at the Clew Bay Hotel, located at the entrance to Westport House. There will be live music from Out and Outer and the hotel will be serving a full menu all day along with a BBQ for participants.

5. Partner Charity

Whatever profit is made from the event a large donation of it will be given to the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice who are the chosen charity for 2016. The remainder of the profit is to be used for the development of the sport at grass roots level and to promote cycling as a sport for all for both Western Lakes CC and Covey Wheelers CC.

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