The third edition of Gravel Grind West was a thrilling gathering of gravel cycling enthusiasts from all corners of the country who converged in Westport for this exciting event. This year, the organizers provided participants with a fantastic array of choices, ensuring that riders of all skill levels and preferences could find a suitable challenge.
50k Route: This route was thoughtfully designed for newcomers to the world of gravel cycling. It served as a perfect introduction to the sport, allowing riders to immerse themselves in the stunning natural beauty of Westport's terrain.
145k Route: The 145k route, stretching as the longest in all of Ireland, was a monumental challenge even for the most seasoned gravel cyclists. It put riders' endurance and determination to the test, on par with international gravel events.
Westport is fortunate to boast a diverse range of terrains, offering riders a unique and varied experience. The presence of both the spiritual Croagh Patrick and the scenic Wild Nephin National Park showcased the extremes of the area's natural beauty.
Gravel cycling is all about embarking on an adventure, and the organizers facilitated this spirit by providing participants with GPS files of their chosen routes. Riders navigated their way through a journey filled with twists and turns, embarking on a trek of the unknown. (Unfortunately, some mischievous individuals decided to remove signage at key areas this year, but thankfully, marshals were on hand to resolve any issues.) For those seeking a competitive edge, the 145k and 110k routes included timed segments over the most challenging sections of the course, enabling riders to compare their performance to others, much like events such as Grinduro. However, it's important to note that not everyone chose to race these segments, as many riders preferred to savor the breathtaking countryside and soak in the majestic views.
The success of Gravel Grind West in Westport was made possible thanks to Raceface Events, and it has undeniably become a standout event on the gravel cycling calendar. It attracts riders from all over the nation, and the participation of around 200 riders is a crucial milestone in ensuring the viability of an event of this calibre. Gravel Grind West continues to celebrate the essence of gravel cycling – adventure, challenge, and the exploration of the beautiful Irish landscape.
Gravel Grind West has made possible with the help of:
The Towers Bar and Restaurant | Westport Bike Shop | Mayo.ie| Marrey Bikes | Nuasan | Coillte | Civil Defence |Cycling Ireland | Wild Nephin National park | Westport House | Hotel Newport and to all the farmers and residents along the route
Results of the Skelp Blast
1st Adrian Carroll Tullamore 42.30
2nd Aaron Buggle Killaloe 42.30
3rd Mark O Donnell 44.30
1st woman Rachel Nolan Ballina
Gravel Grind West 145k and 110k overall
Aaron Buggle from Dublin now residing in Killaloe Co Clare who was a distinguished former Ras yellow jersey holder, demonstrated remarkable prowess in the 145k race. His performance was particularly notable over the challenging 6 gravel segments.
Aaron faced stiff competition from Adrian Carroll of Tullamore, who emerged as his closest rival. Juraj Holkovic of Longford RC secured the third position, underlining the intense level of competition across 145 kilometers.
Rachel Nolan Ballina showcased an extraordinary display of skill and endurance, clinching victory in both the Skelp Blast segment and the overall 145k distance race, a remarkable achievement.
Gary Donohue, representing Bikeworxs Dublin, showed great form by securing the top spot in the 110k distance race.
Podium Finishers: Gene Ryan from Kilkenny secured a commendable second place, closely followed by Ciaran Byrne from Ballina, who secured the third position in this hotly contested category.
Women's 110k Distance:
Abi Conway from Westport Covey Wheelers displayed outstanding strength and determination, securing a commanding victory in the Women's 110k distance race. Emma Delaney from Leitrim put up a commendable performance to secure the second position.
Congratulations to all the cyclists for their impressive performances and to the winners for their well-deserved victories!