Kenmare Cycling Club member, Fenton Curry again this year embarked on a grueling journey to the west coast of Ireland. After participating in the 2021 installment of the Transatlanticway Ultra Race, Fenton decided to put himself through the hard paces by cycling in the mammoth event again.
Although the route may be beautiful, it is not for the weak-hearted. The cyclists began their journey at 5 a.m. in Derry on Thursday 9 June and made their way to the west coast of Ireland before finally ending in Cork City.
This year Fenton was one of 120 riders competing in this incredible challenge. He opted for the route named Sedanta in 2022 after completing the Cú Chulainn route in the 2021 race and is training continuously – working on a weekly schedule for strength and endurance.
Fenton’s participation in the Spinney Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge in February, where he achieved a first in CAT for Team FCG, and in April at the three-day Cyprus Gran Fondo, where he took another podium with a third in CAT for TT, earned him Provided with all the intense preparation he needed to complete this year’s Transatlanticway Race.
Fenton did all the preparations by finishing third on this year’s Sedanta Route. On the first day, June 9, Fenton begins his journey through the stunning scenery Donegal has to offer. By the end of the day, Fenton had reached Guador and had cycled 258.41 km. The wind was very strong on the first day, but the spirits were equally strong.
On day two, June 10, the weather was brutal with rain and cyclists chasing the wind. Riders were scattered across the West Coast, sliding in and out from the wind, sun and very heavy rain. Fenton managed to push against the terrible weather and finished the day in Ballina, completing 266.62 km.
The third day, June 11, was no different in terms of weather, with harsh conditions still being played out. Terrible storms and high winds made it very difficult for the riders, but Fenton ended the day with a distance of 255.7 km.
“During the race, during turbulent weather, I tapped and held onto my inner mental focus, resilience, and knew I had to push the best of my outlook on life—always to deliver!” Fenton said.
Days four and five brought Fenton to his home county of Kerry. He got the first ferry to Tarbert after an epic 320 km run from Leaun to Lahinch. After that he had 604 kms to go to Cork City and was as determined as ever to get there.
“I realized how strong and prepared I was, after completing the Lenaun to Lahinch section and at that point I began to feel more confident about continuing to traverse these 300 km plus distances every day It was this ability that propelled me to finish third.
Fenton kept turning the pedals and moving forward, no matter how slow or bad the weather. He worked at an average speed of 20 km/h and drove another 300 km by bag from Lahinch, reaching his hometown Kenmare at 10:45.
On the sixth day, on the final day, Fenton departed Kenmare at 4 a.m. and traveled over Healy Pass to Bantry and Sheep’s Head, then battling the wind most of the way on Mizen. The final section, 25 km from Kinsale to Cork City, was brutal, with some of the steepest gradients on the entire route. Fenton finally made it to Cork City at 1 a.m. 18 hours in Kathi, 315 km covered, a grueling final day.
“With 25k to go, the climb from Kinsale to Cork City was brutal. I found peace and quiet riding in the dark without people, cars and inner peace knowing that this big challenge was going to be over” he said .
Fenton crossed the finish line to a rousing reception as the first Irish rider home and he celebrated with “a much-needed beer”.
“After completing the race, I am now looking forward to the next challenge—the upcoming races in Italy and Rwanda—and after a short recovery I’ll go back to ground training. Of course, I’ll be back for TAW in 2023,” Fenton said.