CELSO WAS HOME­LESS – NOW HE’S A RECORD BREAKER

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - AMY COLES Re­porter amy.coles01@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AMAN who was home­less in Cardiff for six months has gone on to break FIVE cy­cling world records.

Celso Fon­seca, 36, smashed the 100km, 200km, 300km, 300-mile and 500km records dur­ing a marathon 24-hour cy­cling stint at the out­door velo­drome in Maindy Cen­tre in Cardiff.

Orig­i­nally from Por­tu­gal, Celso ended up sleep­ing rough for three months last year due to men­tal health prob­lems and post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

But he bat­tled through and, after get­ting a place at a YMCA hos­tel in Roath and then a home of his own, be­gan pur­su­ing his dream of break­ing the 24-hour cy­cling world record.

He was un­able to beat the record set by Aus­trian Christoph Strasser in 2015 when he rode for 556.856 miles (896.17km) in the 24-hour time limit in Ber­lin but still walked away with five un­ex­pected records in­stead.

He said: “They kept show­ing me the board say­ing ‘new world record’ but I thought they were lying to me to keep me go­ing.

“I was cry­ing be­cause it’s a lot to take in. A lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand. They can see me there but they don’t know how I got there.

“A cou­ple of months ago I was home­less.

“I can’t put it into words what this means. I’m get­ting lots of mes­sages from peo­ple I don’t even know con­grat­u­lat­ing me. I just feel really spe­cial.”

He broke the 100km record in two hours 43 min­utes and eight sec­onds, got through 200km in five hours 44 min­utes and 49 sec­onds, cov­ered 300km in nine hours five min­utes and 30 sec­onds, hit 300 miles in 15 hours 26 min­utes and 41 sec­onds, and broke the 500km record in 16 hours eight min­utes and 35 sec­onds.

Celso hoped to reach a dis­tance of just un­der 560 miles – or 900km – on the cen­tre’s out­door track.

Each lap at Maindy Sta­dium cov­ers around 460m, which means he needed to cy­cle 2,000 laps in the time limit.

He cy­cled for 16 hours straight after be­gin­ning the chal­lenge on the evening of Novem­ber 18, be­fore tak­ing a break.

Even­tu­ally the cold slowed him down and pre­vented him from keep­ing up the pace he needed after tem­per­a­tures dropped to mi­nus four overnight.

He still plans to break the record and hopes to do it next year.

To train for the chal­lenge he was cy­cling be­tween 300 and 500 laps of the track a day.

Celso, who has lived in Wales for 11 years, has shared his story about how his men­tal health prob­lems were wors­ened by liv­ing on the streets when he lost his home.

He cred­its Wales with “sav­ing his life” and hopes to in­spire oth­ers with his achieve­ments.

He added: “I want to show it doesn’t mat­ter if you have men­tal health prob­lems, no money or where you come from, you can achieve what you want in life.”

Evans Cy­cles in Cardiff spon­sored Celso and he par­tic­u­larly bonded with em­ployee Ethan O’Hara, who helped or­gan­ise the event and loaned Celso a skin suit and BMC Timema­chine bike for it.

PIC­TURES: CHRIS MITCHELL

Celso Fon­seca smashed the 100km, 200km, 300km, 300 mile and 500km records at Maindy Cen­tre in Cardiff

Celso Fon­seca, 36, right, with Ethan O’Hara, from Evans Cy­cles, which spon­sored Celso.

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