CELSO WAS HOMELESS – NOW HE’S A RECORD BREAKER
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.
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.