Two estate agents from North Leeds are saddling up for one of the most gruelling events in cycling’s charity calendar.
Simon Ketteringham and Paul Lehan, who are both directors of Castlehill in Otley Road, Headingley, have set the wheels in motion for taking part in this year’s Fred Whitton Challenge by using pedal power to travel to and from work.
Ahead of them next month lies a 112-mile route around the Lake District that takes in the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter and Wrynose mountain passes – as well as the energy-sapping 1-in-3 ascent of the Hardknott pass.
The duo will be wearing specially-designed Castlehilllycra for the challenge, which has raised more than £1m for charity since it was first launched back in 1999.
Simon and Paul are competing in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which has benefitted from a number of fund-raising cycling challenges on which they have teamed up in the past.
As well as being one of the most popular cyclosportivesin the UK, the event is also famed for being amongst the most arduous. The 1,000 riders that take part each year rank it alongside European events, such as the Marmotte, in terms of difficulty – upwards of 200 fail to complete the course.
In 2014, two riders were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries in separate incidents that occurred in rainy but not extreme conditions.
Paul said: “This is a true classic in the cycling calendar. The very top riders complete the course in just under six hours – but eleven hours and over are not uncommon for the normal rider.
“This is a very tough route, especially as the Lakes weather in May can sometimes not be kind and it can often be very windy. But supporting such a good cause as Macmillan will spur us both on.”
Many cyclists use sportives like this one, which starts and finishes in Grasmere, to challenge themselves in a personal battle against the distance and then ultimately, the clock.
As the name suggests, the event is run in honour of Fred Whitton. Fred, who died aged just 50 in 1998, was an extremely popular member of the Lakes Road Club.
In his capacity as club secretary he was full of enthusiasm for the club and ran it practically single handedly. He was the organiser of the Lakes Road Club Easter 3-day each year which attracted many of the UK’s top riders.
- To support Paul and Simon on the challenge that lies ahead, people can make donations through a dedicated fund-raising page that can be accessed by going to: https://www.justgiving.com/paulandsimonfredwhittonchallenge