CYCLING: Matthew tackles Fred Whitton Challenge

Matthew Kingston-Lee at the 2017 Fred Whitton Challenge on Hardknott Pass. Photo: Steve Fleming Photography
Matthew Kingston-Lee at the 2017 Fred Whitton Challenge on Hardknott Pass. Photo: Steve Fleming Photography
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Witham Wheeler Matthew Kingston-Lee joined more than 2,000 other riders at Grasmere on Sunday to take part in the 18th Fred Whitton Challenge.

Acknowledged to be one of the toughest one-day cycle sportives in the country, the 112-mile ride takes in more than 12,000 feet of elevation, traversing some of the Lake District’s most difficult climbs including – Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes.

Setting off shortly after 7am, Matthew rode well to finish in a time of 7hr 16min 19sec, earning himself a First Class distinction.

Matthew, who was still tired after running a personal best 2:41:42 in the London Marathon two weeks ago, said: “The Fred Whitton is a ride I’ve wanted to take part in for many years. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the stunning scenery. The daunting sight of Hardknott Pass 94 miles into the ride will forever be etched as one of the hardest prospects I’ve ever encountered.”

The quickest rider on the day was Nick Williamson, of Midlothian Velo Sportive, in 5:45:15, with 10 riders breaking the magic six-hour barrier.

l Meanwhile on the same day, Grantham cyclists Nick Conboy, Kevin Gench, Phil Davies, Steve Squires, Dean Scoffins, Steve Cropper, Dave Rogers, Gerry Hyde, Paul Letchworth, Mark Berry, Gary Taylor, Chris Masters, Claire Armstrong and Louise Hyde took on another one of the toughest cycle sportives – The Tour of the Peaks.

Starting in Bakewell, the ride was an immense cycle challenge with more than 10,000ft of climbing and 115 miles to cover; it is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The epic ride included three killer ascents and relentless climbing, with a maximum gradient of 21.6 per cent, and one goal – to survive.

Nick Conboy commented: “It was brutal.”