Bull on his Whitton record ride
Charity challenge rider rides gruelling sportive course a dozen times on consecutive days
he Fred Whitton Challenge has long held a reputation among British riders as one of the toughest one-day rides in the country, but now an amateur rider has set a new record by riding the course on 12 consecutive days.
Ryan Bull said it was “the worst 11 days of my life” after completing the challenge, which he set himself for charity.
The sport masseuse and personal trainer said he wasn’t even aware there was a record for riding the course — which is 111 miles long and contains 10,779ft of climbing — on back-to-back days until he’d taken on the challenge.
“I started it on the July 29 and finished on August 9. The first day was fine, the second day my legs were absolutely gone; my quads and everything felt like lead. I got in the car, came home and laid on my living room floor thinking ‘this is impossible, this is unbelievable’ — even walking up and down the stairs felt sore that night.
“I then got up about 4am, got my bike and just set off. I beat the day two time by nearly an hour and got back that night on such a high,” he said.
The 30-year-old said his times became fairly consistent across the ride and he knew he could complete the challenge. Though it wasn’t without the weather taking its toll. On all but one day it rained, often heavily. Bull said his feet became “like trench foot” and all pressure was painful.
“I also had an Achilles issue as well from day six. I was walking down the stairs with a limp so I had to pedal with my foot pointed for the last three days,” he added.
On top of the physical pain, the Honister 92 rider had to contend with some bad luck, losing his car keys and bank card on the seventh day. The bank card was found on the road days later by a fellow club member but he never found his car keys and had to get lifts to and from the start each day.
Bull now plans to take up racing and do further long-distance rides such as the Haute Route.
Bull suffered for charity on the Lake District’s hills