Station commander takes on hardest one day bike ride in UK

A Station Commander from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is taking on some of the toughest passes in the Lake District in what’s described as the hardest one-day bike ride in the UK.

Danny Kelly, who works at the Training Centre in Huntingdon, will be battling the elements in this Sunday’s (May 7) Fred Whitton Challenge.

The 112-mile sportive around the Lake District starts at Grasmere and takes in the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes and is ranked alongside Eurpoean Events such as the Marmotte in terms of difficulty.

Top riders complete the course in just under six hours but 11 hours and over are not uncommon for the average sportive ride.
SC Kelly, who is responsible for the organisation of Fire Protection, Community Safety and Fire Investigation Training for CFRS and supports the management structure at Training Centre, is taking the ride on with his cousin.

Although he is a keen rider, who gets up at 5.30am so he can fit in a 20 or 30-mile bike ride before work, this is his first competitive bike ride.

“Cambridge is very flat so the difficulty will be the length of the course and the amount of climbing involved. The ride has got some of the steepest passes in the UK, with a total ascent of around 15,000 feet around the course,” he said.

He has been preparing for the ride by completing several sportives in the Lake District where his aunt and uncle live. 
“I did the Lakeland loop sportive recently as a training ride, and did about 70 miles but I was in bits by the end of it. I woke up on Monday morning and my body hurt.”

Training has also involved bootcamps run by a colleague of his who he used to serve with in the Royal Air Force and his inspiration has come from Lloyd Figgins life lessons – one of which is to ‘train ugly – as hard as you can. Then when adversity hits, you’re ready.’
SC Kelly said this hit home when cycling in the Wheelbase Classic Sportive in March in 25mph winds and torrential rain for five hours over 70 miles.

He said the trick to completing hard rides is to eat and drink constantly. “You have to eat and drink constantly all the way round or you run out of energy. I drink lots of energy gels and rely on flapjacks and jelly babies.”

SC Kelly is raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. If you would like to sponsor him, the link to his just giving page can be found here.