WNT UK Ltd
WNT has a reputation of working hard for its customers and, on occasions, it is known to play hard and encourage those same customers to join in. The inaugural WNT Road Bike Challenge is a case in point with over 50 cyclists inspired by the book 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist's Guide to Britain's Hills, taking on four of those hills. The initial challenge took place in the Derbyshire Peak District and covered 54.9 miles, with a total elevation of 4497 feet, taking in the famous climbs of Winnats Pass, Monsal Head, Rowsley Bar and Curbar Edge, via the grounds of Chatsworth House.
Setting out from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn at Bamford, the first and most severe climb was upon the group after only seven miles, Winnats Pass is famous in the UK cycling world, everybody knew if you clip out you don’t get clipped back in! Showing true fighting spirit, the entire group made it to the top, one way or another… 13 miles later came Monsal Head, a short, sharp stinging climb but with one of the best views of the Peak District to greet you when you get to the top, a chance for a breather and a Team photo.
The group then followed the route through the beautiful little village of Bakewell, famous for the Bakewell Tart, a taster of which the team would be rewarded with later if they could finish the course. Climb number three of the day was upon the group shortly after a rare fast, flat stretch. The climb up Rowsley Bar includes two of the most treacherous hairpins you will ever encounter on a bike, the payback being a fantastic descent towards the grounds of Chatsworth House.
Finally, only a few miles later, came the fourth and final big climb of the day, Curbar Edge, with the sun now shining on the back of tired legs the group made their way through stunning scenery, if only they could lift their heads to take a look! At the top another amazing view of the Peak District and Curbar Edge itself, a place famous for rock face climbing which gives an idea of the gradient just conquered!
“With 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist's Guide to Britain's Hills as our inspiration this will become an annual event that will build over time and, we are already advanced with plans for 2017, when we will take on numbers 41, 42 and 43 in the book, these being Pea Royd Lane, Jackson Bridge and Holme Moss, the latter having a maximum gradient of 25 per cent, over 660 feet of climbing and some pretty interesting descents!,” says Tony Pennington, Managing Director, WNT (UK). Participants are asked to make a minimum donation of £10 through WNT’s Just Giving page, which is then distributed between its two chosen charities, The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. WNT customers, of course, always tend to go the extra mile with their generosity and additional sponsorship was raised, for example, Mick Moisey of JFK Precision asked all of his colleagues to contribute and they raised £135.45 towards the day. The total raised now being £44,568.67 for these two charities in the past few years through such events.
Throughout the day the riders were supported along the route by members of the board, Mr John O’Hara, Mr Claude Sun, Mr Peter Fink, Tony Pennington and members of WNT’s UCI Elite Womens’ cycle team Hannah Walker, Becca Carter and Gaby Shaw, as well as Paul Oldham (Three Peaks Cyclo Cross Champion) and fellow colleagues from Hope, who supply the wheels and equipment to the race team and Marc Chamberlain (UK National Mountain Bike Cross Country Champion) and Iain White from Cotswold Cycles Race team, who are also sponsored by WNT. These elite riders were around to provide tips and guidance, and some vocal encouragement, as they rode alongside the group. The group were shadowed by the Team WNT support vehicle in case of mechanical issues. Just short of 55 miles later, everyone that started out after breakfast arrived back at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn for dinner and well-earned refreshments.