West Cumbrian cyclist finishes epic challenge for close friend

16 August 2017 5:12PM

He's done it! Iron man Ryan Bull has cycled 1,300 miles and completed the incredible Fred Whitton challenge 12 times in 12 days!

The 30-year-old admitted it’s the “toughest thing he’s ever done in his life,” but he has no regrets.

The personal trainer took on the task to raise money for James Burns, who he trains several times a week.

James, who has cerebral palsy, is desperate to walk unaided and two years ago had an operation in America.

But he still needs further operations and extensive rehab, which cost money.

Speaking about the ride, Ryan, who lives in Whitehaven, said: “It was horrific. Out of 12 days the only day that stayed dry was the last. I got soaked every day.

“It was tough. It’s probably the hardest thing mentally and physically I’ve had to do in my life.”

Ryan said the hardest day was the second.

“There was nothing in my legs,” he said.

“I came home that night and just spread out on the living room floor and thought ‘This is an impossible task’.

“I woke up the next morning at 4.15am and just did it all over again.

“I was on such a high that night as I’d done it and from that point I thought there was no doubt I was going to finish.”

When he was struggling, Ryan kept thinking of 16-year-old James, who has become a close friend.

“When I was going up the passes thinking my legs were like lead, I was thinking that James can’t physically walk and it kept me going,” he said.

The Fred Whitton ride includes all of the seven hardest passes in the Lake District.

Ryan cycled 110 miles each day, which totalled 120,000ft of climbing, the equivalent of five Mount Everests.

“It’s going to take a few months to recover,” he added.

“And I’ll be looking back on this for years – what a journey it’s been.”

He paid special thanks to Paul Fagan, of the Bike Shed in Whitehaven, who provided free technical support each day, and Grant Law, from Honister 92, who arranged for members to ride with Ryan on some days.

Paul said: “What Ryan has achieved is unique.

“We’re pretty sure no one’s ever done it before.

“In cycling terms the Fred Whitton in Cumbria is a bit of a Holy Grail – and to be able to do 12 in 12 days, people are astonished at what he’s done.”

To donate, visit justgiving. com/crowdfunding/12FRED WHITTONS

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