Hundreds Tackle Derbyshire Cycle Challenge

will hartshorn Cycling

Hundreds of enthusiastic cyclists were on their bikes to take on the North Derbyshire Challenge Sportive. Starting and finishing at Derby’s Markeaton Park, the cyclists could choose to tackle one of four distances, from 40km to 160km in this popular biannual bike-fest organised by Cycle Derby and HUUB Events.

The 40km route took cyclists as far as Carsington Water and back while the 80km route headed out through Winster and Darley Dale before returning through Wirksworth. The new-for-2017 128km course included Hartington, Millers Dale and Baslow before heading back though Chatsworth Park and Wirksworth. The 160km route also included a loop through Castleton, Edale and Hathersage before rejoining at Baslow, so… something for everyone!

The North Derbyshire sportive is a personal challenge event and has become renowned for its friendly, social atmosphere but there are a couple of competitive elements to spice things up a little. “We first introduced the King and Queen of the Mountain challenge at the Derby Spring Classic Sportive earlier this year,” explained Mark Smith from Cycle Derby. “We had such positive feedback from entrants that we have extended it to this event.”

Just 8.5km into the route for all four courses, all of the cyclists headed up the King and Queen of the Mountains section as the road climbed towards the Cock Inn at Muggington. This timed section of 700m was generously sponsored by Document Network Services (DNS).

Nicola Daubeney claimed the DNS Queen of the Mountains title in a time of 2 minutes 24 seconds, but then she and close friend and colleague Craig Thompson lost their way.  Craig introduced Nicola to cycling less than a year ago and this was her first sportive event.  Nicola said that “After a crash on my touring bike 3 or 4 months ago, I got myself a road bike.  As we approached the mountain the words ‘Go For It!’ were all we could think about.

DNS King of the Mountains Dan Harding, from Ashbourne, completed the timed section in 2 minutes 18 seconds before completing the 80km course.


The first man to return to Markeaton Park was John Boswell while Helen Bates was the first lady home.

“The Geldards Team Challenge continues to be a popular draw for work colleagues, cycling clubs and friends to take part together,” Mark Smith added. “As so many of the teams are tackling the longer distances, picking an overall winner has been a challenge in itself. The mountain challenge will therefore effectively be a tie breaker for the teams covering equal distances as well as a great measure of their strength and stamina in tackling the climb.”

David Westbury was first across the finishing line for the team challenge sponsors Team Geldard’s team, later joined by Johnny Smale, both completing a fantastic 80km.

David Williams, Chairman at Geldards, added:  “Cycling is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and Geldards is proud to be supporting an event that will build upon Derby’s ambition to become a cycling city.

“As a proactive member of the Derby business community and a keen cyclist myself, it was a great opportunity for teams of friends and colleagues to take up the challenge to get on their bikes and crank up some miles.”

The sporting event was raising money for Ashgate Hospicecare, a charity based in North Derbyshire, who provide care and support to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Text and images courtesy of Geoff Ford.