Pistol sounded at The Beacon Portal

Pistol sounded at The Beacon Portal

AN acclaimed endurance event – billed as the UK’s only mountain bike expedition – kicked off at Whitehaven harbour this morning (August 10).

Competitors taking part in ‘The Crossing’ must traverse the country, finishing in Scarborough, 200 miles to the east, in three days.

The event is organised by Rat Race Adventure Sports, headquartered in York, and is one of the firm’s flagship races.

Unlike the traditional Coast to Coast cycle route, The Crossing ventures over mountains and rugged terrain, presenting a test of endurance and skill for riders of varying ability levels and experience.

The Beacon Portal on Whitehaven’s West Strand has once again hosted the registration for the event with riders setting off in the early hours of this morning.

Alan Irwin, Business Manager at The Beacon Museum, said: “It’s one of those events that people may not even be aware happens on a year to year basis here in Whitehaven.

“By the time a lot of people wake up, the cyclists are already on their way. But the impact on the local economy is not to be taken for granted, with accommodation and food businesses benefiting from the large participating crowd that the event draws in.”

“We need to shout about our role in these nationally recognized events as a town. Coast to Coast participation appears to be growing with more and more cyclists dipping their wheels in the water every morning on the harbour slipway, and St Bees is seeing the benefit of the recent exposure for Wainwright’s walking route in a recent television series.”

Jim Mee, founder of Rat Race, said: “The Crossing continues to be a really popular event among our Rat Racers and we’re always delighted to return to Whitehaven each year to begin the journey.

“The race itself is no pushover. There’s around 17,500ft of ascent spread over the three days, and some of the riding is fairly technical in places.

“But there are also views to savour – particularly on the first day after heading out of Whitehaven.

“Some of the scenery racers encounter is simply dramatic, and I’d urge competitors to take the time to look back and soak in the vistas. Because while the ride is challenging, it’s also picturesque.”