Most desk-workers would have opted to join a gym after an unhealthy lockdown but cyclist Lee Brown opted for something more extreme.

This weekend Lee, 47, one of the founders of Holmfirth Cycling Club, is heading off on one of the toughest cycle events in the UK, the GBDuro.

The GBDuro runs from Land’s End to John O’Groats and boasts arguably the most arduous cycle route in the UK.

Covering the UK’s hilliest terrain – Welsh valleys, Yorkshire hills and Scottish Highlands – the total distance is over 2,000km, not the usual 1,300kms from the tip to the toe of the UK.

It comes with a leg-burning total elevation of over 108,000ft – 3.7 times the height of Everest. It’s an event not for the faint-hearted. Half the route is off-road using a combination of bridleways, cycleways, forest and mountain tracks.

Lee, director of urban design at Wakefield-based designers JRP Associates, will be pitted against some of the world’s top athletes in endurance cycling, including the round the world record holder.

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Lee is an experienced cyclist having competed in many races in the past, albeit over much shorter distances. His love of the sport has been passed down to his son Jim, who at 20, has already represented Great Britain.

Adding to the ordeal is the GBDuro race ethos of environmental sustainability and rider self-sufficiency.

This means riders cannot receive any assistance; they cannot pre-book hotels, there are no support cars, they cannot get assistance from other competitors.

Lee Brown

Each rider has to carry what they need for the journey. For Lee that means travelling as light as possible: a sleeping bag, bivvy bag, change of clothes and a phone for emergencies, repair kits and enough food to replace between 6,000 to 8,000 calories per day.

Each stage of the race has to be reached by a certain time or the rider is disqualified. Lee is expecting to be on the road for anywhere between nine to 11 days. He will aim to sleep for around six hours each night and ride for up to 16 hours per day.

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He will compete against 63 other riders, men and women in equal numbers, selected from across the world. The entry criteria is strict but his history of cycling and contribution to the sport was recognised by the organisers.

Weekend training regularly covers more than 200 miles, whilst during the week he’s limited to two or three hours a day which he fits around his demanding day job.

“I am aware that this is a pretty extreme way to get fit after lockdown but since I became aware of the event it’s something I’ve wanted to do, so I applied and was successful,” said Lee, who thought he might never ride again a few years ago.

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“I had a bad accident a couple of years ago and, due to a number of complications, had to have my collar bone removed. Thankfully it’s not impairing my training and I’m really looking forward to the race, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation,” added Lee.

“It’s such a big leap into the unknown; I don’t know how long it will take, where or even if I’ll finish. I’m just going to take it one day at a time and see how I get on.”