Richard’s ridden the race a couple of times before and last year his work as a photographer took precedence as he took a year off riding the race and took a few snaps instead. This year he was back, and his own blog’s account of the 2009 race is a warming tale of a calm and determined approach to the 2009 event – being at one with his bike – and an approach that paid off with another PB.

I was dreading Simon Fell, memories of burning calves, were burned into my memory. My tactic was not to look up, the enormity would be demoralising. Instead I elected to take it one step at a time.