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What happened when our Master Brewer took on the LEL?



Anyone who works in the brewing industry knows just how physically demanding it can be. We like to think that we’re all in fairly good shape here at Little Valley, but probably none more so than our Master Brewer, Wim van der Spek, who’s just taken on the LEL.

For those of you who don’t know what the LEL is, it’s one of the country’s major cycling challenges, which involves riding from London to Edinburgh and back again in just five days. Yep, you heard us right. 1,400 kilometres in five days.

Crossing the start line in London on Sunday 30th August, Wim cycled up to Pocklington, North Yorkshire on his first day. From here he went north, westwards over the Northern Pennines and stayed in Moffat on the Scottish borders on his second stage. Thereafter, he nipped up to Edinburgh and back down southwards via Barnard Castle to Spalding in Lincolnshire, where he grabbed 5 hours kip before cycling back into London on his final day. Wim’s total time, including sleeping time, lots of long food breaks was 104 hours.

Here’s what Wim had to say about pedalling his way up and down the country: “I first cycled the LEL in 2001 in about 82 hours when I finished fifth overall. At that time there were around 400 competitors and I was much fitter and 16 years younger at the time. So I wanted to take on the challenge again this year, to see if I still had it in me! The hardest part was probably when I hit the wall after about 1,000 kilometers. What got me through at this stage was cycling the last 300kms with a Spanish ex national time trial champion. I just about managed to keep up with him and his team. Now all is said and done, I’m glad to be back on Yorkshire ground and back to doing what I love most.”

And we’ll give you three guesses what he did as soon as he got back… Straight to the brewery!


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