HUNDREDS of cyclists conquered the notorious Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge at the weekend.

More than 2,300 riders took on the 113 mile sportive, which involves 3,950m of climbing over all six of the major passes in the Lake District, with the first groups setting off from Grasmere at 6am on Sunday.

The first riders returned back just after noon, with Karl Alexander setting a new course record of five hours 56 minutes.

This year, riders, their families and friends enjoyed an extended programme including guided walks and a family ride.

There were more than 250 marshals and helpers from Cumbrian cycling clubs, with lots of spectators lining the main climbs clanging cowbells. Feed stations were stocked with handmade cakes, sandwiches, fruit and energy drinks

This year, riders will have hit the £1 million target that the ride has raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, as well as a number of other charities.

The event is put on by Human Race, the UK’s leading mass participation events company, which organises more than 30 events each year in triathlon, cycling, running, duathlon and open water swimming.

Paul Loftus, chair of the steering committee, said: “It was another fantastic event, with everyone involved going above and beyond to make it a truly memorable for riders."