ENTHUSIASTIC cyclists were inspired to emulate the Tour of Britain professionals when they set out to test themselves on some of the toughest climbs in the Lake District.

Around 150 cyclists tackled the official sportive of the Tour of Britain Cumbria stages on Saturday morning, hosted by Mintbridge, the home of Kendal Rugby Club on Shap Rd, and organised by Staveley’s Wheelbase, Pennine Events, the Tour of Britain and Cumbria County Council.

The full 101 mile route followed roads ridden by the pros in Britain’s biggest professional bike race, which came to the county last week, including ascending the Newlands and Whinlatter Passes and The Struggle over Kirkstone Pass.

Around 90 of the riders took on a less strenuous 75 mile route, while 80 cyclists from age five upwards took part in a family sportive over some of the local roads organised by Kendal Cycle Club.

Mintbridge also showed live coverage of the Tour of Britain throughout the day and laid on a tasty buffet for the riders.

The first person to finish the full course was Simon Horsley, 54, from New Hutton.

“It was a nice course with some good climbs in it,” said Mr Horsley, who completed the route in five hours and 34 minutes.

“The Struggle was definitely the toughest because it was the last and you had already done a few miles. It was nice to ride Whinlatter where the tour went and think of the kind of pace the professionals were setting over there - it makes you admire them even more.

“I feel a little bit tired, but now all I have to do is ride home and I can have a rest.”