Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall on a tandem

Breaking the Classic Rock in a day speed record

By Kenny Stocker

Pete Whittaker British rock climber and Alpkit Foundation Patron and Trustee gives us some inspiration for setting challenges this summer.

Pete Whittaker, one half of the climbing duo Wide Boyz, talks us through setting challenges, breaking records and riding shotgun through the Peak on a tandem.

Q: What was the idea behind breaking the speed record?

A: The idea for this came from an article online. Myself and my friend Tom saw an article about a pair doing all the Classic Rock route in The Peak district in a day, by man power. As well as trying to make a quick time, we also wanted to make it fun for ourselves and document it for others. As you do we decided to make it much harder for ourselves by hiring a tandem (having never ridden one before) and document it for a film. Although not the quickest time we could have done, we did manage to break the current record. I think the film we released inspired some others to give it ago, as the record then got beaten again twice over the next few months.

Q: Why did you choose to take on this challenge? 

A: Really the idea to take on this challenge was to do something fun that involved both climbing and biking, but also document it. We wanted to show to people that summer challenges in the Peak can be fun and good for all levels of climbers (the classic rock challenge goes up to VS in standard. so for modern day standards, this is achievable for many people, even if some of the climbs might be a fight)

Q: How much planning did it take? 

A: Most of the planning went into organising film logistics, and getting hold of a tandem, haha. In terms of logistics for the actual challenge, there was little to none. We pretty much just winged it. We sat down for half an hour the night before and double checked where all the climbs were and the best route between them.

Q: Did you do any specific preparation? How would you train for something like this? 

We didn't do any specific prep. We've been climbing in the Peak District for many many years, so have actually climbed all the routes before, plus they are well within our standard. It would have been useful to have probably ridden a tandem before, however that was all done on the day for the first time. If I was going to give some training advice to someone doing this challenge next then my advice would be, to pick your weakest aspect and look at that. If you are a good climber, there is no need to practice the climbs, just get a few miles in your legs on the bike. If you are more comfortable on the bike, then this will be easy and it's worth rehearsing the climbs.

Q: For anyone wanting to set up their own challenge, what would your 3 points of advice be?

  1. Pick something that is achievable for the amount of time you have. for example if you have no planning or practice time, then lower the intensity and complications. If you have time to practice then you might want something harder. 'A challenge' should be exactly that... a challenge, so something that makes you work, but is achievable.
  2. Find a good partner to do these things with and someone else that is psyched. Having a laugh is important.
  3. Take good snacks. peaks for itself really. You'll be much happier with a decent treat on the way. On our challenge we stopped for both Bakewell Pudding in Bakewell and ice cream in Hathersage.

Pete Whittaker is a British rock climber and Alpkit Foundation Patron and Trustee.

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