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Hove cyclist plans to climb Ditchling Beacon 100 times

Kurt Charnock raising money in memory of a friend

Before Box Hill became the south-east's most iconic ascent, Ditchling Beacon's place as the hardest climb on the annual London to Brighton bike ride struck fear into the hearts of cyclists. But not, it seems, the heart of Hove cyclist Kurt Charnock who is planning to tackle the climb 100 times on Saturday.

The Argus' Siobhan Ryan reports that Charnock, 41, plans to spend 22 hours repeating the section, starting just after midnight on Saturday morning.

The Ditchling Beacon Strava segment is 1.4km long  and rises 133m at an average gradient of nine percent.

One hundred laps of the hill, the third-highest point on the South Downs, will therefore see Charnock climb a total of 13,300m, one and a half times the height of Everest.

Charnock is riding to pay tribute to the memory of his friend Fabrice Cesaro, who died recently.

He said: “It was a huge shock when it happened because I had no idea how he was feeling.

“My intention is to raise as much money as I can to create a fund that can be used for anyone in the sports community who is in need of help and who may be feeling in a low mood for whatever reason. Having access to the fund will mean they can go and see someone instantly without worrying about waiting and hopefully help them get sorted out before anything further develops.”

Despite being a marathon runner and Iron Man triathlete Charnock concedes it not going to be a walk in the park.

He said: “It is going to be really gruelling but I am absolutely determined to do this.

“It is in honour of my friend but hopefully I will raise enough money to help others as well.”

On each ascent, Charnock will be accompanied by a different rider, who will make a minimum £10 donation to the cause.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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