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The Fred Whitton Challenge 2016

The ‘Fred’ was another amazing event at Grasmere. It seems no matter what the weather is the ride is still tough, with the warm, sunny weather I think a few of us though we would have an easy ride…

We set off in a good group at around 6.40am and made easy work of the first part of the ride, working together to share the work. There was a bit of cloud cover and no wind which meant we hit Braithwaite around 3hrs – on target for a sub 7 time.

The support was fantastic all the way round, the sun certainly helped that, and our own support on top of Whinlatter provided us with a change of bottles and a bite to eat. We had also been careful to make sure we were taking in enough carbs every hour.

The group has split a little then and Scott and I were left as a two. Scott was starting to struggle on the back section through to Calder Bridge but we were still on for a sub 7 time – at 5 hours in from the start.

Bottles refulled and more food in, we set off down the Eskdale valley knowing that usually it takes just under 2 hours to get back to Grasmere. Little did we know that the Easterly wind was up creating a horrendous headwind and the temperature was up in the mid 20’s! The bit to Hardknott was energy sapping and by the time I hit the bottom of the 30% slopes my body said ‘No’. Scott had also had enough as we both struggled to get up and over Hardknott and Wrynose. It seemed like the rest of the event was also struggling though with people strewn all over the road, pushing, walking, stopping and cramping up. Some brave souls were actually riding it!!

I got back to base in 7 hrs and 17 mins, Scott in 7 hrs and 25 mins. Both times were PB’s and within the top 10% of riders who started. A good ride but not the sub 7 I wanted: the heat and wind certainly put pay to that. My ride time was 6 hrs 54 mins – just had to stop too much after ‘hitting the wall!’. This only means one thing… I’ll be back!!

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