Distance: approx 112 miles
This route was designed in memory of Fred Whitton, a popular member of the Lakes Road Club, who died from cancer at the age of 50 in 1998. What started off as a ride for a few local cyclists 16 years ago has now grown into a sportive for 2000 cyclists in early May each year. Over the years a staggering £1m has been raised by the event for the charities Macmillan Cancer, Cumbrian mountain rescue service, and other cancer and local charities.
However it is possible to ride this route at any time of year away from the busy sportive event, proclaimed as” Britain’s premier cycle sportive”.
You may think of this challenge as six climbs but there are actually nine. So in order they are: Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott, Wrynose, Matterdale End, Fangs Brow, and Cold Fell.
This Fred Whitton route is clearly for climbers but without razor sharp descending skills this can be a treacherous ride, especially in the cold of early May.
Tiredness, exposure to the wind and rain, the climbs can all affect one’s focus and there have been serious accidents over the years. This ride is not to be underestimated as it’s not only the meters of ascent but the severity of the slopes on the road which can be as steep as 30%.
If you manage to average 18 mph it will take six and a quarter hours, at 12 mph approx nine and a half hours that’s a long time in the saddle.
The sportive event web site is: www.fredwhittonchallenge.co.uk