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Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge 2014

The entries have opened once again for this epic ride. So big now, that the start has had to decamp from Coniston to Grasmere, only a few miles as the migrating geese fly.

Still we have vacancies for your bikes and bodies, here at Coal Yeat Farm Holiday cottages. Why not treat yourself and your cycling buddies to a pre challenge training weekend away, seeing for yourself just how steep theses Lakeland hills and passes are? All this accommodation can be seen at www.coalyeatcottages.co.uk or speak directly to Emma on 07887731553.

We even have pedigree saddleback pigs from the Coal Yeat herd living on the farm. Quite a coincidence that these hardy outdoor pigs should share a name with the UK’s hardest cycling challenge. You need to be a hardy soul to contemplate the Fred Whitton on 11 May. Up here in Cumbria the Saddleback pigs living at 500 ft are still awaiting signs of spring! On the fell tops, punctuated by the passes of the Fred Whitton, there may be snow or hail to greet the panting cyclists.

I have a very experienced bike to hire that has done the Fred Whitton twice. This titanium beauty has a Campagnalo triple gear which will help with the 30% climbs. See the bike on the bikes for hire page. For the 2014 challenge I will “re-shoe” her with 25mm Continental 4 seasons tyres which will give extra grip, puncture resistance and comfort you are guaranteed to get round on this bike as she knows the way! (Provided you have the peddle power.)

Check out the 2013 news which gives Graham’s first-hand report on his experience of his first Fred Whitton Challenge. It may inspire you to train harder and face the winter rains straight in the face.

Only last week I did part of the ride on my Tacx trainer! The first pass was so steep that grinding along at a cadence of 50 rpm on such a high resistance has wrecked my turbo tyre. A new tyre is fitted and a Tacx ride in Mallorca up to Soller of only 10% was a very welcome distraction from the torrential rain and gales outside. For once it’s not only raining in the Lake District!

If you’re going to give the Saddleback Fred Whitton challenge a go in 2014 – good luck. I look forward to meeting you at Coal Yeat Farm.

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