For those of you out there who don’t know the Fred, it’s supposed to be one of the toughest sportives in the UK. Its 115 miles with about 4000m of climbs in the Lake District, you cycle(or walk!) over all the major passes during the ride, and the weather can play a major role too. This was the toughest ride I had attempted. You have to enter a ballot even to get a place, I was lucky, but my mates were’nt, so it was me on my own.
It starts at 6 am in Grasmere. I stayed in a nearby youth hostel who put on a special breakfast for us at 5 am, then it was a swift downhill ride (20%) to the start. Massive traffic jam as thousands of people try to get to the start. The weather was really nice for a change if a bit chilly at 6 am. You can see the route yourself on the Fred Whitton site. www.fredwhittonchallenge.co.uk . There didn’t seem to be much flat riding, it was uphill right away. I really needed a lower gear, something I will sort out for my next adventure, most people seemed to have a 32 on the back, mine was a 25 and not really suitable, I am a norfolk lad afterall! The first food stop wasn’t til 50 miles, and was well used. Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands and Whinlatter were manageable and the second food stop at 83 miles was really appreciated. there was a cut off at 3.30, I was well inside this. By 98 miles we hit Hardknott pass, and I had to walk, I was knackered and so were lots of others, Wrynose pass followed soon after, and the finish line was welcomed. It took me over 11 hours. A tough but fantastic day out in the most beautiful scenery. Give it a go!!