This weekend saw the largest road bike sportive to hit the Lake District with 1,000 riders taking part in the annual Fred Whitton Challenge on Sunday 11th May.

Riders headed out from the start in Coniston between 6am and 9am to tackle the infamous 112 mile course taking in the Lake District’s toughest passes of Kirkstone, Hostister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Cold Fell, Hardknott and Wrynose.

Rob Jebb and the UK National Hill Climb Champion James Dobbin set a new course record of 5 hours 40 minutes in sweltering conditions, taking 5 minutes off last year's record of 5 hours 45 min, set by Stuart Reid and Lewis Craven.

After an 8.30am start the two riders dragged a bunch at a blistering pace for 46 miles over Kirkstone, down the A66 towards Keswick before the hammer was put down by Jebb on the ascent of Honister.

UK National Hill Climb Champion James Dobbin jumped on the wheel of Jebb and the pair battled it out over the remaining 66 miles at an average speed of 20mph to cross the line together.

Participation in Sportive cycle events has risen massively with British Cycling reporting a massive 35% increase in 2007 and the Fred Whitton has been no exception with the 1,000 places selling out within three days of the event opening.

  • www.fredwhittonchallenge.org.uk