Riding the sportive escalator

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Sportive

Riding the sportive escalator

Five steps to riding an iconic European event


Fred Whitton Challenge

The Fred Whitton Challenge needs little introduction, loved and feared in equal measure – and quite rightly so. Held in the stunning, yet very demanding, Lake District the event was first run back in 1999 making it one of the oldest on the calendar, and long before cycling garnered the column inches in the media that it does today. This is a ride that needs absolute respect, with a 112 mile route that covers all of the famous passes in the Lakes including Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose (which you hit after 100 miles). With over 4,000 metres of elevation and gradients of 30% ‘The Fred’ has the credentials to rival even the toughest European sportives, leaving hardened riders jelly-legged by the end.

A Lakeland local enjoys the view of the descent of Wrynose as it snakes its way off into the distance. pic: ©James Hodgson

Although the official event takes place in May, which puts it in a prime position on the calendar before perhaps tackling your summer sportive in Europe, the ‘Four Seasons’ ride means you can cover the course 365 days per year using a timing chip to authenticate your ride. Either way The Fred Whitton is a superb opportunity to not only test your physical strength but also your mental reserve.

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