On Sunday 11th May three riders from East Grinstead cycling club (but riding as part of the UBS cycling team) set off North to the Lake District to ride the Fred Whitton challenge. This event is one of the most difficult and arduous sportive rides in the UK, taking in 8 lakeland passes, running to 112 miles in length and 4,100 metres of climbing.
On the day temperatures soared to 25 degrees which while affording the riders and spectators fantastic scenic views, also made riding conditions very tough. A lot of riders started before 06.30 in the morning to take advantage of the cooler conditions.
The Honister (25%) and Hardknott (33%) passes proved a spectacular sight with hundreds of riders weaving their way up the mountain side in the baking sun, with the descents more than tricky on the other side. The finishing line was a welcome sight as dehydration was taking its toll. Many riders did not finish (820 riders completed course out of 1000 starters).
Suffolk based Brian Phillips came home in an excellent 6 hours 49 minutes, Stefano Arcidiacono in 8h 08m and Ben Hardisty in 8h 10m. It should be noted that the day before Brian had competed in and placed 5th in Round 4 of the Rudy Project series, not a bad weekend’s work !
From BikeRadar… Robert Jebb (Wheelbase.co.uk) and the UK National Hill Climb Champion James Dobbin (Arctic Premier RT) set a new course record of 5 hours 40 minutes in the 112 mile Fred Whitton Challenge, staged in the UK’s Lake District on 11 May. The pair took five minutes off last year’s course record, set by Stuart Reid and Lewis Craven (Wheelbase.co.uk).