As the adventure capital of the UK, Cumbria – the Lake District holds its fair share of events and sportives for those more active types especially cyclists. From now until September there is a steady stream of cycle sportives to suit a variety of abilities but many learn towards the hardcore cyclist out there. It’s quite obvious when you think about it due to the nature of the roads and Lake District terrain.
The biggest most popular and most famous of the Lake District cycling races is the Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge, challenge being the operative word.
The Fred Whitton is a gruelling 110 mile race at nearly 100 feet per mile. Starting and finishing in Grasmere at the Sports Field taking in nearly every Lake District pass with the utterly ridiculous Hardknott Pass with its 30% gradient thrown in towards the end. Scenic it is so for spectators and support teams there are far worse places to be stood around, the scenery however is not a factor for the riders! At the finish, plenty of wobbly legs and hugs from friends and relatives, everyone with a look of joy that it had finally come to an end with many saying “I never want to see that bike again”. Despite this, most people don’t just do it once and it is one of the most entered and oversubscribed cycling events in the country!
There are many of these lunatics that are local to Cumbria and the Lake District but a massive amount come from all over the UK which require somewhere to stay. Bicycle lovers themselves who will more than welcome and understand what has just been accomplished are Keith & Jacky of Raise View Bed & Breakfast in Grasmere. They know exactly where to go to refuel afterwards too in the many excellent restaurants and inns in Grasmere Village, just what is needed after a ride and a half!
The Fred Whitton Challenge will be taking place on May 7th 2017 and all the proceeds go to charity each with the recipients of 2017 being Macmillan Cancer Support, Duddon & Furness MRT, North West and Great North Air Ambulance and finally Millom BeSpoke BikingTM – a cycling based life enrichment project for pupils in the Millom area. “The Fred” has raised over a million pounds in the 16 years it has been held.