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Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge

08/05/2011 - The English Lake District - Sportive

Rating: 94.8% based on 3 reviews - Rate this Event Now
Previous Years Rating: 94.8% based on 32 reviews

Previous Years Event Ratings

Rated Event: 93.2%

wrote:

One of the best sportives in the UK


Rated Event: 93.2%

jedg29 wrote:

My first UK sportive. I heard it was the hardest and I entered knowing that my legs were strong. The question mark was whether I could sustain the effort over 112 miles. My longest day on a bike was 81 miles, four weeks before FW 2010. I have always loved the hills (going up I mean)and wanted to test myself. I gave the event total respect and paced myself. I didn't race and broke things down to 7 climbs. Honister was a real challenge and unlike anything I'd ascended before.

This got me a little worried about the "big 2" at the end because I felt the pain climbing Honister. Otherwise though, I felt good, well hydrated and was controlling my eating. As I approached 95 miles I was really getting butterflies - can I manage Hard Knott without walking? That is my goal. I saw the climb ahead of me, a steady snake of multicoloured jerseys, not moving quickly! This is why I'm here. I looked ahead to suss out where the ultra steep parts were. And then it started. Soooooo steep! One pedalstroke...stop....balance...another pedalstroke.....stop.....balance...and so on. Then a respite (the respites were still 10% + I reckon) before it kicking up again, this time for longer and lasting 2-3 hairpins. Buuuuurn! Then 2/3rds of the way up another viciously steep few turns, and here - for a brief moment - I thought I was going to stop, but my legs disagreed and I kept going. I could not believe the effort I had put in to get to the top. Total elation. I have never dug that deep in my life! I got down the other side in one piece (these descents were horrible - bumpy and tight and really sore on the hands and shoulders) and then thought that I better get up Wrynose now, or what I did at Hard Knott was all for nothing. Ahead of me, Wrynose looked just as steep! Wait a minute though, it's not as long. OK stay positive. Two ultra-steep sections of 20-30 pedal strokes later, and I was on top again. Magic!

What an event! The ultimate challenge is to stay on the bike. I dare anyone who hasn't tried that to go for it. My final time - 8hrs 52 min - Probably 650-700 out of 1000 starters, so I wasn't quick, but I got up without walking. They say that 75% have to walk on Hard Knott, and a lot of riders have to walk on Honister and Wrynose too, so I achieved my personal goal.

Will I do it again, probably, unless I can find something as difficult (the harder the climb the bigger the buzz if you succeed) and if I do then I will maybe push the flat parts a bit more, and go for a PB, maybe under 8 hrs.

I did 3 days of 65 miles each in the Alps last year, including Alpe d'Huez, Col du Galibier, and Col de Madelaine (16 mile long climb). That was tough. But those climbs are steady at 8-12%, on smooth smooth tarmac. It's every cyclist dream to conquer Alpe d'Huez. That climb took me 1hr 15 minutes (Madelaine 2.5 hrs and Galibier 2 hrs), but it was far easier than Hard Knott, which probably took me 15-20 minutes. In fact I have no idea how long it took me, I was in a completely different zone altogether, but I'm estimating.

Fred Whitton is a superb event, and if you like climbing like me, then I dont think you will find steeper hills anywhere, AND they are 100 miles into the event! Someones outrageously sick joke is a reality!! Also, the organisation is first class, the food stops provide perfect bike-fuel, and the scenery is simply stunning, the mountains are special whether you are a cyclist or not.

This is a seriously difficult challenge. My only gripe was the lack of chat on the route. I wasn't in a hurry and soley focusing on finishing and not touching-down on Hard Knott, so I could have done with more interaction with the other riders as I pedalled along at 15 mph. I got talking to a handful, but only for a few minutes at a time. It's not a major complaint though, as it is an extreme challenge and taken seriously by the riders (and quite rightly too). In fact I was very impressed with the speed at which some groups of 2-3 fast guys past me. I was just as happy to be one of the few still pedalling amongst the chain of walking cyclists climbing Hard Knott.

What next? I have no idea. Alpe d'Huez and Fred Whitton ticked off. Will everything else be a bit of a disappointment? Some ideas would be helpful guys.

Thanks again to the organisers of FW 2010. What an event!


Rated Event: 99.9%

wrote:

Brilliant event, well organised, and top scenery. Hardknott is a real challenge after 100 miles - but feeling is brilliant when you have done it.


Rated Event: 85.5%

wrote:


Rated Event: 98.8%

wrote:

Excellent


Rated Event: 94.4%

wrote:

A fantastic day out. The image of Hardknott looming like Mordor, cloaked in black storm clouds as we pedaled along Eskdale bathed in spring sunshine will stay with me for a long time. I found the descents way more initimidating than the climbs, and now I know the score will attack it a whole lot harder next year! It was nice to see Mark on Hardknott too! Many thanks to all involved - it's a wonderful event.


Rated Event: 89.9%

wrote:


Rated Event: 88.8%

wrote:

Fantastic- will be trying for a place next year


Rated Event: 88.8%

wrote:

Negative:
It would have been good to have a feed stop a little before 50 miles. And having it right before Newlands means that you can't eat too much. My malt loaf made me feel sick as I climbed.

Positive:
Everything else


Rated Event: 89.9%

wrote:

The spacing of the feedstops isn't ideal, but I guess they are the best options available. Excellent organistaion, and must be the most beautiful route in the country. Very hard but then that's the point!


Rated Event: 97.7%

wrote:

Fantastic day out - very well organised. The food was brilliant!


Rated Event: 98.8%

wrote:

awesome event, supremely organised and with the monster of all freezing hail storms just to make the memory even more vivid. i loved it from start to finish.


Rated Event: 89.9%

wrote:

Absolutely fantastic event. And let 's not forgot that 100% OF PROCEEDS go to charity: something that should put to shame many other 'big' cyclo event out there. So hats off to everyone involved. My only wish would be that obtaining an entry for the FWC would be less stressful for those not living in or near beautiful Cumbria.


Rated Event: 94.4%

wrote:

I loved this event. I will admit it was my first sportive so I don't have anything to compare it to. It gave me a lot of satisfaction to make it around some of the hardest passes in the UKwithout walking which was my main aim. Amazing support all round from the friendly sign in crew to all the people who prepared and served the food who were so friendly I nearly spent too long at the feeds chatting and almost missed making it in under 8hrs. The marshalls on all the awkward junctions who made sure we were safe were fantastic as were the supporters all over the course.


Rated Event: 94.4%

wrote:

Great Event. I cannot praise the organisation enough. Faultless! Shame about all the empty gel packs on the road!





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This event's shortened URL is: https://cyclosport.org/5