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10 out of 10
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Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge

13/05/2012 - The English Lake District - Sportive

Rating: 96.6% based on 15 reviews - Rate this Event Now
Previous Years Rating: 94.8% based on 35 reviews

Previous Years Event Ratings

Rated Event: 96.570%

wrote:


Rated Event: 94.350%

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Rated Event: 97.680%

wrote:

Cracking event and the hardest route I've ever done, a real challenge even for the fittest of riders. Organisation is excellent and the free t-shirt was a nice bonus. After finishing I swore never again, but now starting to think about how I'd do it next year, hopefully in sunshine


Rated Event: 97.680%

wrote:

Surely the event by which all others must be judged. The weather was terrible, and the first feedstop a long time coming , but everything else was spot on. I was particularly impressed by the freindliness of marshals/ helpers. Hard , but didn't find it as hard as the Tour of the Peak 2009.


Rated Event: 99.900%

wrote:

In Tina Turners words - "Simply the Best". Every aspect, every little thing, every possible need is covered and it is done with a smile. The crowds are overwhelming, the scenery spectacular and the thought of Hardknott gives me nightmares for 2 months beforehand.


Rated Event: 85.470%

Harry wrote:

What a day out!! Weather was sent by the cycling gods, bright, not too warm, slight breeze. It even gave a little shower when I was needing to cool on Newlands Pass!! Anyone who thinks they can cycle should aim to ride this event. It is a classic and you can certainly tell they have run it for 11 years as it was close to perfect. The lining of the route by friends and families was truely special and being clapped at the top of the passes really did give me goose bumps. Great route, great event. Will be joining the lottery for next year!! Thanks Fred!!!


Rated Event: 99.900%

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Rated Event: 99.900%

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: 91.020%

wrote:

Amazing ride. The best course and brilliantly organised. The food on the course and at the end is so good. The bean stew, tea and cake is worth the pain of Hardknott alone.


Rated Event: 93.240%

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: 93.240%

wrote:

One of the best sportives in the UK


Rated Event: 96.570%

wrote:

A super event with an unique and friendly atmosphere. Length, combined with the monster hills and the finest landscape makes this a tough, must do, challenge. Compares favourably with the very best of the continental sportives.


Rated Event: 94.350%

wrote:

Another first time FWC rider.

I had been a marshall on the event for the previous two years and had literally thought "I could do that" so two years on, constant training and several shorter sportives the day had finally arrived

Being lucky enough to live in Cumbria and having done the Lakeland Loop I had the 'advantage' of knowing what to expect and completing the eighty mile Drumlanrig Challenge the week before had boosted my confidence

Setting off at 6.45 but having woken at 3am, I guess like many others I was excited but cold and short of a few hours sleep. I was determined to stick to my own pace and fight my natural competiveness by not tagging on to faster moving groups of riders. Kirkstone Pass comes soon enough and the descent although steep and fast for those brave enough brought me relatively near to home territory by Ullswater.

Well it warmed up and the rest of the day was brilliant, yes there was the small matter of four of the steepest passes in England and for me, scary descents on the other side and having to walk albeit just the steepest bit of Hardknott but I will never forget the hundreds of people at the top of Whinlatter, the intermittent ringing of bells to encourage us on, the atmosphere at the feed stops and the last two miles into Coniston when any tiredness just disappears.

Well what do I aim for now? Isn't it enough that someone in his fifties that had given up running and cycling for a set of Wainwrights to even complete the FWC. I think not, next year (ballot dependent) I will ride up that steepest bit of Hardknott.

Thanks to all the organisers marshalls and riders who made it such a day to remember.



Rated Event: 97.680%

wrote:

the mummy, daddy and all the relatives of them all. Anyone who calls themselves a cyclist should do it at least once in their lives. Fantastically organised. Great camaraderie.


Rated Event: 96.570%

wrote:

First time on the FWC and it was every bit as hard as I'd heard. Really tough course in fantastic surroundings - when you remember to look around! Support from marshals and everyone lining the route was fantastic. Well organised great event.


Rated Event: 99.900%

wrote:

Excellent event with very challenging route.


Rated Event: 93.240%

wrote:


Rated Event: 95.460%

brianthesnail wrote:

Great event. Very hard but not nearly as bad as I found it 2 years ago. Compact chainset made a massive difference on the really steep climbs. Managed to get all the way up Hardknott this time!!


Rated Event: 98.790%

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: 97.680%

wrote:

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





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This event's shortened URL is: https://cyclosport.org/3787