Fred Whitton Challenge Sportive – Lakes Cycling

The Fred Whitton Challenge is one of the most popular sportives in the UK and is also famed as being particularly difficult. Dubbed ‘The Daddy of them all’ by Cycling Weekly, riders rank it alongside European events such as the Marmotte in terms of difficulty. The ride is a real challenge and everyone who completes it has a true sense of achievement. The Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge is a charity event in honour of the late Fred Whitton who was a great advocate for cycle sport in Cumbria and North Lancashire. It is with respect to Fred and his ideals that the event remains just that, ‘a challenge’.

The Fred Whitton Challenge consists of a 113 mile sportive around the Lake District, now a World Heritage Site. Starting at Grasmere and taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott, Wrynose and Blea Tarn passes.

The very top riders complete the route in just under six hours but eleven hours and over are not uncommon for the average Sportive rider. This is a very tough route and going on rider feedback the hardest one day ride in the UK, the event includes all the Lakeland passes, one with a 30% gradient and this comes at 98 miles.

The Beast Sportive 108 Miles – Lakes Cycling

“THE BEAST” SPORTIVE – LAKE DISTRICT 108 MILE LOOP

Come and use your mid season fitness to take on our challenging annual Lake District sportive – 108 miles of scenic riding – remote lanes, stunning views, challenging passes, lake shores, forest roads and seaside promenades – something for everyone – especially as a pre Fred Whitton warm up.

Your day begins on the Lune cycleway and heads through Halton village before a short, sharp climb to gain the quiet road that heads north and towards The Lakes.
Traffic free lanes lead to a short section of quiet A road through Burton in Kendal and continues over the busy A65 at a roundabout. After a short distance, deserted country lanes are rejoined and followed around the large Cumbrian town of Kendal.

Your route joins and follows the quiet A road that heads gradually up to Shap summit and village, this is rarely busy with traffic and it is a joy to follow it up and up into the remote fells before a tiolet and refreshment stop in Shap village itself.

Country lanes are then ridden from Shap, all the way to Pooley Bridge, and your second refreshment break on the shores of the lake a few KM’s up the road, you will ride the complete North side of Ullswater and through both Glenridding and Patterdale hamlets, before passing Brothers Water to the foot of the infamous Kirkstone Pass – ranked #83 of Britain’s top 100 climbs .

A steady grind will see you though the 20% sections and up to The Kirkstone Inn at 1 481 ft above sea level and then it is downhill all the way to the village of Staveley and your second toilet and refreshment break.

Once through the village – with its loos and feedstation, you will head south on remote lanes through several villages and head across the busy A6 towards the coast at Arnside.

You then turn your back to the coast to head inland and through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that we ride most, passing through our home town of Carnforth and back up to the surrounding hillsides. Here you can savour a last view across Morecambe Bay and the distant Cumbrian Fells before dropping back down to event HQ.

Distance –
174 km / 108 miles

Ascent –
2406 m / 7892 ft

Event HQ –
Lancaster Park & Ride car park, Caton Road, Lancaster, LA2 9HG (M6 junc 34)

Feed Stations –
2 – in Shap and Staverley villages