Britain’s toughest ‘Sportive’ bike event
On Sunday 8th May, the Company’s Engineering Manager, Paul Turner, along with 1,400 other fool-hardy individuals took on the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District for charity.
Billed as Britain’s toughest ‘Sportive’ bike event, the Fred Whitton involves cycling a 112 mile (180 Km) route around the lakes, that takes in 5 of the toughest passes in the area including the notorious Hardknott Pass, Britain’s steepest road with its 1 in 3 gradient.
The route requires the cyclist to climb 14,000 feet (4,267 metres) during the course of the day and then descend on often steep, twisty and uneven roads making the event a constant test of both the physical and mental fitness of the participant.
Paul was entered in the event with just 3 weeks notice as a replacement for another rider who felt he wasn’t up to the challenge. Having done no cycling since completing the Race Around Ireland, Paul was grateful that he agreed to do the event before he had been made fully aware of what was involved!
By the time the morning of the event came round, he was a little more fearful, having checked out the nature of the challenge but still not having had the opportunity to get any cycling done prior to starting the route. The added challenge of driving rain, sporadic hail storms, wind and freezing temperatures that greeted the riders on the morning of the event made completing it all the tougher.
Paul did, however, complete the challenge, managing a creditable time for the event of 9 hours 9 minutes.