Last month I was contacted by Optimum nutrition to see if I wanted to take part in a cycling challenge. I was warned that this is one of, or the hardest sportive in the UK. With my cycling training in full flow, I thought there wouldn’t be a better excuse to have a trip away and to fit in my training. It was also a great opportunity for me to work with Optimum Nutrition. The ride was a 113 mile ride in the lake district. At this point I should have guessed it was going to be hilly. Anyway I jumped at the opportunity and signed up ASAP.
My cycling has improved so much since last year thanks to my coach Rob Stanley. Instead of just going out for a ride for a certain length of time, like I was doing last year, Rob started to give me some structure. Incorporating heart rate zones, speed work, hill climbs… the list goes on. All of these sets allowed me to be prepared for the Fred Whitton Challenge, well I hoped so anyway.
Leading up to the challenge, it was as if someone thought that it was going to be easy and decided to give me a humdinger of a cold. Waking up at around 5.30am it was time to head over to Ambleside to start the long ride. This was going to be the furthest I had cycled since Ironman Bolton but nearly three times as much elevation.
7am… I set of on the challenge. I have to be honest I was very pessimistic, I knew I was going to be able to finish the race but I thought I may have to push my bike up a few of the hills and stop for a breather. the first climb came after about 15 miles, it was an incline of around %25. Some people were already pushing there bikes up. It was going to be a long long day for them!! The first climb came and went and the sun came out. Maybe my day wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought.
Anyway I won’t chat about every single climb otherwise we could be here for a while. The one climb which The Fred Whitton Challenge is known for is the Hardknott Pass. This climb comes at mile 93, with sections of over 30% incline. I was out of the saddle for the whole climb. I was so pleased with myself to reach the top without getting off my bike. If you want to get a better idea of the climb just google it. It is crazy hard!!
If you want to know more about the day feel free to contact me and ask questions! If you are a serious cyclist, or just after a challenge then I highly recommend this event! It was ran extremely well and the thrill when you get up the climbs is unbelievable.