Our Low Wood Bay fitness-fanatic instructors all have their sport of choice. Andy Hallewell tells us about training for his mammoth Fred Whitton Lake District cycling challenge in May.
So it’s nearly that time of year again! 13th May 2018 - the annual Fred Whitton Challenge! One hundred and twelve mile cycle sportive around the Lake District.
Everyone interested in riding “the Fred” enters a ballot with over 7,000 entries. Selection isn’t guaranteed as only 2,000 places are awarded. I’ve been lucky (or unlucky!) enough to be selected to ride this year again after completing last year’s ride in 9 hours and 38 minutes. The very top riders complete the route in just under six hours but eleven hours and over is not uncommon for the average Weekend warrior rider.
Several gruelling climbs
This is a very tough route and going on rider feedback the hardest one-day ride in the UK. The ride includes all the Lakeland passes, one with a 30% gradient and this comes 98 miles into the route. The event starts in Grasmere and takes in the massive climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose.
This year’s training has taken a slightly different angle. Last year I was aiming simply to finish, whereas this year it will to be improve on my time considerably.
Teaching a lot of spin classes through the winter has helped me maintain a certain level of bike fitness. The Club has a bike in the gym that I can set up to the dimensions of my road bike and so that has also been a big help.
Nothing quite compares to being out on the bike though and with the nights getting lighter, and hopefully warmer and drier, the training out on the bike starts in earnest.
We are lucky to have some really challenging organised rides coming up in the lakes in quick succession, starting in late March the spring classic, a 54 miler which I completed. Then late April with the Lakeland Loop 76 miler which is widely regarded as THE warm up ride for the Fred. The Lakeland Loop climbs the infamous Hardknott and Wrynose passes that can send chills down even the toughest rider’s spine with its 30% gradient! I will know soon how far off I am in terms of my fitness.
Roll on May 13th!
If you are training for a particular competition, or if you would like to set a new personal fitness target, come and chat with the team. They would be more than happy to help you plan your training and give you loads of encouragements along the way.