Fred Whitton Attempt

Back from an awesome weekend in the Lakes with a load of friends from the Tri Club. The aim of the weekend was to do the Fred Whitton route which we attempted on Sunday. Unfortunately that proved to be the worst day of weather. We made good progress initially and it was looking excellent as it was a pretty evenly paced group so we arrived at the top of the passes pretty close together, not much hanging around and a good pace between the climbs. With  perfect bad timing just after the rain started we had a minor crash (due to slick road immediately after the rain started) and then a puncture that took a couple of efforts to fix. The latter meant the group was sat in the pissing rain, halfway down the climb and virtually everyone was shivering and very cold by the end. Virtually everyone had misjudged what to wear – most without leggings or waterproof. The weather had looked good to start but now looked set bad. We ducked into a tea shop to warm up.

It was rather a bizarre tea shop – more just someones dining room. We could see through to the kitchen and where the kids were sat on the computer, no menu and it felt like the bill was made up on the spot. 10 quid for 8 drinks wasn’t bad though. We decided we should knock the attempt on the head and whiz back to Ambleside from there. We’d not quite got halfway – we’d been over Kirkstone, Matterdale, Honistor and Newlands. After getting back to Amblesides I continued on in the rain. It cleared up after about another half hour and I enjoyed a lovely ride down through Grisedale and back up the east of Coniston. Ended up with 114 miles in 8.5 hours.

We all headed out for a curry which was great fun.

On Monday we decided to cycle out and continue the route where we left off. Many decided against it due to the poor forecast, wet clothing or just being slightly freaked, I think, from how harsh and scary the previous day was. This was a real shame because for all but the last 10 minutes we had good weather. There were views, some sunny spells but also quite a wind. We made excellent progress back to where we left off and were soon on Whinlatter Pass. The 5 of us were pretty evenly matched again and made for a fantastic group ride. Headed over Cold Fell into a stiff breeze stopped for snap in Gosforth before heading up Eskdale all fairly quiet slowly filling with dread as Hard Knott came into view.

It was as brutal as I remembered. That is one hell of a climb and we were all buzzing when we made it to the top. You could hardly get a word in edgeways as we all enthusiastically gave our take on the climb. On the descent I had a front wheel blow out ! Thank god I was taking it real easy – it was scary enough without being at speed. We were buzzing and chatting so much we were halfway up Wrynose before  we realised we were climbing.

Following Hawkshead Hill we met all the others in Chesters for a really fun end to the holiday. Coffee and cake was awesome as ever – rum soaked prune egg custard is quite a dish ! John had two coffees and three cakes –  don’t think I’ve ever seen it !

I continued on for another couple of hours clocking up 108 miles in 8 hours before meeting Jo and Alex to head to Pippins for tea. I was looking forward to it but I must admit, though the food was great, my salad was no where near the size they have been in there in the past. I told the guy I thought they were taking the piss. He apologised but neither gave money off or gave me more salad.

The weekend had started well with a very fast journey up. Jo, Jayne and I were in Daryl’s having breakie at 8.35 and Jayne and I were on the bikes by 10am. We went over Kirkstone and Matterdale before meeting Jo, Alex, Luis and Mark briefly. We then headed back to Chesters where we met Marie, John and Chris – coffee and a scone – yummy. We then all headed over Hawkshead hill and back to the Hostel. John, Chris and I headed straight out for a  run. John and promised Chris that I always ran steady. Unfortunately for Chris the first time he’s run with me and I felt great and slightly wicked. We set off at a good pace and all the way back I just kept pushing the pace. John told me later it’s very difficult to tell that I’m going faster or pushing harder as my running style doesn’t change. We ended up doing this 4mile loop in just over 26 minutes !

In the evening I’d cooked up a load of quiches and made a massive salad. Various cakes had been made including Johns Banoffee pie, and Alex’s ‘anti bonk’ fruit cake and nameless moist upside down cake. Awesome all round !

The only other training I managed for a sprightly 8 mile run first thing on Sunday morning.

Toptastic weekend.

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