We captured all the action of the 2022 Fred Whitton Challenge, check it out.
The 22nd edition of the Fred Whitton Challenge sponsored by Wheelbase took place in glorious weather under blue skies on Sunday the 8th of May. Back in its rightful mid-spring slot following the delayed September edition last year due to the impact of Covid-19, riders were treated to dry roads and plenty of road-side support dotted all around the long 112 mile course, set in the heart of the Lake District National Park.
The Weather was perfect with clear skies revealing the jagged peaks every where you looked.
The Wheelbase Fred Whitton Challenge can rightfully claim to be the UK’s most grueling Sportive taking in all the major mountain passes in the Lake District, with each climb striking some level of fear in even the most accomplished of cyclists. Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Wrynose and Blea Tarn test each and every rider with the poster child – Hardknott Pass and its 30% gradients proving to be almost unrideable for a great number of participants. There was over 3,500 metres of climbing to navigate with Hardknott coming late in the day, 94 miles into the 112 course.
Everyone finds their own pace at the Whitton and friendships are easily formed out on the road.
Over 2,000 riders took on the challenge this year on a day which saw cyclists from all over the UK forming new friendships, with natural groups of similar-paced riders forming on the road. Some of the biggest road-side support came at the top of Whinlatter, with scenes reminiscent of a Tour De France mountain stage; riders climbing through crowds of supporters ringing cow bells and shouting encouragement.
The local Kendal Cycling Club was well represented at the Fred Whitton Challenge.
It would be a long day for many participants which saw cyclists heading out from the village of Grasmere as early as 6.00am on Sunday morning and the last arrivals back at the finish crossing the line at 6.40pm. Wheelbase would like to congratulate every single rider who took part and faced this arduous challenge, helping to create a fantastic day as well as raising a huge amount of money for charity, with this year’s edition of the Fred Whitton Challenge helping to make the total raised through the years to over 2 million pounds.
With great weather and safe, dry roads there was plenty to smile about at this year’s Fred Whitton Challenge.
As well as sponsoring the event and providing mechanical assistance before the start Wheelbase also fielded four of our Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli team riders and challenged them to see if they could set the fastest finishing time of the day. Our multi-cycling-discipline star Giles Drake who is more typically seen racing off-road in Cyclocross, Gravel and Mountain Bike races took on the Fred Whitton Challenge for the first time and came home in first place with an amazing time of 5 hours and 35 minutes. The top three was rounded out by two other Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli riders with Tom Merry taking 2nd place and Oli Dawson taking 3rd place in 5.40.29 and 5.50.34 respectively. Giles’ effort over this attritional course is simply stunning with a 20 mph average speed! Check out his Strava stats below…
Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli’s Giles Drake set the fastest time of the event with a stunning performance on the bike.
Fatigued riders had to ride carefully on some of the steepest, most winding descents on the course.
The long and technical descent off Blea Tarn was a welcome relief to tired legs.
Despite a huge entry of over 2,000 riders the long, arduous 112 mile course had riders spread over many miles.
The smiles say it all – relief that the worst of the climbs are behind you.
On a glorious day in the Lakes there was plenty of road-side support for each and every rider taking on the Fred Whitton Challenge.
Huge congratulations to everyone who came and conquered the grueling Fred Whitton Challenge.
Riders had travelled from far and wide to take on the UK’s most challenging sportive.
Afterwards there was a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy a well-earned post-ride beer.
The 2022 edition of the Wheelbase Fred Whitton Challenge was a great success, thanks in no-small-part to all the hard work of a huge team of volunteers.
There were plenty of tales to tell at the end of the Fred Whitton Challenge with riders comparing how they had fared.
Did you ride the Fred? Check out our huge Facebook photo gallery and see if you can spot yourself.
Wheelbase’s Giles Drake had the fastest ride of the day, completing the course in 5 hours and 36 minutes.
Tom Merry of the Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli team had the 2nd fastest time with 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Rounding out the top three was another of our talented Wheelbase squad – Oli Dawson finished his ride in 5 hours and 50 minutes.
Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli’s Dave Duggan had a puncture early on but still managed to place 96th overall with a time of 6 hours and 55 minutes.
Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli Team Results:
- 1st Place Giles Drake 05.36.26
- 2nd Place Tom Merry 05.40.29
- 3rd Place Oliver Dawson 05.50.34
- 96th Place David Duggan 06.55.02
Written by Johnny Dodgin
Photos by James Vincent
Video by DMTWO Media
Wheelbase Team Photos by Steve Flemming
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