If you’re at all interested in cycling, or you’d just like to witness
one of the most extraordinary feats of fitness and endurance which can
possibly be imagined, then be sure to make a date to come along to the
Three Shires Inn on Sunday 8th May and cheer on the incredibly brave
cyclists as they take on the phenomenal Fred Whitton Challenge cycle
And what a race it is too! Even to a keen cyclist, the statistics are
pretty staggering: 112 miles of cycling, with a dizzying 12960 feet of
uphill climbing as the route follows a tortuous tour of the notorious
Lake District mountain passes of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands,
Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose, not to mention the countless other
heart-pumping climbs and terrifying descents. It’s little wonder, then,
that the event ranks amongst the toughest cycle challenges in the world!
If you’d like to see the full details of the route or to know more
about the event in general, you can find plenty of additional
information at www.fredwhittonchallenge.co.uk.
With around two thousand entrants it makes an impressive event to
witness, although you can be certain that not all of them will still be
in the race by the time you watch them hurtle past our beer garden. Many
will by this stage have succumbed to cut-off deadlines earlier in the
route, as well as the inevitable mechanical problems and mishaps which
occur on the fast mountain descents.Last year’s winner crossed the
finish line in just under six hours. Think about that for a moment… It’s
an average speed of over 18 miles per hour, which most of us couldn’t
keep up for long on the flat, let alone along all those narrow twisting
mountain roads and of course the small matter of climbing the equivalent
of half way up Mount Everest thrown in for good measure.
The ‘Fred’ is widely regarded as one of the UK’s premier cycle
sportive events, and has raised over a million pounds for a variety of
charities over the years. To the majority of riders who take part, a
podium finish isn’t even a remote possibility – it’s really all about
taking on the challenge itself and the immense sense of achievement
which comes from crossing the finishing line. If it’s in a respectable
time too, then so much the better!
So whether you’re looking for a suitable spot to cheer on a friend
who’s taking part, or simply curious to see some of this extraordinary
spectacle and soak up the atmosphere, the race runs right past the Three
Shires Inn making us a great vantage point from which to see the riders
as they close in on the finish just a few miles away in Grasmere.
In case you’re wondering about access, the roads are NOT closed to
traffic during the event so you’ll have no trouble getting to and from
the Three Shires. As with any other day of the year though, do please
keep an eye out for cyclists– there’ll be quite a few around, and
they’re in a bit of a hurry!