We're big fans of the beautiful British countryside, and we can't help but feel that Britain is even more beautiful when viewed from a saddle, with lungs on fire and legs that have long since turned to jelly. So we've scoured the country and hunted down the 6 toughest sportives out there:
1. THE FRED WHITTON CHALLENGE
When: Sunday 13th May, 2018
Where: Grasmere, Cumbria
What to expect: Gruelling climbs, winding roads, steep descents and top British scenery
Although this years’ challenge has already taken place, we couldn’t leave the Saddleback Fred Whitton off the list. Besides, you’ll likely need a bit of time to get in shape for next years’ event, which follows a gruelling 110 mile route through the Lake District, taking in every major climb in the area, totalling 3,950 metres of ascent.
The icing on the pain-cake comes at 99 miles, when you arrive at the foot of what organisers call ‘the daddy of them all’ - Hardknott pass. Although only a 393 metre climb, the 30% gradient in the final section has brought many a rider to their knees. If you manage to stay on your bike the entire way through, you’ll be among the few who do.
We love the FAQ section on the Fred Whitton website, including the inevitable query: ‘Will it hurt?’, to which the answer is of course a simple: ‘yes’. It’s a popular event and entry is via a ballot system. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2018 ballot opening in December 2017.
More information: Fred Whitton
Photo credit: Fred Whitton Challenge