Thinking about the Fred Whitton

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  • Thinking about the Fred Whitton
  • Premier Icon richardkennerley
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    Let’s just say I’m thinking I’d like to do the Fred Whitton. As it happens I’m on holiday atvthe time next year so I’m talking about 2021 (!!) I’m using it as a target i.e. I’ve got to get fit enough to ride it.

    I know this is an over simplistic question, but what is a realistic average speed to be maintaining on such a day out?

    I’ve done 42 miles/4500ft today at 12.5mph (estimated moving time on strava.) So a third of the Fred and there’s no way I’d keep that up for the full distance!!

    Premier Icon Vortexracing
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    I’m considering it as well 🙁

    I’m going to use Zwift and one of the training plans to prep

    Took me ages. Can’t remember exactly but ten hours, maybe more.

    Go for it

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    I know this is an over simplistic question, but what is a realistic average speed to be maintaining on such a day out?

    Depends on you, your physiological ability and how much effort you’re prepared to put into training for it. Oh, and the conditions. And a bit of luck. You can now expect a long stream of humble brags from folk who had a terrible ride and could ‘only’ manage to scrape under seven hours by a couple of minutes.

    More importantly it’s a stunning route and has a proper, gritty northern feel to it that makes it pretty special no matter how fast or slowly you go. Cracking day out Gromit 🙂

    Premier Icon simondbarnes
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    I did it a few years ago after getting an entry through work. Only had a few weeks to get ready, Took the 53/39 off and replaced with a 50/34. Rode steadily on the flat, destroyed myself on the climbs (not by trying to ride quickly, just with the shear effort of winching a fat man up big hills with a 34*28 lowest gear) and cruised down the descents. My moving time was 9 hours, total time about 10. It’s a lovely route. Not an event I’d do again as I dislike riding with lots of other people but glad that I did it.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
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    Took the 53/39 off and replaced with a 50/34. Rode steadily on the flat, destroyed myself on the climbs (not by trying to ride quickly, just with the shear effort of winching a fat man up big hills with a 34*28 lowest gear

    On this, what makes a good/typical climbers set up on a road bike? I’m on a 50-34 and 11-34 9spd cassette at the moment.

    I went up Wrynose today, east to west, had to stop (to take a photo, honest!)

    MrSparkle
    Member

    I’m glad I did it back in the day before they got greedy and opened it up to so many people. It’s a tough owd day out but achievable to mortals too with training. I’d suggest having a go at Lakeland Loop sportive which is like a ‘Fred-lite’ as its a bit shorter and covers similar terrain. Gives you an idea of what you are up against.

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    I set myself two goals.

    Finish under ten hours.
    Ride everything.

    Did it in 9.30ish, cleaned everything including the hairpins on hardknot while people were stalling and falling off all around.

    Cold fell was the low point.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    Do you do much roadying? I entered it on a whim 3 years back with no proper road riding under the belt and found the whole training and event really rewarding, just interesting to throw yourself into a different discipline. I did it again the next year – think it was just under 9 hours first time then 8h 15 second time. It’s simultaneously extremely hard, in the sense of ‘I am physically ruined here’ and quite easy as it’s just a sportive at the end of the day.

    That being said, Hardknott after 90 miles is one hell of a signature feature. Doesn’t matter if you’re going round in 6 hours or 12 hours, that climb after that distance will ask big questions of anyone. I cramped out on the steep bit first time, then came back the next year and made it – would reckon the first attempt as the deepest I’ve ever gone on a bike, races and time trials included, as I was dead at the bottom but refused to shame the colours by climbing off.

    Both times I did it the weather was off the scale good which really made the descents enjoyable – found I could push things quite hard. Bad weather would totally change this aspect of the event as you’d be talking about steep descending in the rain with a crowd of mixed-ability people.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I know this is an over simplistic question, but what is a realistic average speed to be maintaining on such a day out?

    Depends on your fitness, what bike you’re on, the weather, if you want to smash it or pootle…

    Ultimately only you can answer this – same with the oft-asked question of “what low gear should I use?” – and it’ll depend on how things go as you’re riding and training. Problem is, it’s an incredibly long-term goal (18 months away!) so set a few smaller goals like doing a 50 mile Sportive, doing a century, riding a big hill etc and just see how you get on.

    Time on the route is massively weather dependent. What’s more important is not average speed or power ranges, it’s knowing things like what food you need and when, what clothing you need for any given conditions and so on.

    I went up Wrynose today, east to west, had to stop (to take a photo, honest!)

    East to West is far harder than the FW way. It’s brutal. Much longer as well.

    boblo
    Member

    Apologies as I say this every time this comes up; get the GPX and do it without the crowds. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be riding up Hardknott with 2000 other divs wobbling around on it. It’s a big day but there’s really low gearing available now if you want it. I used 50/34 front and 11-34 back. It was an 11-40 but being a Recon, the biggest 2 sprockets (lowest 2 gears) sub assembly broke on the first 20% climb so I was left with 11-34 9 speed. Enough on a light bike.

    Premier Icon senor j
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    Good luck. My “friend” has persuaded me to do the route with him next year.
    Not on the organised ride ,more a ITT/camping trip. – we know the route well enough.;-)
    I’ll go on the diet after Christmas. ha.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Apologies as I say this every time this comes up; get the GPX and do it without the crowds. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be riding up Hardknott with 2000 other divs wobbling around on it

    It is kind of horrible, but then that’s sort of the point of it – think of it as an experience. There’s something quite cool about hitting the bottom of the Hardknott, looking up and being able to see riders strung out all the way to the top. It’s a little bit epic.

    Also, by the time you reach Hardknott, things have spread out just a bit and it’s now also closed to traffic for the day, so it’s not quite as bad as you make out. Actually last time I did it, Honister was a lot worse for congestion, particularly once you throw in a few tourist cars.

    What I actually found more worrying were the loonies who seemed to have forgotten that they weren’t riding on closed roads and overtaking on the other side of the white lines on blind bends was possibly not a very good idea.

    Also, as Crazylegs above says, on a nice day, it’s just a long, hilly ride. If the weather’s bad it’s a whole other game and clothing choices, fuelling, pacing and general resilience get to be a lot more important.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
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    Yeah, I’m only an hour or so from the lakes so in theory I could do the route whenever I wanted, but setting the event as a target and something to experience seems to make some sort of sense to me.

    I tend to ride alone most of the time so riding an event like this is a totally different experience, much like riding the Ardrock is the opposite of what a day out on the mtb is for me!

    I’m going to tick off a few rides along the way, I’ve looked at the Lakeland sportive and there’ll be some forest of Bowland ones as well.

    I’ve joined a cycling gym so I’ve started doing turbo sessions there which I can keep up over the winter.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
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    Been wanting to give it a whirl for a while, when does the ballet open?

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
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    Thinks it’s January, the info is on their website now 👍

    Premier Icon mos
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    I’m thinking of it as well. Although the idea of doing something with 50% more distance & climbing than the Ronde van Calderdale does scare me a bit!

    mashr
    Member

    sandwicheater

    Subscriber

    Been wanting to give it a whirl for a while, when does the ballet open

    Planning on dancing your way up the climbs?

    Apologies as I say this every time this comes up; get the GPX and do it without the crowds. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be riding up Hardknott with 2000 other divs wobbling around on it.

    I think this is entirely down to the rider, for me the ‘point’ and the ‘value’ of sportives is the experience of riding with hundreds of other riders. Sort of what Badlywireddog said. Riding things on my own makes it very hard to push myself, and there’s the camaraderie of riding with hundreds of others, I’ve gone away from every sportive I’ve ridden with new friends, even if they just become Strava buddies afterwards. Even got introduced to the family of the guy I chummed round last time.

    OP I think you have enough time to prepare that you shouldn’t worry about your current times and average speeds, just start to get as many miles as you can under your belt. Especially commuting if you can as this will force you out in all weathers which is valuable experience for the Fred!

    Remember the 80/20 ‘rule’, spend most of your time riding easy easy miles, and then 20% of your time going hard, e.g. on the turbo or doing hill repeats or something. This strategy works well with normal daily life.

    Finally, don’t make this mistakes I keep making when ‘training’ which is don’t go too hard too soon, even on intervals build up slowly rather than trying to do 4 sets of 10 30 second sprints etc. Your knees will thank you!

    Focus on your core also, I’m typing lying on the floor right now as I wait for surgery on a herniated disc. The surgeon reckons that too much time sitting is the culprit, but everyone else reckons a weak core combined with too much hard training is the reason. Either way, I’d recommend a book called ‘Core Advantage’ by Tommy Danielson, he provides some great floor based workouts which take anything between 15 and 25 minutes. He explains them all as they relate to cycling and it’s generally a very motivating book.

    Good luck!

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    If you need a target, just invite a friend to do it with you, pick a weekday outside of the holidays and it should be quieter too.

    mashr
    Member

    I tend to ride alone most of the time so riding an event like this is a totally different experience

    Definitely worth getting some group rides in beforehand in that case. You don’t want to be the guy who’s unpredictable when a group forms

    footflaps
    Member

    I never got into the FW but have done the Etape du Dales, which is similar numbers wise. I spent a lot of time riding in the Dales before hand, so was very used to the hills by the time the event came up. Still completely bombed about 70% of the way round (as expected).

    I would make sure you are used to riding on very long steep climbs before the event as otherwise it will be a real shock. I saw people pushing up the first climb on the Etape du Dales, 10 miles into 100+ and was thinking ‘did you even look at the course profile?’.

    I ended up riding a lot of it alone / with one other rider which wasn’t ideal. Any group I joined on the flats was too slow up the hills, so I just left them and continued on my own.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
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    @ mashr, damn it! Hangs head in spelling shame.

    Crag
    Member

    mos

    Subscriber
    I’m thinking of it as well. Although the idea of doing something with 50% more distance & climbing than the Ronde van Calderdale does scare me a bit!

    If you can get round the RvC then the FW is certainly not beyond reach. Personally, I find the RvC equally as tough.

    I’ve done the FW twice now, both times I’ve been blessed with glorious weather which helps massively. I wouldn’t want to winch up some of those passes with rain and sleet coming in sideways.

    tpbiker
    Member

    I’ve done 42 miles/4500ft today at 12.5mph (estimated moving time on strava.)

    Was this done on a rolling route, or the type of terrain in the fred? 12.5 mph on a rolling route, even with that kind of elevation, isn’t particularly quick. Based on rides I’ve done on rolling routes compared to those with big climbs with similar elevation, the rolling routes are usually faster by a mph or 2 an hr.

    So I’m thinking, once you factor in steep climbs and 3 times the distance, you’ll be looking at not much over 10mph on the day .ie a long long day out!

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
    Subscriber

    It was in the lakes; ambleside, wrynose, kiln bank cross, east side of coniston, hawkshead hill, ambleside.

    I ride the forest of bowland a bit which provides some climbing, but my local riding is essentially flat. I tend to average 17-18mph locally.

    I’m totally on board with improving fitness as the best thing I can do, but I think a few changes to my bike should help. I’m on 32c gravel kings at the moment which I plan on dropping to something like a 28c conti GP or similar. I suspect my wheelset could be lightened significantly as well.

    My bike currently weighs 11.5kg before I add water.

    karnali
    Member

    For me Wyrnose east to west is toughest climb in lakes, others may disagree but no rest or easy bits going that way. A tough route is to start in Ambleside and do the route back wards but from Keswick cut down to Ambleside that’s a hard ride but would give you a good test. I’ve done the Fred and in some ways it’s nice having lots of other riders about, especially getting in a group for some of the flatter bits. But an early summer midweek day solo or in a small group avoids the hassle of lots of riders on the climbs. You can still bring the entry fee to a charity. A very good sportive is the Townsend challenge in April, short but tough as you go as hard as possible

    tpbiker
    Member

    I’m on 32c gravel kings

    My bike currently weighs 11.5kg before I add water.

    Is that a gravel bike you are on then? People on here will probably tell you they can go just as fast on an old steel commuter as they can on a top end road bike, but they are talking crap.

    I’m way faster on my 7kg road bike with top quality wheels and tyres than I am for same effort (measured power) on my cx bike with gravelkings. Id say at least 1-2 mph quicker. I’d imagine you may notice the extra weight after 90 miles up hardknott in particular !

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    Wrynose from the east definitely a tough one – very sustained. Ambleside to Eskdale green as an out and back is a good leg stretcher, get the measure of the two giants both ways. Not too long and you can get a coffee and a cake in Eskdale.

    End of the day though these steep road climbs aren’t a big deal in isolation compared to off-road climbs, which can be miles harder. The FW’s all about getting that roadie toughness in the legs where you can cope with the attritional up and down over 100 miles. Just for me personally if I was training for it again I’d do all Z2 volume and wouldn’t get too involved with hard climbing as I can cope with that intensity already. Others might need the opposite approach.

    mashr
    Member

    People on here will probably tell you they can go just as fast on an old steel commuter as they can on a top end road bike, but they are talking crap.

    BBBOOOOOO! I love the “My 45C Gravel bike is just as fast as my full-aero TT bike” threads!

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
    Subscriber

    Is that a gravel bike you are on then?

    Technically, yes. A planet X full monty SL. I have to have one all round bike, so a but of commuting, trailer pulling, a bit of bridleway pootling, but enjoyable on the road as well. I really like it, but I’ve no idea what a ‘real’ road bike feels like in comparison!!

    Maybe by the time the FW 2021 comes around, I’ll be able to justify something on C2W!! 😜

    BBBOOOOOO! I love the “My 45C Gravel bike is just as fast as my full-aero TT bike” threads!

    Yeah, they’re almost as good as the “you’re not allowed to make any aero improvements to the bike unless you are already able to maintain a TT pose for 100miles” threads 😆

    johnx2
    Member

    You can now expect a long stream of humble brags from folk who had a terrible ride and could ‘only’ manage to scrape under seven hours by a couple of minutes.

    did it last year I think in a little over eight I think, but that was with a last minute entry having been emailed to say I’d not got in, so hadn’t really trained and am in no way a roadie, am aged mid-50s yadda yadda…

    I’ve only done a handful of sportives but this was the best – the fun of it is that it’s a big event and you’re suffering with 1000s of others, loads of spectators, cowbells, pissed up people dancing by the road etc etc. Lots of normal-looking people seem to get round okay. I think with these long days an awful lot is psychological and having the desire and confidence to be able to just keep on going, regardless of fitness or lack of.

    mrb123
    Member

    Have done the event a couple of times and ridden the route perhaps 4 more times including once clockwise.

    Best of 7.11 moving which works out about 15.5mph.

    It’s a tough day but not impossible if you get an early start and take your time.

    The only really crazy steep bits are Honister and Hardknott. Definitely worth getting a look at those in advance of the event.

    Hardknott always feels like it’s 50/50 if you’ll get up without stopping, it’s that steep near the top. It’s almost as much about technique as fitness. It’s ok if you have to walk the steepest bit, plenty do and it’s not very far so doesn’t cost much time.

    There are some easy miles on the route, e.g. A66 (especially if you get in a good group) but also loads of energy sapping stuff where you’re constantly up and down.

    The first stop at Buttermere is a bit of a bun fight so worth skipping if you can get family to meet you somewhere else with supplies.

    Definitely worth doing the event proper. There’s no other UK sportive quite like it. Cresting Whinlatter to the sounds of cheers and cowbells is amazing.

    butcher
    Member

    I’ve done 42 miles/4500ft today at 12.5mph (estimated moving time on strava.) So a third of the Fred and there’s no way I’d keep that up for the full distance!!

    Based on that alone (which isn’t a lot to go off, to be honest), I’d say you can expect long day out. Estimate around the 10 hour mark and just prepare to crack on for a full day. 9 hours is not much different to 11 really, so don’t worry about averages.

    There are some decent flat sections on the Fred where you will make time up (especially riding in a group), but the steep climbs are crippling with a good few miles in the legs. It is very different to hammering out a 42 mile ride. It’s all very personal, but I find a ride usually starts getting tough around 70 miles in. The legs get tired, and on flat terrain you can just spin it out. There’s no hiding in the Lakes though. Hence, get to a point where you feel you can ride all day with a bit left to winch yourself up the odd mega climb. If you can work past that to a point where you feel comfortable putting the power down, go for it. But it’s all about pacing yourself.

    People on here will probably tell you they can go just as fast on an old steel commuter as they can on a top end road bike, but they are talking crap.

    Hmm. Depends. My experience of those old steel commuters is marginal. No more than 2 minutes difference flat out in a lumpy 10 mile TT. Gravel bike is slower, but position more relaxed and wheels weigh a ton. Put the fastest possible tyres on and ride what is most comfortable.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Gravel bike is slower, but position more relaxed and wheels weigh a ton. Put the fastest possible tyres on and ride what is most comfortable.

    I’m faster on that route on a gravel bike than a road bike. The descents are far easier on a bike with 35mm tyres and disc brakes!

    Don’t worry too much about it. It’s not about smashing out strava times or being as fast as possible. If you’re comfortable on a bike for a day, you know what pace to set, what food/drink to have and what clothing you need for whatever the weather happens to be doing, you’ll get round it fine.

    Get your entry in as soon as possible and then just prepare for it by riding your bike, you’ll soon get used to what works and what you need to do to get round it and enjoy it.

    Premier Icon w00dster
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    Just to be controversial….I’m faster up and down my regular very challenging Snowdon climb on my 9.5kg disc brake bike with 32mm tyres than I am on my lightweight Aero race bike, 7kgs with 23mm tyres and carbon rim brakes.
    Difference is one is a 53/39 and 11/28 (for racing crits) vs my heavier bike with 50/34 and 11-32.
    All about the gearing for the steep hills.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
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    mos

    Subscriber
    I’m thinking of it as well. Although the idea of doing something with 50% more distance & climbing than the Ronde van Calderdale does scare me a bit!

    If you can get round the RvC then the FW is certainly not beyond reach. Personally, I find the RvC equally as tough.

    Wish you hadn’t mentioned this. Never heard of it before, looks horrendous….. Why do I want to do it!!?

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
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    Is the RVC the Ronde Van Calderdale?

    Think i’ll be giving that a whirl next year. My commute can take in some of the cobbled climbs and it’s a killer.

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