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Gruelling 112 mile Lake District sportive claimed two casualties in tough conditions

Two cyclists were airlifted to hospital during one of the country’s most challenging sportives in the Lake District this weekend.

Two men fell off their bikes while taking part in the 112 mile Fred Whitton Challenge today.

A 55 year old man from Portsmouth fell on a steep descent at Honister Pass, and the Great North Air Ambulance was called at 10.30am. After assessing his back and hip injuries the team flew him to Royal Preston Hospital where his injuries were severe, but his condition described as stable.

The air ambulance returned to the course at 2pm to the aid of another man in his fifties who had fallen off on the Wrynose Pass. According to the North West Evening Mail, the Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team was assisting the casualty at the scene.

The cyclist had severe head and hip injuries and was again flown to Royal Preston Hospital where he too was said to be in a stable condition.

Finishers of the ride tweeted that the conditions were difficult, with rain at times.

The Fred Whitton Challenge is on public roads and can be ridden at any time of the year, with the loan of a timing chip.

When our man Dave Atkinson took on the tough Fred Whitton Challenge a couple of years back, he wrote:

“The descent off Wrynose is an exercise in not falling into a ditch, mostly. Steep and lumpy and tight and twisty.”

Read his full report here.
 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

44 comments

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tomturcan [66 posts] 2 years ago
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I rode the Fred today. Sorry to hear about the accidents, but the roads were damp and the descents very steep - I hope they are OK. Brilliant event though, very well organised and supported, and certainly a tough one. Lots of very tired people at the end.

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Krd51 [28 posts] 2 years ago
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That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
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netclectic [134 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

Don't know if you've noticed but even the pros fall off occasionally. With any mass participation event there are going to be accidents, shit happens.

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Bigringrider [216 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

And you're an experienced cyclist and should therefore be the only person who's allowed to ride on the roads I presume? No, you're a snob. We'll done.

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carbon337 [13 posts] 2 years ago
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It's not a F'ing race!

Plebs

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fukawitribe [1957 posts] 2 years ago
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carbon337 wrote:

It's not a F'ing race!

Plebs

Touching.... especially as I strongly suspect you know sod all about the circumstances.

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middlering [57 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

Take a look at the route. Check what all one has to ride to get to the descent of Wrynose. Also have a look at the weather in Lakes today.

One needs to be a bit crazy to be riding the Fred, but I'd never call anyone reaching the descent of wrynose, an idiot or a clown.

To the editor: please, FW is NOT a race!

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joemmo [1164 posts] 2 years ago
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We drove back from a damp weekend in Langdale yesterday. The FW route would be tough at the best of times and the weather was atrocious so I doff the proverbial cap to all those taking part.

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brackley88 [164 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

Shame on you...

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Chuck [566 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

Get over yourself.

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700c [974 posts] 2 years ago
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Thats awful to hear and I hope they make a full recovery..
I'm doing the coast to coast event next month and the descent on the wrynose/hardknott pass is worrying me slightly, anyone got any tips for descending 30% inclines in the wet?!

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CXR94Di2 [1268 posts] 2 years ago
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Riding sportive events are generally a personal challenge. Taking to the road for either a training session. , going to the shop is a risk so those making stupid, daft comments, should refrain.

Obviously conditions were poor yesterday(even in Suffolk were I completed my second 100 miler in high winds and rain)it's a real shame riders were injured, I hope they make a full recovery.

Life is for living not complaining about others achievements

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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700c: slowly and cautiously!

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

Thats awful to hear and I hope they make a full recovery..
I'm doing the coast to coast event next month and the descent on the wrynose/hardknott pass is worrying me slightly, anyone got any tips for descending 30% inclines in the wet?!

take a change of footwear and walk....

steep descents really freak me out, you pick up a lot of speed very quickly and really don't have a huge amount of stopping ability if something comes the other way.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 2 years ago
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If you have one, get on your mountain bike and have a blast around some trails. It'll help your confidence on descents in my experience. Other than that, just prep your bike well by cleaning the rims etc. In terms of position, get right off the back of the saddle and keep pedals level.

Best wishes to those injured yesterday. If you've even half a brain, you'd realise it could be any one of us in hospital if you ever ride on the hills. Perhaps those criticising should realise that and go and troll somewhere else.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

Thats awful to hear and I hope they make a full recovery..
I'm doing the coast to coast event next month and the descent on the wrynose/hardknott pass is worrying me slightly, anyone got any tips for descending 30% inclines in the wet?!

1) take a proper breather at the top of the climbs to make sure you're focused for the descent

2) get in the best position for effective braking right at the top, and stay there. if it's a drop-bar bike, that's usually in the drops

3) brake early, before the corners

4) try and relax, if you tighten up you tend to find it harder to turn

5) in the corners, focus on the apex you want to hit, then focus on on your exit point. don't look at the big ditch.

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mattbibbings [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't feed the trolls people.

Healing vibes to All FW riders this morning.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

5) in the corners, focus on the apex you want to hit, then focus on on your exit point. don't look at the big ditch.

On a slightly more help note to my last post, NEVER ever look at obstacles like walls, trees, poles, look where you want to go. You will go where you look, if you look at a wall you will hit it.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

both of those descents are very technical and if you misjudge a corner – especially on Wrynose – you can end up in pretty serious trouble very quickly. i wouldn't suggest anyone's an idiot for misjudging a corner when tired, i've done that many times and i'd consider myself a reasonably competent rider.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
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6) oh, and discs  3

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DaveE128 [669 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

Thats awful to hear and I hope they make a full recovery..
I'm doing the coast to coast event next month and the descent on the wrynose/hardknott pass is worrying me slightly, anyone got any tips for descending 30% inclines in the wet?!

I know this might not seem terribly helpful, but seriously, disc brakes help a lot in these conditions.

Also slide your weight back.

Minimise the weight you are carrying.

If I was riding a route like this I would choose some pretty wide tyres also.

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MattT53 [146 posts] 2 years ago
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700c - The descent of Wrynose isn't actually all that bad, providing you realise it's steep and never build up too much speed. There aren't really any tight corners but the surface is bumpy. Fit some decent brake pads (swiss stop are my favourite) and tune the brakes up first. I've ridden it many times, including when it's been so wet it was basically a river, without any issues. Watch for the pothole on the last (tight) corner just when you think you're done!

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 2 years ago
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To the naysayers: Have you never had a moment on a descent where you've thought "uh-oh, I might be in bother here"? Because it's a click of the fingers to go from there to being on the tarmac. I'm quite risk-averse, I don't descend anything like as quick as my clubmates, but if you've never even pushed the envelope, what would you know? If you have, then stop making stupid comments.

@700c - I think the mistake people make is that on the first bit of a really sketchy descent, they let the bike accelerate to the maximum speed they are comfortable with, typically on the nice straight visible bit at the top. Then it starts to get technical and suddenly they're hauling on the levers to scrub off the speed, at the same time trying to lean into a heavily cambered corner, avoiding the ditch, other riders and the oncoming car all at the same time. Add this to the shoulder tension that you get on descents, and it's a recipe for disaster.

If you know it's going to be hairy, dab the levers from the start - it might seem overly cautious initially, but you'll be far less stressed on the technical section. Then nearer the bottom, you usually find that the scarymeter stops pinging at you, you can start to see further ahead etc, but you're still descending. Accelerate here to obtain the free speed before the road flattens, and minimise the losses from descending slowly earlier.

Far better to be a good climber and a poor descender than the reverse.

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offshore_dave [62 posts] 2 years ago
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I really can't believe some of the comments that are allowed on here.

My thoughts go to the two injured riders and their families.

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alexjones5 [27 posts] 2 years ago
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krd51, get over yourself pal, I've seen plenty of crap riding in 3rds and 4ths road races so wouldn't limit your comment to sportive riders. At the end of the day, whatever you chose, we are all cyclists and all love the sport.

Sportives represent a reason for many to train and also to go and ride somewhere they may not normally ride. An organised event is a lot easier to do than deciding to drive up there, load up on food etc then drive back.

I do a few a year, race and tt cos I love riding my bike.

I passed the guy who came off on Wrynose being attended by the Mountain Rescue and he was sitting up talking to them so hopefully he (and the other chap) will be fine.

There was a few riders taking chances on the descents (on the wrong side of the road into blind corners), just not worth it is it?

Certainly where the guy came off on Wrynose it was at the top in the hairpin section, the problem is here (to the guy who asked about descending them) that you can pick up speed so quickly and then (especially in the wet) it's difficult to scrub it off. Start the descent on the brakes and stay like that if I were you.

The only thing that pissed me off yesterday was the number of gel wrappers and bar wrappers etc on the road. It's things like this that will get these events cancelled. The gel comes out of a pocket, surely the wrapper can go back into it?

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

I look forward to reading more of your comments on cycling when your mam and dad take your stabilisers off.

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racyrich [271 posts] 2 years ago
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Krd51 wrote:

That's the problem with these idiots who ride sportives half can't ride a bike next thing you know cycling down steep hills will be band cos two many of these clowns fall off!!
 41

If only illiterates could be banned from commenting.

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Sudor [188 posts] 2 years ago
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In my experience of Hardknott, Wrynose etc even in dry conditions the difference between retaining control or not on descent is mighty fine line on a road bike. Even when dry these climbs are more challenging to descend than to climb.

In retrospect, I'm mighty glad my first experience of Wrynose/Hardknott etc was not in the wet like yesterday's FW riders. I doubt whether the tasteless comments by Krd51 are tempered by personal experience of these roads. I hope the two casualties recover fully and quickly

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earth [311 posts] 2 years ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

Riding sportive events are generally a personal challenge. Taking to the road for either a training session. , going to the shop is a risk so those making stupid, daft comments, should refrain.

Obviously conditions were poor yesterday(even in Suffolk were I completed my second 100 miler in high winds and rain)it's a real shame riders were injured, I hope they make a full recovery.

Life is for living not complaining about others achievements

Suffolk Sunrise? I missed it this year, getting expensive.

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 on the comments above advising to keep the weight to the rear (slide your bum off the seat if needs), stay loose (don't lock your arms - keep your elbows bent), braking early, pedals level (on the straights), looking through the corner to where you want the bike to go, etc.

For bumpy roads I'd add: Hover your bum a little off the seat, this allows your legs to act as suspension for your body weight.

For wet/bumpy roads I'd add: In addition to earlier advice on wider tyres, make sure your tyres are *NOT* pumped rock solid. You *want* just a little bit of give and deformation in the front tyre, so it has a larger contact patch and so it can still mould itself to the road over bumps and pebbles and so still provide grip. Not too much deformation, but definitely not rock solid!

I can't emphasise the "stay loose" part enough though.  1

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