The Route

The Wheelbase Fred Whitton Challenge is one of the most popular sportives in the UK and is also famed as being particularly difficult. Riders rank it alongside European events such as the Marmotte in terms of difficulty. Consisting of a 112 mile sportive around the Lake District, starting at Grasmere and taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose and Blea Tarn passes, the very top riders complete the route in just under six hours but eleven hours and over are not uncommon for the average Sportive rider. This is a very tough route and going on rider feedback the hardest one day ride in the UK, the event includes all the Lakeland passes and the 30% gradient of hardknott comes at 94 miles.

Braithwaite Cut Off: 11:30
Calder Bridge Cut Off: 14:30

We have uploaded a copy of the GPX file to google drive. Please download it either on desktop or on your phone and then upload it to the platform of your choice. When you click on the GPX link you will need to click the download button in the top right and the GPX file will drop into your download folder. 


(It says 2022 but it’s the same for every event)

Taking on the highs of Honister and Hardknott is this excellent article by Cycling Plus editor Matt Baird.

The Fred Whitton is the UK’s most famous and feared sportive, and it returned in 2021 for another sell-out showing. 

Timing & rider notes

We use helmet tag electronic timing to record your time. The tag is a small identifier that you stick on the left side of your helmet, and which is automatically detected and recorded when you ride past their timing equipment. The antennae are at the start, the two checkpoints (Braithwaite and Calder Bridge), and at the finish. They record your times to each of the checkpoints and at the finish. The times are automatically uploaded to the web and available soon after you finish.

You can start at any time between 6am and 8am. But be warned that there’s a cut-off time of 11.30am at the Braithwaite checkpoint (at 60 miles) and 14:30 at Calder Bridge; and over Kirkstone, Honister and Newlands passes and quite a few less well known (but still very hard) climbs. So please start early if you’re a first-timer!

Click on the links below to view all of the information you’ll need ahead of the event:


Simon Warren’s Climbs Analysis

Fred Whitton Challenge Route Description
Written description of the route

Friends of the Fred

Pixel Tweaks Graphic design

Want to get involved?

It takes over 350 registered volunteers to keep the Wheelbase Fred Whitton Challenge going. If you’d like to help out at the event jobs for volunteers vary depending on location, time of day and skills. Please register your interest before the event. All volunteers are guaranteed a place on the following years' ride.

Or you can donate to any of our chosen charities. All donations are well received and go to helping fund these fantastic services in the community.