Fred Whitton 2014 - Heroic Encounters

As always the Fred Whitton Challenge delivered. It has everything, the most amazing scenery, dramatic roads sweeping through the valleys and terminating in steep Lakeland passes not to mention the chance to see all "The Lakes" in one day. For the riders that choose to pit themselves against this challenge it is a roller-coaster day of pain and pleasure as the route unfolds.

For us, as photographers it's a pleasure and a privilege to photograph this beautiful event. We witness many heroic efforts of riders climbing to the top of Lakeland's peaks and pitting themselves against the weather conditions. This year the weather gods were kinder to all of us with showers instead of the monsoon conditions of 2013.

The striking element of this event is the atmosphere, at the start - many first time riders, some looking pensive at the thought of what they have signed up for and it is now reality. Others, more experienced and itching to get started, will it be a personal best time? Throughout the event no matter how tired riders are is the good natured banter and the many thank-yous we get as our cameras whirl away.
We pride ourselves on shooting images that are a little different from traditional sportive head-on rider shots - we hope you like them.

So let's get a move on!

The move to a new start in Grasmere this year created more space - which is as well with 2000+ riders taking part in the premier cycling sportive.


Final preparations for bikes and riders.


Cakes before the start. How civilised!


Sue McDonald & Aggie Sheppard from Macmillian wishing good luck to Honister92 riders.


Rob Spedding, editor Cycling Plus poses with his Felt bike at the start.


Nice to see my photos on the banners in the start area


On the left, Andrew Beeston from Brough leads the next group of riders through the start area


Marshals ensured a safe start organising riders into small groups in the holding area


Last words of advice from the marshals - have a safe trip!


Away we go! Andrew Terry from Bolton leads a group away from the start - 112 miles to go!


Daniel Chapman braving the elements to show off the official Fred Whitton Cycling kit


Mike Worden, Harrogate Nova, leading a fast group up Kirkstone Pass


Dylan Wilson going wheelie well on Kirkstone Pass


Kirkstone Pass - the highest point, Chris Gill enjoys the beautiful Lakeland views


Toby & Alice, Wheelbase.co.uk, Ride for Mum, powering their tandem up Kirkstone Pass


Brothers Hans & Wim Gerberbaur pose on Kirkstone Pass
Editors note: Steve! they are father and son!


Adam McLean from York does his best Usain Bolt impression - don't try this at home folks, Adam is a professional!


Thumbs up from Marcus Kenyon, Rutland CC, as he nears the summit of Kirkstone Pass


Simon Jones, Woolyback KOM Grabbers, leads a fast group up Kirkstone Pass.


Robert Glaister, Keswick Bikes, & Mike Knudsen, Macclesfield Wheelers storm the Hardknott Pass. Robert completed the course in a time of 6 hours 8 minutes 54 seconds!


Do we have to ride up that?


Robb Spedding, Cycling Plus, giving a masterclass in riding the Hardknott Ramp.


Ian Collins, Jules Bernie and Fred Smith with Eskdale Valley in the background.


A classic Hardknott image with the Eskdale Valley below.


Can you ride a tandem up the 33% Hardknott ramp - No problem! Paul & Tom Simpson show how it is done and complete the course in a time of 8 hours 20 minutes and 59 seconds. I wouldn't want to descend Hardknott on the back of that - true courage!


Andrew Luxon, RAF, showing some determination on Hardknott Ramp.


Josh Bishop - doesn't really need explaining - does it!


Oh go on then Josh!


So you've ridden the ramp and the hairpin - it's not over yet!


Good advice - Stay safe!


A day when cars get in the way.


Victoria Ratcliffe, Somer Valley CC and Simon Douglas, Gateshead in a classic Hardknott scene.


Ben Bardsley, Cyclewise Alturs, looking good as he approaches Hardknott Ramp.


Paul Marshall on Hardknott Pass.


Joanne Shale leads a group up the Hardknott Pass.


This is a riders view of the Hardknott Ramp.


Augustus Hurdle still looking fresh after 95 miles!


One of the neutral service support vehicles on Hardknott Pass.


A classic shot of the Hardknott Hairpin - a place of dreams and nightmares in equal measure.
With 2000+ cyclists passing by it's not always possible to catch everyone riding the event. We try not to include walkers in the shot as we have a rule of "we will shoot you next year when you ride it". If you believe we caught you then drop us an email and we will conduct a search of our images left over from the day.
Once again many thanks for your support and giving us the opportunity to capture your heroic rides.
Steve & Marian Fleming