Choosing the day of the Fred Whitton to try to climb two of the famous passes in the Lake District might not have been the best idea. Luckily, we managed to miss out on other cyclists coming up or down the passes and actually took a lot of inspiration from the sight of some pretty 'normal' looking people taking on the challenge as we passed them going through Lorton.
We parked above Crummock Water and headed up through Lorton and then took the back way to Keswick over Whinlatter. Jonathan and I both managed the climb to Whinlatter fairly easy. Jonathan only stood up for a short section and I had a gear to spare and sat down the whole way. After a quick stop for an energy bar at Whinlatter visitor's centre, we enjoyed the descent to Braithwaite before setting off towards Newlands. Again, we were tackling this pass the easier way (20% climbs as opposed to 25%) but I was still fairly convinced that I didn't have a chance of getting over it. We took it really easy on the long ride to Newlands Hause, it was like a death march. The wind was really blowing hard to the point where we were having to pedal quite hard on down hill sections. I was hoping that, as the road turned a corner and got deeper into the pit of the valley, the wind would come from a different angle but it was not to be so. The initial stages of the hill are very manageable and it is only the last section which is really steep. The wind blowing right against me really didn't help and it was this rather than the steepness of the hill that was going to stop me if anything was. I was really bobbing towards the top, I never got to the point where I had to stand up but I've never been so glad to get up a hill as when the top of Newlands Hause rolled under my wheels.
Jonathan did really well and I think it was the wind that eventually stopped him and made him walk the final section. In the right conditions, I think he would have a really good chance.
Feeling victorious, we took it very easy down into Buttermere and back along to the car. We couldn't resist a drive over/recce of Honister Pass on the way home. Now that is a tough one!