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Ratio Rides: will’s lakeland 200 Trek Top Fuel

Our very own Will Weatherill set a new fastest Winter time on the 200 km Lakeland 200 mountain bike route last weekend. With his attempt recently ratified by @fastestknowntimes, we caught up with Will for some more details on his day.

Ratio: How did you first hear about the route? Have you ridden much of it before, or was it new?

Will: I’d never heard of the Lakeland 200 route until I came across the video Canyon released in November 2023, showing Neil Phillips’ agonisingly close attempt to beat the Summer record. I recognised loads of the sections of the route, particularly the section from High Street to Coniston, and ride a lot of it very often. The sections further north were all pretty unfamiliar but I’d always been keen to explore those areas.

Why the Winter record, rather than Summer?

Impatience! When I first thought about doing the route the winter FKT was 39 hours versus 16 hours 45 minutes for Summer so the Winter record seemed much more achievable. I tried it the weekend before but had to stop after 55 miles due to a mechanical.

What’s the deal with the challenge; what are the rules?

It’s self-supported, so you’re on your own. According to this means “any physical or informational support and resources accessed during the ride need to be available to the general public, or carried by the rider from the start. So no private re-supplies, gear stashes, shelter, navigational assistance, or mechanical support are allowed”.

After spending all winter racing cross and coming into the pits every lap for a new bike, this took some getting used to. It creates an interesting dilemma though, of how much to carry at the start and how often/where to stop to resupply.

What bike did you use?

I used my Trek Top Fuel which was pretty perfect for the route. With 6400 metres of climbing obviously weight is super important but the descents are often pretty technical, unrideable even in places. Your bike-handling ability degrades quite a bit after 10 hours so it was nice to ride something that’s a bit more forgiving.

How did you decide between straight through and stopping the night?

I hadn’t really considered doing it straight through until a week before when Sam Stephenson dropped the winter FKT from 39 hours to 28.52. I knew it’d be pretty tricky to beat his time and still stop so riding the whole thing straight through seemed the obvious option!

What did you eat?

Many, many gels. About 25 I think, plus about 15 energy drinks. I did have some normal food just to add some variety. It’s a hard balance because the gels get pretty nauseating after about 10 hours but it’s really hard to get enough calories in from normal food.

Did you have any mechanicals or issues? What spares did you take?

Fortunately not, my attempt the weekend before was cut short thanks to a flat shifting battery so I carried a spare this time.

How did you decide when to start, which bit to do in darkness, where to start?

My plan was to do the two big hike-a-bike sections, Black Sail and High Street, in the light. This meant setting off from Coniston just after 3am. It worked out pretty well as I ended up riding all the bits I was most familiar with in the dark.

What did you do about lights?

I used a Hope R4+ light and carried a few spare batteries. I was pretty paranoid about running out of battery so I ran it in the lowest setting for the morning stretch in the dark but I ended up finishing with one battery unused so could’ve been a bit less conservative. There aren’t many road sections so I just used a small Lezyne Strip Drive rear light.

What was the best bit, and what was the worst?

The section over Black Sail & Scarth Gap passes is pretty cool as it’s super remote but the best riding was probably the descent off Garburn pass. It’s very rocky and loose but all rideable, that was the last really sketchy bit of the route so it was good to get to the bottom in one piece, just as it was going dark.

The grassy climbs were bad; super waterlogged and very slow going. Boredale Hause was the worst, you can see the top all the way up and it’s all just about steep enough to be unrideable.

Will you do a summer one now?

I’m still a bit traumatised by doing it in winter …but maybe.

For more info on the Lakeland 200 route, check out

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