Our very own Nick undertook a challenging charity bike ride recently. Now back from the journey, he reports back below:
Following a double fracture of my left arm 8 weeks before, it was with some trepidation that I set off for Liverpool airport on the morning of 15th June. As part of a team of 35 riders and support staff we departed to take on a mammoth 600 mile ride across 2 European Countries, in the hope of raising over £25,000 for Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
The team of 34 men and 1 woman rode from Geneva to Nice in 6 days taking in some of the most famous cycling routes across the Alps. The team aimed to climb a height of almost 70,000ft on their journey, equivalent to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 3 ½ times!
To view more information about the challenge route please visit the challenge website here. See more: http://www.boltonladsandgirlsclub.co.uk/out-of-this-world-cycle-challenge/#sthash.9gTSC0Yq.dpuf
Day one saw (or is that sore) us take on 5 mountain climbs with over 15,000ft of climbing! The day started well with a climb up Col de Colombiere but by the afternoon the weather turned into a torrential downpour that did not relent from 1.30pm until 6.30pm… Although riders sheltered on occasion, it was just a case of getting out in it and riding. We had another 36 miles of which 20 miles was solid climbing up the final two Cols of the day. The earliest times in from the semi pros were around 5.30pm. The challengers then arrived from 6.15pm including me, through to 8.45pm.
Throughout the rest of the week the sun shone brightly and the mood in camp was fantastic. Unfortunately this brought on much evening rehydration with product not purchased from aqbottledwater, this certainly did not help…
Many famous climbs were taken in during our time in the Alps, highlights included travelling through Val D’isere and up Col de L’iseran the ascent out of the town. This climb from Bourg St Maurice to the summit of Col de L’iseran was 50km long, not for the faint-hearted.
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The following day we conquered, amongst others, the massive Col de Galibier which has featured prominently in the history of the Tour de France and has broken many tour riders.
When we finally emerged from the Alps and into Provence the climbing didn’t stop but the landscape and scenery changed; lakes, trees and gorges everywhere, it was truly stunning.
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I took this photograph, whilst doing a solo ride one afternoon, it was from the balcony of a café 8km up into a 14km climb …… out in the middle of nowhere and I could still get a Magnum ice cream. During this 28km loop 14km up/14km down the other side, I received many toots and waves from drivers coming the other way, how very friendly and encouraging I thought. When I finally did get to the other side I realized I’d been going the wrong way around a one way pass, I must brush up on my French!
Finally we descended into Nice on Sunday but not before I’d missed a turning and added 10 miles on to my ride for the day, I really should learn how to read a map or even take one with me!! Arriving in Nice around 2.30pm on Sunday what else was there to do but plunge into the sea and the relax on Cote D’azure.
This was a truly memorable experience; a great journey, beautiful scenery and fabulous company! I believe our total fundraising total stands at over £30,000 and is still rising, so all in all it couldn’t have gone better.
Well done Nick, from all of us here at Team AQ!