On Sunday 20th July both Al and Jon completed 2014's l'Ètape du tour in the harshest conditions imaginable. Wind, heavy rain, fog and exceptionally low temperatures couldn't stop them and they both completed in 8hrs 33mins. This is some achievement - considering a lot of people had to retire and a few people suffered from hypothermia. Not good!
Sadly, Phil is out of l'Ètape :( During this year's Dunwich Dynamo, Phil crashed his bike in wet conditions and suffered a communited fracture of his distal radius (wrist) and currently has external fixators in his arm for the next 6 weeks.
Hi we're Phil, Jon and Al, keen amateur cyclists who have decided (against, some may say, wiser judgement) to ride the 2014 l'Etape du Tour. For those, a little unclear on what that means: l'Etape du Tour translates as 'a stage of the tour (de france)'. Yes, that's right; we're riding along one of the stages of the Tour de France; a week before the pros do it... but not only that, this year the stage chosen for l'Etape is a mountain stage... and not only THAT, this mountain stage contains one of the most fear-inducing mountain climbs in Tour de France history: the Pyrenees's Col du Tourmalet.
The ride in total is 148km starting in Pau and ending in Hautucaum. Along the way we'll be climbing the Col du Tourmalet a massive mountain, 2,114m above sea level and then a final mountain: 1,500m high. This will not be easy; we predict it will take anywhere between 8 and 10 hours cycling with very few breaks. Professionals may do it in 6 or so hours. We are not professionals. By any stretch of the imagination.
We've been training hard (ish) since January this year and have gone from damn near collapsing and getting the train home halfway through rides (of a few hours) to putting in some serious hills and long long rides.
It's nice to give something back so we've decided to try and raise some money - while we're sweating away in France. We've chosen Sparks.
Each year, less than £10 per child in the UK is spent on research into child health. Every day 1 in 30 babies are born in the UK with a condition which may affect them for life. Sparks raise money to fund pioneering children’s medical research to get this to change.
Just a quick note: All donated monies will go to Sparks (bar the Justgiving fees) - we've paid for our own places, our own coach tickets and our own training. Frankly, it's expensive to do this ride and we don't want anyone to think money raised is going anywhere other than to Sparks.
Any donations big or small will be hugely appreciated!
Phil, Jon and Al :)