Fancy riding up Alpe d’Huez?
For any cyclist, or indeed any viewer of Ski Sunday in the early 90’s, that’s a pretty big deal! With just one sentence Lorenzo from Huez* had me!
On the 29th – 30th April a Huez team will be embarking on a near (but not completely) impossible journey – renting 10 of London’s finest Santander Cycle Scheme bikes with the aim of travelling to, ascending, and returning from South-Eastern France’s Alp d’Huez in just 24 hours.
Through our efforts we hope to raise over £50,000, pushing our riders to their limits as they struggle to ascend a world-feared mountain that regularly features on the Tour De France…on completely unsuitable bikes and in a ludicrous timeframe.
Supporting the Stroke Association and the National Brain Appeal
While fun will be had and stories made during the 24-hour challenge, we are riding to raise money for two incredibly worthwhile causes.
In August 2015, the father of a close friend of Huez passed away, 18 months after suffering a complicated stroke. Lorenzo and Hugo, Huez’s founders, were privy to the invaluable care and support offered by our chosen charities and felt compelled to support these worthy causes. The plan to ascend Huez was born in the hope of helping those with their own, far more challenging, mountains to climb.
Strokes are the UK’s fourth largest cause of death, with an average of 152,000 occurring each year. To put this into perspective, a stroke occurs every 3 minutes and 27 seconds in the UK and takes a life every 13 minutes. For those that survive strokes – of which the UK currently has 1.2 million individuals – 3 in 10 go on to have another stroke, 30% are reliant on others to survive and over 50% are left with a disability.
Despite this, funding for stroke patients per capita is £193 less than cancer spending (which is £241) – making charity support and research an unbelievably important aspect of stroke care and rehabilitation. The Stroke Association and National Brain Appeal, which also supports victims of other neurological conditions, are therefore worthy recipients of all the funds, support and awareness that our trip will bring. The money will be split equally between our chosen causes and will go towards the essential funding of their latest research and community support projects, which we look forward to telling you more about in the future.
The Huez team will embark from London astride TFL bikes at 01.30 pm on 29th April, before catching the Eurostar from Folkestone at 1:23 am – hoping to reach Huez at 12 pm local time.
We will then have to face Huez’s 21 hairpin bends while ascending to 10,000ft. This would be challenging enough on a road bike but will push our riders to their limit on low gear, three-speed cycles with frames that weigh in at 24kg. In order to reach London in time, the team must be back down the mountain and ready to depart for the UK within two hours. Success will rely on avoiding delays, completing the ride in the allotted time and team-wide determination from the outset.
How to get involved
The team will consist of ten riders with a number of places still up for grabs. We’ll be updating all of our supporters regularly throughout the training process, so keep an eye on our blogs and social accounts for all the relevant information and updates. The whole attempt will be documented through film and photography from a support vehicle following the group.
Regardless of our success, if our ascent of Huez can help those in the future trying to overcome their own challenges, the journey will be worth it. Please donate and support in any way you can. Donate here.
Find out more about our charities and follow the journey at #HUEZ24HR