Ever wondered what it would be like to cycle in the Tour de France? Alex Montgomery, Tcam CEO, cycled stages 13 and 14 for charity. Here is Alex's account...
Like many friends and colleagues, I have been infected by the middle aged man in lycra, or 'mamil' epidemic. The charity sector has been quick to identify the opportunity to benefit from this relatively new form of mid-life crisis. Many charities have arranged fundraising events that enable those infected with the competitive strain of 'mamil' to measure the progress of their disease by racing others or tackling feats of endurance.
In 2013, to help raise funds for the William Wates Memorial Trust (WWMT) with Tour de Force, I rode three stages of that year's Tour de France route, two of them climbing mountain passes in the Pyrenees. The WWMT is an excellent UK charity formed"with a mission to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence and fulfil their potential".
Having experienced the Pyrenees from a Tour rider's perspective last year, I decided to tackle the Alps this year, again raising funds for the WWMT. On 11th and 12th July I rode stages 13 and 14 of the 2014 Tour de France route – stages being ridden by the professionals on 18th and 19th July. Over the two rather mountainous days this involved riding about 255 miles and cumulative climbing of about 27,000 feet. I was prepared for the distance and for the climbing. What I did not expect was for the weather to be quite so hostile with lots of rain and quite a low temperature (only 4 centigrade on the Col d'Izoard). The long, cold descents were treacherous and we lost a few riders who had to pull out when hypothermia began to set in. Who would have expected that in France in July?! Fortunately, the final climb of my second day saw the weather begin to change. The sun came out as I crawled up the last 12km climb to finish at the ski resort of Risoul revealing the sort of glorious views that were missed on the previous day's final climb to Chamrousse.
While there were times when I wished I could fast forward the climbs, even the rain and cold could not spoil those two days in the saddle. I returned home exhausted and a bit saddle sore but definitely happy - and proud to have played my part in the Tour de Force raising, at the latest count, over £420,000 for the WWMT.
This content was generated prior to Turcan Connell Asset Management Limited operating as Tcam.