Matthew's Friends - charity bike ride Alpe d'Huez 21 bends
It was early morning on 17th April and we headed over to our chalet for a nutritious breakfast of porridge and bananas cooked by Kirsteen, our resort rep. The mood was tense. We munched on our breakfast, quietly apprehensive of what was about to follow in the hours ahead. Then, we put the finishing touches to our attire and headed to the minibus.
The weather was clear and crisp. However, as we slowly snaked down the mountain, a thick cloud engulfed us and we immediately thought the worst: It looked like we would be cycling back up through fog. As bend 21 flashed by, our imminent bike ride became all the more real, and finally we reached the bike shop. Our first challenge was learning how to use our bikes. We had very little experience with proper road bikes so there was a lot of wobbling around and ‘ooing and ‘ahhing’ and our bums to the full force of every pebble we hit. After a small practice ride through Bourg d’Oisans and back, it was time to leave.
We set off with two convoy vehicles. Kirsteen in the minivan and Callum and Leah in a zippy Polo. Both were packed with refreshments. As we approached the hill our feelings were of nervous enthusiasm of what we were about to do. 50 yards in, and our legs felt like cement. This pain continued for about four bends as Bourg slowly dropped further below us. What had we got ourselves into? Looking back now, we would not have got past that first hurdle without the good cause pulling us up. This was about the charity, not the pain, and we would succeed. As we approached bend 17 the road levelled out (slightly), allowing for a brief respite and to add to this our convoy was on hand with photography, water, bananas, and raucous support. That really helped. Soon we had made it through La Garde, and as the road levelled out more, our morale received another boost. Before we knew it we had reached Huez. We could then see our finish at the top of the hill.
The weather could not have been more perfect, it was not windy and not too hot but not too cold. By this time we had all been separated by about a bend so we were each riding our own race by this stage. There were only a few bends to go and we couldn’t believe we were actually going to make it. The last bend was tough work but at the same time our most joyous. The elation of completing this event for such a wonderful cause urged us on as we made it past the finish line in Alpe d’Huez. It was over. Our lungs were in agony, and our legs felt like jelly, but we had made it.
So far we have raised £ 708.75, and that number grows every day and we cannot be thankful enough for the generosity received from everyone. The phenomenal support we received helped pull us up the hill especially in those first six bends. It is still not too late to donate - just click here Our times are up on the web page, and pictures will be up soon.
Wilf, Pete and Mat.
Matthew's Friends - charity bike ride Alpe d'Huez 21 bends was posted on 18 April 2012 by Guest Blogger.