Deddington cyclists take on epic challenge

Deddington cyclists will take on the Mont Ventoux challenge in France NNL-180207-155611001
Deddington cyclists will take on the Mont Ventoux challenge in France NNL-180207-155611001

While most of us will be watching England’s quarterfinal match a group of amateur cyclists will attempt to join an exclusive club known as the Brotherhood of the Mads of the Windy Mount.

The challenge is to climb Mont-Ventoux in the south of France not once, not twice but three times within a 24-hour period. Only then can you become a member of Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux.

Thirteen cyclists from Deddington, not known for its treacherous climbs, will attempt the feat, today, Saturday, July 7, in order to raise money for the Space2Learn charity; specifically to build a music, dance and drama studio for both local students and the wider community.

John Upson is the team leader for the challenge. He said: “About nine months ago, Becky Jones, who created the charity and used to be the head of governors at the school but stepped down and came up with Space2Learn, came to me and said could you as a group come up with an idea and raise us some money.”

The group is made up of parents living in the village who enjoy cycling together, with John one of the group who has reached the summit of Mont-Ventoux.

The climb is one of the toughest used during the Tour De France has 1,900 metres of elevation over roughly 21km with incline gradients up to 12 per cent in places.

There are three mountain roads that reach the top of the ‘White Giant’ each one presenting the rider with different challenges with the completion of all three routes allowing you entry to the Brotherhood.

Training for the challenge first started in earnest six months ago with intensity levels steadily increasing.

John said: “We ride most of the year, we ride every week but for the last three months we’ve done more riding than we normally would. At the moment every time you turn around at least part of our group is out somewhere trying to find a big hill.

“Sunrising, Edge Hill we’ve been all over that ridge. I know them all now rather intimately and painfully.”

The group have 24 hours to complete the three separate climbs and John is confident this will be achieved.

John said: “We’re all different abilities. We have some really good riders and people who are not as good as those riders. We have people who ride lots, one of the group is recovering from back surgery so we’re a real mix.

“We are working on the basis that it takes 2.5 hours to go up each time and 30 minutes to come down, so with drinks and food breaks we think it will be a 12-hour day.”

They hope to raise £5,000 for the studio.

To sponsor the group visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/johnupson1