One year has passed since I completed one of the hardest fitness challenges in my life. I don’t use that statement lightly either. I’m used to pain, but this challenge is different.
The TumbleU4Life makes you want to quit! The tumble makes you want to throw in the towel and give up. And it does this within about 4-7 hours (for the fitter cyclists). 8 hours to go and your body is already quitting on you.
Why is it quitting on you? The tumble up for life goes up one of the hardest hills in the area. How hard? Well my team mates at Pontypool RCC diverted their normal club ride to show their support, by cycling down the Tumble.
With the middle 4km over 10% it’s a brute of a climb.
It’s the equivalent of Alp D’huez 6 times in a day (at a steeper gradient)
It’s not just for the fit mountain goat cyclist. Many have never ridden a hill, let alone a mountain. Some use mountain bikes and Peter & Diana (the organisers) bring their tandem along. The challenge symbolises the uphill struggle faced by cancer patients all day every day, the race supports Cancer Research UK in their work.
The ride started at 5am for the serious climbers (riders can start any time during the day). In the dark before the sun had risen and with rain for company. On average each ascent and descent takes about 50-60 mins starting a km before the official climb and finishing a km after at the highest point on the mountain.
The first 4 hours were wet and as you creep over the end of the steep section a nightmare wind hits you hard in the face making the 5% gradient feel a lot harder than it should
The sun finally came out and with a supporting cheer at the top and bottom of every climb the day was getting better as the bodies were getting worse.
One of the most motivating factors for us climbers is seeing many beginners struggling on their 1st or 2nd climb. Even though we are suffering, and going slow we are still over taking others who are in as much if not more pain than us. The sense of respect and pride in them taking on the challenge is immeasurable.
By the time the sun was setting, bodies were becoming very weak and tired, with only one rider looking like they would make 15 climbs.
Traditionally everyone ascend the last climb together and finishes as one. The sun was setting and the lights were back on the bike. At the top a big welcoming committee and a lot of congratulations on making it till the end of the day.
15 climbs Lawrence Gruijters (Cardiff Ajax rcc)
13 climbs Nick Wachter (Pontypool / Ajax rcc) http://app.strava.com/activities/52341666
12 climbs Nathan Priest
For information on the next TumbleUp4Life visit: www.tumbleup4life.wordpress.com
For more information about Cancer Research UK visit: www.cancerresearchuk.org
New riders Lauryn Theryn and Joanne Blakeley will join current riders Eve Dixon, Frankie White, Melissa Bury and Nicola Soden for the 2013 season.
Lauryn joins the team with a wealth of sporting experience and success. Athletics was her main sport up until the age of 20. She was a thrower who competed in the Javelin and Discus at World Youth Games and Commonwealth Games standard. She finished her athletics career in 2006 in order to focus on Bobsleigh where she competed for Great Britain on the Europa Cup Circuit, World Cup Circuit and at the World Championships. She finished Bobsleigh in 2008 ranked 6th in the World, the best result for a British Women’s team in over a decade.
Lauryn Theryn Bobsleigh
Lauryn took up cycling in 2011 after attending a talent transfer programme run by UK Sport called Girls 4 Gold. She joined the Cardiff Jif Cycling Cluband raced for them on the road and track winning Welsh National medals in both disciplines. During the winter she took up playing Rugby and was selected for the England 7’s Development Squad.
After sustaining three serious injuries early in her rugby career she took up cycling again to keep fit. She moved to Manchester in April this year to work for British Cycling setting herself the goal of competing in the British Track Championships and won a silver medal in the Team Sprint.
Champion Systems Maxgear
Lauryn commented “I am really excited to be given the opportunity to race for a local team and am really looking forward to racing with the other girls. My goal for next season is to be a reliable rider who works hard for the team and isn’t afraid of pushing my own physical boundaries in order to rise to any challenge.”
Jo is relatively new to cycling after coming from a running background. She was shortlisted for the Girls 4 Gold programme along with Lauryn. She joins the team after a year of riding with local club Seamons CC in which she achieved a great deal. She won the TLI National Road Race Championship and has produced some solid top twenty placings in National Road Race Series Races. She is also a very strong time triallist with several wins and podium places and 5th at the National Hill Climb Championships this year.
Jo wants to build on her road racing experience next year and is “eager to start racing with and learning from my new team – who love cycling as much as me! I’m particularly excited about racing in Belgium with them next year and gaining more experience on the track and in other areas.”
Ian Bury, team manager, said “Lauryn has had a spectacular sporting career so far both on and off the bike. She is a very driven individual and has much to offer to the team with vast sporting experience and a strong team ethic. Jo is also an exciting new addition to the team with a lot of raw talent. She can do a strong time-trial and is super enthusiastic to work hard with the team. We are very excited about 2013.“
The team have worked well as a unit this year with top tens and podiums in the National Women’s Road Race Series, National Women’s Team Series and races in Belgium and Holland. There has also been top National Championship performances, with Nicola placing 10th in the National Scratch Race Championship, Melissa winning Rollapoluza National Championship and second in the Grass Track 800m National Championship and most recently hill climbs with Eve winning the National Junior Women’s title for the second year running.
2013 line up:
Follow the riders progress at maxgearettes.blogspot.com or on twitter @Maxgearettes
Pictures kindly supplied by Ed Rollason: www.edrollasonphotography.co.uk