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
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