Charity rider Antony Gough will take on the mighty Alpe d'Huez, Col du Galibier and Col du Telegraphe next month. He shares his motivations with LoveCycling and talks us through his preparations.
LC: Tell us about the challenge itself.
AG: On September 8th 2012 I will be retracing the tyre treads of some of the greatest cyclists ever, riding a 110-km Alpine stage of the 2011 Tour de France. I'll be taking on some of the highest and steepest climbs in Europe - the Col du Telegraphe at 1,556m, Col du Galibier at 2,646m, and Alpe d'Huez at 1,850m. This ride will be the most challenging thing I have ever done.
- It's hard to beat the buzz that comes from taking on a cycling challenge for a good cause. Here's Rutland Cycling's marketing manager Sally at the top of the Col du Galibier, raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in memory of her father.
LC: Why have you chosen to do a charity bike ride?
AG: I have been a member of Bourne Wheelers Cycling Club in Lincolnshire for just over three years. Originally I joined simply to ride the Sunday Club Run and be with other like-minded cyclists - especially on those cold, windy, rainy days that seem to be all too frequent in this part of the country!
After a year I started riding in mid-week time trials and enjoyed the challenge and competition, as well as the added fitness benefits. I started to think about broadening my horizons as a cyclist, both geographically and physically, and when I heard about this charity ride through my cycling club, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do something worthwhile, and set myself a challenging goal that would develop me as a cyclist.
LC: How did you choose your charity?
AG: I will be riding to raise money for Action Medical Research, a fantastic charity dedicated to improving the health of babies and children in the UK. For almost 60 years the charity has been behind numerous breakthroughs such as the UK polio vaccine, ultrasound scanning in pregnancy, and more recently the fetal heart rate monitor - a new state-of-the-art device that could help save thousands of at-risk babies.
LC: What are you doing to prepare for the ride?
AG: Since September last year I have completed my first season of winter training and managed to ride around 2,500 miles. I have ridden in a number of Sportives and will be riding my first 100-mile event in mid-August when I tackle the Bike Blenheim Palace Sportive, before riding Rutland Cycling's Reservoir Cogs sportive on the 2nd September - the last ride before the big day.
I have lost over three stone in weight and now the hills are not quite such a struggle! My 10-mile TT times have improved significantly too - down from c.27 mins to 24 mins 48 secs - no Bradley Wiggins, but I'm pretty pleased with that improvement :)
LC: How can people help?
AG: I have a target to raise £1,600, but obviously I would like to raise as much as I can. I know that you will receive requests like this on a regular basis, but if you decide to support one charity in 2012, please consider Action Medical Research and donate whatever you can - every £1 helps. You can donate online here.
Fancy taking on a charity challenge yourself?
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