On 29th September this year, a team of UAE based cyclists will embark on the toughest bike ride imaginable – a Rapha Cent Cols Challenge. The aim is very simple: to climb 100 cols (mountain passes), in just 10 days. This is a herculean task, involving 2,000km of riding and 40,000m of cumulative climbing, or in other words, more than four ascents of Everest.
They will be doing this in memory of Lucy Monro, Team LMT’s founder and leader, who died tragically in February, whilst taking part in the Dubai Roadster’s Coast to Coast Challenge. The group of riders comprises a number of the team who were with her on that fateful day. Allan Greenfield, Lucy’s partner, will lead the team, which also includes her brother Guy Townsend and other team members from around the world. Their purposes are simple: to remember Lucy, to come together to achieve something both improbable and remarkable in her name and to raise money for the Lucy Monro Memorial Trust (LMMT), a benevolent fund established in the days following her death, to continue her long-standing charity and aid work.
The ride will be led by Phil Deeker, the legendary cyclist behind the Rapha Cent Cols Challenge concept. This will be the first time that this particular route, in the wild and remote Cevennes region of France, has been ridden and it seems fitting that the inaugural edition will be for Lucy.
Guy and Allan said “We were amazed at the offer from Phil and Rapha, to create something so special in memory of Lucy. She was so committed and so proud of her team: she would have been speechless, but wearing the broadest smile at the prospect of such a prestigious event being ridden in her name and of course, it’s a wonderful fund raising opportunity for Lucy’s Memorial Trust.”
A Cent Cols Challenge is an incredibly hard undertaking. Riding c.200km and climbing c.4,000m, day in day out, it’s regarded as the ultimate test of endurance and fortitude. Risks of fatigue, crashes, illness and extremes of weather are ever present dangers.
The team has been firmly focused on preparing for the ride since mid April. The UAE riders have generally been training together, while those based in other parts of the world are following the same plan and relying on ‘cycling social media’ such as Strava, to keep everyone connected, motivated and supported as a group.
A typical month will see each rider covering 1,000km or more and climbing as many hills as the local terrain allows. In the UAE, this means regular trips to Jebel Jais and Hatta, recently in crazy summer temperatures!
Along with Guy (UK) and Allan (UAE), other confirmed riders include Jim Pusey (UAE), Mike Hewitt (UAE), Mike Duckworth (UAE), Thomas Fabe (UAE), Nico D’Haemer (UAE), Simon Marshall (UAE), Phil Bond (Suisse), Loren Schaeffer (USA) and Kev Mellalieu (UK).
The team will ride into the mountains above Montpellier in France on Tuesday 29th September and for the following ten days will strive to achieve something remarkable, unique, enduring and a fitting testament to the cycling part of Lucy’s life and legacy.