Monday, 22 November 2010

'Giving up is not an option'...

Fri 05 Jun 2009 22:32 BST

That is the motto of the 'Alpe d'HuZez' challenge which took part yesterday. I have not misspelled the name of the famous climb, this is a Dutch play on words as 'zes' means six.

Six was a very significant number to over 1,250 riders yesterday who aimed to ride the Alpe d'Huez up to 6 times in one day. You may ask yourself what on earth would motivate so many people to do such a thing, I know that I'd find it physically and mentally destroying. Their motivation involved the number six again - to raise 6 million Euros for charity in the fight against cancer. Last night the total was a little over 5 million and creeping closer to the target.

We had a team of 8 Dutch riders and 3 supporters here these past few days from 'Team Eneco'. The team of 8 had together raised 40 thousand Euros towards the overall target. What we found the most astonishing about the team was that some members were new to cycling and some were not even regular cyclists at all, most of them had never even seen the Alpe d'Huez before.

An optional 5am start time and a last ascent time of 8pm meant it was a long day for the team of 8; Willy, Anna Loes, Joris, Jorg, Martjin, Remko, Ronald and Freddy.

We headed up in the van mid morning stocked up with oranges, bananas, Coke, water, etc. and watched in awe as the riders came by again, and again and again....all day long.

What amazed us most was amongst the determination and resolve there was a constant cheerfulness and positivity among the riders, pretty much without exception. We were also amazed to see some people choosing to take up the challenge on foot with quite a number of people running. The supporters were equally as energetic, especially on hairpin 7 known as 'Dutch Corner' - there was one big party going on there all day long, even someone dressed in a giant, orange lion suit in 30 degrees C!

From our hairpin 4 vantage point we also got a lesson in excellent event organisation; mechanical assistance on quad bikes, medical assistance on the road, massage at summit and foot of the climb, isotonic drink on tap, kit transport between the top and bottom, bus shuttles for supporters and riders who did not want to descend, motorbike outriders and marshals warning of oncoming traffic, timing chips with live feed to the internet site, the list goes on - it seemed like the number of organisers equaled the riders.

Team Eneco completed 37 ascents in total; 3 x 6 ascents, 1 x 5, 2 x 4 and 2 x 3 and everyone was thrilled with their achievements if a little tired. Well done all!

For more information on the event visit:

And for our photos visit our on-line album: Click here


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