Two superstore managers in Bradford have successfully tackled some of the toughest climbs in the Tour de France to raise money for Diabetes UK.
Steve Dawson, who works at Tesco’s in Queensbury, and Carl Foster, who works at the firm’s store in Valley Road, Bradford, have returned from their gruelling endurance challenge in the French Alps.
Despite enduring spells of extreme weather including heavy snow, both men completed the ride between Modane and Alpe d’Huez, gaining more than £5,500 in sponsorship for the charity.
Mr Dawson, 41, said he had been riding up to 150 miles a week in training during the year leading up to the event, helping him lose more than four stone in weight.
“This challenge was the goal I was aiming towards, but my preparation really filled me with confidence,” he said. “The weather was atrocious and really tough on the first day, even our tour guide dropped out because of the snow.”
The ride was due to take in three of the Tour’s most iconic summits – the Col du Télégraphe (1,566m), the Col du Galibier (2,556m), often the highest point on the Tour de France route, and Alpe d’Huez (1,850m). The pair could not quite reach the Col du Galibier summit as the road was blocked with snow.
During the 110km course, they climbed 4,000m on gradients as steep as seven per cent. “You can’t put the scale of the Alps into words, they are just awesome,” said Mr Dawson. “Cycling through layers of cloud was really exhillarating, and being able to tackle the famous Alpe d’Huez, with its great views and endless hairpin bends, was amazing.”
Mr Foster, 40, said the pair’s training rides, which included repeated trips to Holme Moss, a 524m climb included on the route of this year’s Tour de France, had boosted their confidence. “We set ourselves high targets in training, which helped make the Alps a very rewarding and enjoyable challenge, and a great experience,” he said. “There was never any doubt we wouldn’t do it.”