My Hiscox Tourmalet Challenge by Jeremy Burnham

Early morning on Friday, 8th July I set off from Lourdes to cycle stage 8 of the Tour de France. After 32km we arrived at the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur to begin the 19km ascent of the Col du Tourmalet at 2,115m. It was a steady climb where the atmosphere was already building for the professionals the following day. After passing numerous mountain goats, ski stations etc I arrived at the summit, which was a great relief as there was time to get some food and drink and recover!

The descent into Sainte-Marie-de-Campan allowed some rest from pedalling and next on the route was the Hourquette d’Ancizan, but before this we had a slight diversion to take as stage 7 of the TDF was finishing near by. This unfortunately resulted in one of the riders going up the wrong mountain (Col d’Aspin) and having to wait until the early evening for the road closures to be lifted so that he could be picked up!!

After another long descent and ride through a valley, it was time to climb the Col de Val Louron-Azet summit. At the summit a storm was gathering but fortunately this didn’t come our way as we headed down to Loudenvielle and on to the final climb of the day – Col de Peyresourde. Having navigated the gathering crowds for the following day (including various messages being painted on the road!), it was downhill all the way to the finish at Bagneres-De-Luchon!

Apart from feeling quite sick towards the end of the ride, I felt in pretty good shape overall (my training going up various hills in Yorkshire had worked!) and in any case the cold beers afterwards aided my recovery greatly!

It was an unforgettable experience and the scenery was literally breathtaking. My personal fundraising currently stands over £1,060 and the total for the group is currently £43,460.

Many thanks to all those who have provided support and if any one else would like to do so then please visit my just giving page.