October 1st, 2016

Brave Evesham cyclist tackling French mountain to raise cash

A BRAVE Evesham cyclist is saddling up in a bid to scale the heights of a legendary French mountain three times in one day for charity.

Helen Russell, an Evesham Wheelers member and former world champion duathlete will attempt to cycle up the legendary Mont Ventoux in southern France on Saturday, June 25, in an effort to raise money for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and its sister charity, the Children’s Air Ambulance.

Helen, who lives in Hampton, will be taking part in the ‘Ultimate Ventoux Challenge’ and is calling for all cycling enthusiasts to join her on the 137k route which includes more than 4,400 metres of climbing in notoriously unpredictable conditions, where temperatures can reach 40c and wind speeds of 200 mph have been recorded.

Mont Ventoux, known as the ‘Giant of Provence’, is 1,912 meters high with long stretches of road in with gradiants of between 10 and 12 per cent.

The mountain is part of this year’s Tour de France route, but whereas the professionals will only climb it once, Helen will attempt to climb the mountain three times via three different routes.

The keen cyclist is no stranger to bike challenges, having been part of the ‘One Day Ahead’ team which cycled the entire route of last year’s Tour de France a day ahead of the professionals to raise £1million for Cure Leukaemia.

Success in the challenge will gain participants entry into the exclusive Club de Cingles du Mont Ventoux, which recognises the achievement of riders from around the globe who complete the challenge.

Helen’s chosen charities are based at Coventry airport, where the Air Ambulance fly an average of three missions per day and the Children’s Air Ambulance fly babies and children from general hospitals to life-saving care at specialist centres across the UK.

“Last year’s Tour de France didn’t go up Mont Ventoux so I feel I have unfinished business,” said Helen.

“Everyone with a passion for cycling should climb this mountain as it’s one of the sport’s most iconic locations. Ultimate Challenge Ventoux is perfect for anyone who wants to really push themselves and see just what they’re capable of and I would encourage them to sign up and ride with me and the Air Ambulance team,” she added.

Visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/fundraising-challenges and search for Ultimate Ventoux Challenge for more information on the event.

Alternatively, call Jo Payne on 08454 130 999 or e-mail jo.payne@theairambulanceservice.org.uk to find out how to get involved.

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