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Peak performance for charity cyclist
FILMMAKER Dave Young, 46, from Eype has tackled more mountains in seven days than cyclists do in 21 days on the Tour de France.
But thanks to months of gruelling training he actually enjoyed the challenge of taking part in the Haute Route cycle race across the Alps from Geneva to Nice.
He did it partly just because it was a challenge but also because his cousin’s 11-year-old daughter is being treated for leukaemia and he wanted to raise money for the Royal Marsden Hospital.
He said: “The idea is you get a feel for what it is like to be a professional.”
There were 600 riders taking part with 35 support vehicles.
He was up against stiff competition – the man who won this year and last was an ex-professional champion of France and last year the woman who won was one of our Olympians.
Mr Young added: “I have been up most classic climbs in the Alps but I have always struggled up them because I have not been quite fit enough to enjoy them.
“So the idea was to get fit enough to enjoy them and that’s what happened. It was the most enjoyable time I have ever had on a bike in the mountains because I trained properly.”
He began seriously at the beginning of the year and since May has been training full-time and worked so hard he lost a couple of stone and got intimately acquainted with Eggardon Hill, Portland, Hardy’s Monument and Exmoor.
He even booked a bed and breakfast at the bottom of Porlock Hill – which is the same gradient as the Alps – and spent five hours each day just going up and down it.
He added: “I would have liked to be a professional – if I was half the age I am now. I am too old for it now. A veteran is from 40 and have been ever since I started.”
He spent the week in Nice recovering from his exertions. He added: “Now I am back I feel refreshed and could actually go and do it again tomorrow.
“But my wife Lesley tells me that if I do it again then we’ll get a divorce.”
Mr Young has his own film company Podfilms and works for global brands like Lacoste and Speed.
He’s also done a film with Olympic cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel to promote the tour of Wessex three-day bicycle race and through those connections he’s been asked to do a TV documentary on African cyclists.
He has raised £500 so far and more donations are always welcome at just giving.com/littlemia.