Velo & Blue success!

On 1 May 2012 the Velo & Blue team successfully completed their 2012 challenge to cycle to the summit of Mont Ventoux, in France.

A failed attempt was made on Monday 30th April, when the team were advised to turn back halfway up the 1st climb (Bédoin Route) due to a heavy storm of wind, rain and sleet at the summit.

Undeterred the 10 man strong team set off again the following day in much better weather conditions and with a change of tactics!  A shorter warm up ride and attempting the more scenic Malaucène route first before the harder Bédoin route.

After an eventful and physically tough day in the saddle the team achieved an impressive 24 complete ascents between them in under 12 hours, with six riders successfully gaining entry into the converted ‘Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux’, with 3 ascents and descents in a day.

Rider team sheet:
Mike Rayner –     Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Dan Stevens –     Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Andy Little –        Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Paul Foley –         Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Jack Dawkins –    Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Robin Bedford  – Malaucène, Bédoin & Sault routes conquered
Russell Smith –    Malaucène & Sault routes conquered
Will Glover-James – Malaucène & Sault routes conquered
Marc Jones –       Malaucène route conquered
Andy Mander –   Malaucène route conquered

The team would like to thank Craig at VeloVentoux.com (our local guide) for his superb advice, mechanical assistance and hospitality during our 3 day stay in France, without him it’s unlikely we would have achieved our goal.

We would also like to thank everyone who purchased a cycling shirt or our fundraising lottery tickets, the draw was carried out on Tuesday 01/05/12 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium by fundraiser Mark Davis, witnessed by Paul Lapraik and Dean Parsons. The winner of the £444.30 prize was former AFC Wimbledon player Luke Garrard, holder of ticket number 1073. Approximately £4,300 worth of tickets were sold. After accounting for the prize money and expenses, the net proceeds will be divided equally between the club (for purposes of funding gym equipment for the first team) and the Anthony Nolan cancer charity.

Also thanks to our corporate sponsors Cherry Red Records, The Premier Group (Isle of Man) Ltd and Reptons Coaches who helped get the team and bikes to the base of the mountain.
Velo and Blue lottery tickets are no longer on sale however, Wimbledon striker Jack Midson is also raising money for the Anthony Nolan charity by climbing Mount Snowdon. Jack has set-up a JustGiving page, which can be accessed by clicking here. Velo and Blue cycling shirts are still available to boost the fundraising effort. They are priced at £45 – to place your order or request more information please e-mail veloblueshirts@gmail.com

The plan of attack!

The team of ten intrepid riders depart on their ‘Les des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux’ challenge Sunday 29 April, here is the provisional timetable:
 
Sunday 29 April
06:30 Meet & Depart from the Cherry Red Records Stadium heading for St Pancras.
08:30 Eurostar train leaves for Avignon, France.
16:30 Arrive and meet local guide Craig and head for our ‘base camp’ a self-catering Villa in the shadow of Mont Ventoux.
Spend the evening setting up bikes and fueling bodies, ready for early start in the morning.
 
Monday 30 April – V Day!
06:00  Breakfast and final bike checks.
06:30  20km gentle warm up ride to Bédoin and the base of the 1st Climb.
 
07:00  Climb 1 – Bédoin Climb
This 1,617-metre climb is over 21.8 km, and with an average gradient of 7.4% it is the most famous and difficult ascent. The climb starts steadily, but after 6km the average gradient rises to 8.9%. This route is exposed to Ventoux’s famous strong, often violent winds. Estimated climb time of 2-3hrs.
Once at the top the team will descend the Malaucène route, with its tight hairpin turns and speeds approaching 75kmph.
 
11:00 Climb 2 – Malaucène
A 1,570-metre climb over 21.5 km, about equal in difficulty to the Bédoin ascent, but better sheltered against the wind. Estimated climb time of 2-3hrs.
Once at the top team will descend the Sault route.
 
15:00  Climb 3 – Sault
At 1,256m over 26km and with an average gradient of 4.4%, this is the “easiest” climb. However, the road surface is poor and the final 6km joins the same road as the Bédoin ascent. Estimated climb time of 2hrs 30.
Once at the top team will descend the Bédoin route and return to base camp!
 
A support car will carry food and drinks provisions allowing each rider to restock and refuel between each climb.

Each rider has to also get a card stamped at various locations on each climb as proof of completion of the challenge.
 
Tuesday 01 May
Day of recovery and relaxation… or possible alternative day for challenge attempt if the weather is poor on Monday.
 
Wednesday 02 May
12:00 Depart from Avignon, on Eurostar.
19:30 Arrive back in London – all in one peice and hopefully 10 new members of the Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux!
 
You can still donate to our fundraising cause via justgiving here

Reptons Coaches are the latest company to provide logistical support to the Velo & Blue team. 

Reptons Coaches, who provide AFC Wimbledon’s player & supporter coaches to away games, have generously agreed to provide courtesy travel for the team of riders and their bikes from the Cherry Red Records stadium to St Pancras International allowing them to catch their Eurostar connection to southern France.

Reptons chief Andy Repton (who drives the Dons 1st team bus himself) explains “When Mike Rayner told me his team of cyclists were struggling to make their train due to engineering works and a Sunday service, I was only to happy to help. Mike and Robin Bedford have cycled to several games recently as training instead of traveling by coach so I know how dedicated they are to this event. I’ve also driven close to Mont Ventoux on European tours, and seen it towering over the landscape so I know how tough the challenge is.”

The Velo & Blue team would like to thank Reptons for their generosity.

Velo & Blue kit drops

As the climb gets closer one of the last preparations is concluded… the team kit has arrived.

We are selling shirts to assist the fundraising efforts. To grab one for yourself have a look here for the details.

For the non-cyclists or those with a tight-fitting clothing aversion who’d like to donate a bob or two we have a combined Justgiving page set up by AFC Wimbledon striker Jack Midson who is clambering up Mount Snowdon when the football season draws to a close. To back us both visit here. All support is massively appreciated by the cycling team and Jack.

Dons hitman joins Velo & Blue fundraising effort

AFC Wimbledon striker and league two’s current leading goalscorer Jack Midson will not be putting his feet up after the last match of the season against Shrewsbury as he will be gearing up for his own climbing challenge.

The striker has announced that he will support the Velo and Blue cause by climbing Snowdon mountain in Wales on Saturday 12th May, the first weekend after the end of the League Two campaign. Midson says he wants to make his own contribution after hearing about our cycling challenge to climb Mont Ventoux, France three times in a day in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity and equipment for the club’s gym.

“When I heard what Mike Rayner (club physio) and Robin Bedford (kit man) were doing with their Velo and Blue teammates and why, I decided to do this challenge and raise money for charity as well. It’s all for a good cause,” Midson said. “It will be the first time that I have done something like this. Since I have said that I am doing it, people have been messaging me about it and asking what challenge I am doing next, but I just need to get through this one first. My mates who I used to work with at the Elms Lawn Tennis Club are also doing it for another charity. Whilst I’ll be walking rather than cycling and my challenge isn’t as extreme as the Velo & Blue boys, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can help them raise money for two good causes. Anthony Nolan played a massive part in sucessfully helping Terry Brown’s wife Suzy’s recent fight against leukaemia, I know he can’t praise them enough.”

Jack has set up a JustGiving page, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Funds from both events will be split between the Anthony Nolan charity and equipment for the club gym.

Dons boss backs the Velo & Blue boys

AFC Wimbledon manager Terry Brown has made an emotional plea for people to support the Velo & Blue fundraising appeal.

Half the funds raised from this years event will go to Anthony Nolan, a charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancer, with the rest going towards equipment for the club’s gym. Velo and Blue tickets are now available to buy online, ahead of Wimbledon cycling team’s climb of Mont Ventoux on 30 April, and they can also be bought at AFC Wimbledon’s home game this Saturday against Torquay United.

Terry knows how important the appeal is because the Anthony Nolan charity played a crucial role in saving the life of his wife Suzy, who needed an operation last year. “It is an absolutely fantastic charity,” he said. “They did a brilliant job when my wife was ill last year and there is real progress in the battle against Leukaemia. They only have a tight window to get suitable donors in for bone marrow and the charity has huge success in what they do. I am certainly a very grateful husband. My wife has just had the all-clear for another six months. She has to have checks every month, but the bone marrow has been a tremendous success so far. The charity does a great job in saving the lives of young and old people alike.”

Wimbledon physio and Velo & Blue cyclist Mike Rayner explains how the other half of the money raised will be spent on equipment for the AFC Wimbledon club gym. “The gym based at the clubs training ground is still in very much in its infancy, currently we only have 3 cardio-vascular machines. We would like to add a hand bike, Cross-trainer, Stepper and Spin Bikes asap. This would allow more players to work at the same time and increase the variety of training available, especially when a player is injured. The gym is an important facility for improving and maintaining player fitness and not just first team or injured players. The equipment is also used daily by several of the club’s other squads including the Academy and Development sides. Improving the quality of the gym will not only benefit the club next season but for many years to come as the club looks to establish itself in the Football League.”

The Velo & Blue fundraising team undertake their gruelling climb of Mont Ventoux in France on 30 April.

Terry added

“I know Mike and the Velo and Blue team have all put in a lot of training for this, on behalf of the players and myself we wish them good luck, it looks ridiculously hard so rather them than me! So please support their challenge and help two good causes.”

Tickets are on sale here.

V-day is looming. Still time to get behind the team and grab your raffle tickets!

So what is the ‘Les Cinglés du Mont Ventoux’ challenge?

The Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux (translated means “The Mont Ventoux Madman Club”) is an exclusive club, open only to people who complete three ascents of Mont Ventoux, from each of it’s three main roads to the summit Bédoin, Malaucène & Sault in the same day. This requires cycling 136 km with 4443 m of climbing!

If the sheer amount of climbing wasn’t enough, Mont Ventoux located in the French alps, is also notorious for the extra tests it throws at riders, most notably the wind. Ventoux is french for ‘windy’. The wind blows across summit at over 90 km/h 240 days a year, and nothing grows there, giving it a lunar-like landscape. Riders are often literally blown off their bike. It’s location in the Alpine region means the weather often turns suddenly. A warm, calm sunny day at the base can often be cold, windy and rainy one at the top. Even the descent’s are hazardous! Hitting speeds of 75 km/h riders have to negotiate hairpin bends, sheer drops by the roadside, and cars.

Widely regarded as one of the toughest cycling challenges in the world, anyone who sussesfully conquers the three climbs receives an individually numbered medal and certificate of authenticity. The 2012 Velo & Blue team will attempt to join this club on 30th April 2012!

Here BBC reporter Mike Bushell briefly explains the ‘Les Cinglés du Mont Ventoux’ challenge, providing an insight into exactly what our team face and demonstrates how hard this challenge is.

Online raffle ticket sales

Whilst fans at matches have been able to get behind the team until now we was unable to sell tickets online. If you’d like to sponsor the team you can buy a book of ten tickets (card charges prohibit us selling less) by visiting here.

Your details will be added to the tickets and the stubs kept by us for the draw – your lucky numbers will be posted to you. The winner, drawn randomly, will snag £444.30 and all proceeds will be split between our two targets.

Moore ticket sales

AFC Wimbledon players Sammy (left) and Luke (right) Moore get their raffle tickets supporting the Velo & Blue team. If you’ve not got yours yet they are on sale at the Dons home match against Rotherham United this Good Friday.

Stay tuned for information on how to buy tickets online coming soon!