Ventoux

Our guest writer & friend Leigh send us few lines about his experience with us at Mt Ventoux a couple months back...

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Firstly thank you so much for organising it Stef. Even when it went tits up with the airport strikes you managed to sort it all for us.

It was an amazing trip and I look forward to going on more with Saddle Drunk in the future. I was surprised how easy it was to get to Ventoux from London with the bikes on the plane and train. It was great that you had booked everything for us. Made the journey very straightforward, even after I went to the wrong terminal to begin with.

The accommodation was perfect. Plenty of space for us, very near Ventoux and came with great chef 😉. I loved the warm up ride to the very snazzy bar on the mountain. Excellent way to prepare for the next day's ascent(s).

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From a cold grey London in the morning I was now sitting on the mountain in the afternoon, enjoying beautiful views with great beer and greater company. Who could ask for more. I absolutely loved climbing Ventoux.

I couldn't have asked for better weather and better climbing companions. Apart from obviously reaching the top twice the highlight really was the hybrid pain au chocolate/almond croissant (most delicious pastry I have ever had).

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I will definitely be back to climb the mountain again. I need to bag the 3 ascents now. It is an addictive climb which really is legendary. Thank you to yourself and Dave for making the weekend such a joy.

Thank you very much Leigh & if you like more informations for our next trip across the continent please email us at ride@saddledrunk.com.

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Merry Xmas.

Leith Hill NO DRILL...

Ciao a tutti,

Few weeks I was at the Leg of Steel cycling event organised by Ful On Tri and I have some people from the community of Leith Hill,a cycling mecca for Londoners & non Londoners...but for those HILL CLIMBERS....

This what they say about the drilling at Leith Hill.

RISK TO WATER SUPPLY

Drilling through aquifer – Sutton & East Surrey Water objected on grounds of “risk to water supply” (BBC News)

RISK OF SERIOUS AIR POLLUTION

Gas aring “permitted between 7am and 7.30pm except in an emergency”

IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO ANCIENT SUNKEN LANE
Coldharbour Lane is hundreds of years old, near unique and only 3.8 metres wide in places – a recent survey shows landmark trees at risk

TRAFFIC CHAOS & ROAD SAFETY

Over 1,000+ HGV movements up and down Coldharbour Lane, including a massive self-propelled oil rig 19 metres long and 60 tonnes crane. Safety concerns for cyclists, mountain bikers, walkers and joggers

WIRED-OFF COMPOUND ON PUBLIC LAND

3 metre high security fencing around C. one hectare of natural forest woodland supporting threatened species of ora and fauna – the area will be clear felled

35 METRE HIGH MASSIVE OIL RIG

Nearly twice the height of Leith Hill Tower, it is so tall it needs an aircraft warning light and 24 hour oodlit compound

DESECRATING YOUR AONB & GREEN BELT

Proposed drill site in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a place of great landscape heritage in the Green Belt. The impacts
of the development could not be wholly reversed - it’s estimated it would take 25 years to replicate the appearance of the site.

RED LIST SPECIES ON SITE

Birds that frequent the site are on the
RSPB Red List as globally threatened with severe decline (up to 50%) in UK breeding population and loss of range in last 25 years

LOCAL DEMOCRACY OVERRULED

A sustained community campaign won a public inquiry in 2012 but was overthrown in 2014 by a High Court ruling in favour of drilling “in the national interest”

EXPLORATORY DRILLING OR FULL SCALE PRODUCTION?
Planning permission to date is for exploratory drilling but the oil company refuse to rule out full scale production

METHOD OF EXTRACTION

Conventional drilling may give way to novel extraction methods through ‘acidisation’ – toxic chemicals pumped deep into the earth to loosen the so-called ‘tight’ oil

MASS INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE WEALD


Referring to ‘tight oil’, Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) says “This type of oil deposit very much depends on being able to drill your wells almost back to back so it becomes very much like an industrialised process”

SURREY HILLS AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY OIL PRODUCTION

Other sites in planning, preparation or production include Brockham, Horsehill, Albury, Broadford Bridge, Palmer’s Wood (Godstone), King’s Farm (South Godstone), and others. Brockhamoilwell.co.uk

NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PROPERTY PRICES

“There is no compelling need for oil site in Surrey Hills” public inquiry told.

THIS NEED NOT HAPPEN BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP...

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Share this with story with your friends & family.....Save the Cyclists & Non Cyclists...

Save your Segments,KOM,PB

SAVE YOUR LIFE FROM LORRIES

 

Cycling Dreams, South Africa

I met Jessica last year at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle , Switzerland while visiting Tegshee. He was great to speak with her and listen to her story.

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My name is Jessica Brown, I have been cycling for 7-8years. Three of those years being a professional cyclist for a women's team in South Africa and two years being a national representative. I have achievements on the road and track,

I've also represented SA at 3 international events as a junior and 2 track training camps at the WCC (World Cycling Center) in Switzerland. I'm am the 500m, team sprint and points Junior Track African Champ for 2017 and Team Sprint record holder. 

My experience as a young cycling was quite tough. I was thankful to have development teams (Uber Development & Lorraine BestMed) that helped where they could. 

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We did not have many races or sponsorship to support our young rider back then and yet still today. Progress from U/16 to junior and elite is a big step for the youngsters and in the process we've lost many young riders , parents also play a big role in our cycling lives financially and supportively. Many found it expensive and unfortunately had to pull there kids out of this amazing sport. 

Two of my biggest and most amazing races in SA was the Cape August Cycle Tour and Paarl Boxing Day track event. These two events were my biggest events as a youngster, organizers and supporters brought an amazing welcoming and supportive atmosphere with some of the best races in SA. 

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My expectations for young riders is for CSA (Cycling South Africa) to develop a development project, including all 6 cycling sports (road,track,bmx,mountain biking,xco and para cycling) . This will help the riders and provinces to see what development is needed to be put into the rider and performance expected. 

I also would love to see more development functions for the youth and not only coaches as we all need the guidance to show us the right direction and to make those big discussions. We expect to see more support from sponsorships and international recognition for our riders international and local. 

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Young riders in SA mostly dream of making it as an international professional cyclist. Junior Worlds is there main goal, until they realize there is bigger fish out there to catch, after junior worlds there dream or goals get bigger aiming to the Olympic Games. Where others dream of representing there country with pride and making every move to get SA recognized and show them we can do it. 

My dream was always to be a professional cyclist and win an Olympic medal for my country in the 200m flying lap and 500m time trial. After my dream and goals give back to the youth and show them the direction and guid them to a successful future. 

Thank you for sharing your dreams with us.

SD Team.

Helping young people with Causeway Foundation

Ciao A tutti,

It has been a while since the last blog.

Few months ago Andrew from Causeway contacted me in reference making a kit for their epic ride Land's End to Bourne End.

The Causeway Foundation was established in 2011, primarily to support and relieve the needs of disadvantaged and exceptionally talented young people. Through funding, event organisation and use of our expertise, we strive to help them develop their skills, capacities and capabilities, to participate in society as mature and responsible individuals.

One of the organisations that has benefited from the Causeway Foundation is the Infant Jesus Convent Health Centre in Bangalore. So far, we have provided funds and assisted with the building and conversion of a hospital maternity unit, providing necessary equipment and by sponsoring / funding a full time on-site doctor.  

If you like to support this great cause please visit this link.

Until next time be safe on the road.

SD Team

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge,New Zealand

The SaddleDrunk Team has not returned to UK after a month Down Under.During our road trip we met copious amount of Cyclists & Triathletes. A particular rider volunteered to be our guest writer and share with the SaddleDrunk Community an event he attended.The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge 2016. 

The skies overhead looked threatening as the thousands of riders gathered to take part in the 40th Annual Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Some rain droplets hit the up-turned riders faces as they were waiting to start in their selected categories for the iconic 160km loop around the spectacular Lake Taupo.

Fortunately, the rains did not come and it was a record-breaking day across all the categories, with the fastest time of 3hrs 39 minutes going to Aaron Gate. The fastest Round The Lake female of the day was Kate Mcilroy who was the first female ever to crack the sub 4hr barrier with just 12 seconds to spare. The 2016 event turned out to be a stunning day, heating up towards the end of the challenge when the sun came out in full force to provide warmth to the elated finishers who spent time mingling around the event village, recounting their epic journey around the Lake and enjoying a picnic style lunch and festivities.

The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is definitely New Zealand’s premier cycling event with fun and serious racing combined, having started way back in 1977 when only 26 riders lined up together to raise funds for the local IHC (ihc.org.nz), supporting people with Intellectual Disabilities.  Since then, more than 200,000 people have taken part in this annual fixture that saw 10,000 riders participate in its heyday.  After a few challenging years where numbers dipped, the event has always retained its title as New Zealand’s biggest cycling event for the masses. This year almost 7,000 cyclists turned out from across all the categories including the solo and elite groups. The mountain bike event categories that utilises the famous Craters of the Moon MTB Park in Taupo attracted one of the largest group of riders of any event in the country. 

2016 saw 23 countries across the globe participate with the majority of international visitors coming from Australia. So, if you are looking for an excuse to visit New Zealand this 2017 year, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is the perfect excuse. You can sign up for this event, spend time in Taupo and then when the event is over, you can check out many other stunning cycling opportunities in the Central North Island; take a look at ridenz.co for a more MTB focused website in the region. It pays to organize well ahead of time, as this amazing event sees the population of Taupo almost double with more than 17,000 spectators and supporters streaming in for one big fun-filled weekend.  As part of the experience, the Great Lake Cycle Trail should not be missed.  It is highly recommended to plan your New Zealand trip to allow enough time to visit some of NZ’s Great Rides like the Timber Trail, Waikato River Trails and the Mountains to Sea. All of these rides are within easy reach of Taupo and would make your journey to New Zealand a fantastic cycling-centric holiday.

If the fast and furious criterium racing appeals to you, then you can also experience the criterium event which is held on Friday night through the centre of Taupo in front of a good sized crowd with cycling legend Robbie McEwen providing non-stop commentary, for the record Robbie also took part in the160km Round The Lake fun event. If you want to ride in the criterium, you can enter the elite category (provided you have an elite license) and mix it up with the big boys of New Zealand racing.  There is an open category also.

ABOUT LAKE TAUPO CYCLE CHALLENGE

The first organised ride around Lake Taupo was in 1977 when local schoolteacher, Walter de Bont gathered 25 others to ride with him to raise funds for what was then the local IHC charity.  Walter, who was the event patron sadly passed away in October 2016. 

The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is best known for its 160-km Round The Lake ride, a one-lap circumnavigation of Lake Taupo, but this is just one of the 13 categories on offer with short and longer road cycling and mountain bike course options for individuals and groups, catering to all levels of cycling and fitness abilities, including young children who ride the 5km Kids Heart Ride.  Because it was the 40th anniversary, it was a blast from the past as retro clad cyclists turned up on their retro bikes for pre-event build up the day before the main 160km event.  There was plenty of colour about as there were prizes up for grabs for the best 70s costume, best retro bike and first across the line on the criterium circuit which provided ample entertainment for the spectators just before the serious criterium racing begun.

According to Event Organizer Aaron Carter, “The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is a celebration. It’s an incredible, unique opportunity for thousands of like-minded people to spend time together to connect and share what they love, which seems to be getting off the couch and onto their bikes in one of NZ’s truly great regions, Lake Taupo.”

If you are thinking about planning a New Zealand cycling holiday this year, do consider signing up for the 41st edition of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge to be held on Saturday 25 November 2017 and then design the rest of your trip around this amazing New Zealand event. You can jump onto their website to start your planning process, sign up to enter the race this November.

Until next time a big thank you to Daniel to write this amazing article and providing amazing photos.

Have a good week everyone & stay safe on the road.

SD Team.