I am in training to ride up Alpe d?Huez in June to raise funds to buy a new ventilator for the children?s intensive care unit at my local hospital. It was where my nephew lost his fight for life after contracting meningitis in 2000.
He was four years old. What I would like help with is, with me being in Leicester and the landscape being quite flat, do you know of any decent climbs within driving distance, Derbyshire for example, which I can train on at the weekends to help me with my efforts in June?
Lee Horn, email
There is nothing that compares to Alpe d?Huez in your neck of the woods, or in the rest of the UK, but I guess you already knew that. Your best approach is to simulate the steep part at the bottom of the Alpe by riding lots of short steep climbs, out of the saddle, at a steady pace.
For the longer stretches of the French climb you should try and sit down and pedal quickly (90rpm) up any incline you encounter.
This will help you to build your aerobic base and pedalling technique ? essential for the long drags between hairpins on Alpe d?Huez. For a steep hill-climb challenge I recommend Winnats Pass, near Castleton, in the Peaks.
The former editor of Cycle Sport did a two-up with Sean Yates a few years ago. He still hasn?t got his breath back.