By Jonny Long
Maybe your sportives or races were cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe your training was derailed as you were limited with the amount of riding you could do during lockdown. Maybe your motivation suffered after social distancing prohibited group riding.
This year hasn't gone how any of us planned it, and right now we should all be settling down to enjoy one of the highlights of the sporting calendar: the Tour de France.
But with July's race moved to Zwift, and with more than a month to go until the real race gets going, there's an opportunity to create your own cycling challenge – and race money for a vitally important cause, thanks to Cycling Down Dementia.
To take part, you can create your own challenge and raise funds for the life-saving work of Alzheimer's Research UK.
You decide how far you want to cycle, in what time, and on an outdoor or indoor bike. But with the Tour de France in mind, it might be fun to make it Tour-focused:
- Ride the length of a Tour de France stage. It's 120km to the line on the shortest (and final) stage into Paris, or 218km on this year's longest effort
- Climb the altitude of the highest climb in this year's race, the Col de La Loze (2,304m) on stage 17
- Cycle the total distance of the entire Tour (2,156 miles)
Over 400 people have signed up to create their own challenge so far, with just under £60,000 raised and over 100,000 miles logged. The way you can stand out from the crowd is to pull off your own, unique challenge.
The funds will go towards helping Alzheimer's Research UK move closer to finding a cure for dementia. Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with dementia in the UK, with around 850,000 currently suffering from the disease. This number projected to increase to 1.6 million by 2040.
If you raise £200 you'll receive an Alzheimer's Research UK neckwarmer, and if you raise £400 you'll receive a Cycling Down Dementia cycling jersey.
You can sign up to take part here.
"We’re currently in a time where our personal wellbeing is more important than ever, and Cycling Down Dementia is a great way to get moving whenever you’re able to over the next few months, and to keep track of your amazing efforts," reads the event's website.
"You can take part on an indoor bike, or out in the countryside – how you do it is up to you. There’s no doubt this event will test your strength, but with life-changing breakthroughs in dementia research on the cards, we know you’re up for the challenge!"
If you're looking for some inspiration, Jacob Hill-Gowing cycled the entire French Grand Tour route on a stationary bike in his one-bedroom apartment in April – despite not knowing how long the Tour de France was when starting the challenge!
So we'd recommend a bit of training – and a bit of forward-planning – before biting off a fund-raising mission of your own.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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