Earlier this year, Matt Richardson tackled Mont Ventoux in a bid to race money for a leukaemia charity. The climb is very challenging but all the more so, when you do it on a Raleigh Chopper. He went up the route from Bedoin, which ascends over 1600m in 21 kilometres.

He explained in his blog:

I began to think of the other stupid things I’ve done: 20 years of rowing training, hundreds of hours on the Concept 2 rowing machine, an Ironman, an Etape du Tour, the Raid Pyrenees, Paris Roubaix sportive, L’Eroica, etc. I convinced myself that all these were only a warm up for this, an ascent of Mont Ventoux on a Raleigh Chopper.

Swallowing mouthfuls of water and then sucking in huge amounts of air to try to address the deficit I decided I was going to finish this ride with no stops, no messing, no matter what.

Not only that, I was also going to catch up and overtake the group of cyclists in matching kit I could see ahead. I started to dig in very deep and ignore all the warning signs: breathlessness, back pain, leg pain, elbow pain, wrist pain, light headedness, the lot. I knew this was risky but the whole thing was a risk and if I’d wanted to do this sensibly I wouldn’t be doing it on a Raleigh Chopper, for heaven’s sake.

I caught the group of cyclists with a series of stamping bursts and then, with the summit in close sight I heard another chorus of approval from a support car. I won’t type out verbatim what I was thinking but I know that any half decent athlete will know exactly the sentiment.

I wanted to empty the tank now, ie to throw everything I had left into the pedals so that on arrival I had nothing left. I left the group of cyclists behind and pushed harder and harder. I wondered how long at this pace it would take before tunnel vision set in. It wasn’t long. I held my rhythm and pressed harder.

Then, just as I neared the final bend I was overtaken by a cyclist I hadn’t previously seen. This threw me into a rage. I overtook him on the outside of the bend and shovelled as much pace into the final hundred or so metres as there was left. It was 11.37am. Tank. Empty. Overtaken by 11 cyclists. Overtook 41.

Here’s a short video from the latter stages of the climb, and he’s really motoring as he passes other cyclists.


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