Common questions about the Pyrenees Cycling Challenge
When does the challenge take place? Back to top
Our 2013 challenge takes place from 14 - 22 September.
What do I have to do to take part? Back to top
Simply complete and return the entry form along with your £300 registration fee. You'll then need to raise a minimum of £3,250, of which £1,000 must be received by Macmillan three months prior to departure. The outstanding amount must be with us within a month of your return.
Full pre-trip support from Team Macmillan, including fundraising and training guides, sponsor forms, Macmillan T-shirts, regular newsletters, and a dedicated team ready to help you every step of the way.
Return flight: London – Bordeaux, Toulouse – London.
Return Transport for one bicycle.
Accommodation: 8 nights accommodation in 2-3* hotels on a twin share basis.
Three meals a day. Lunches are generous buffet-style with plenty of energy food to keep you going or stow in your back pocket to see you up the next climb! Dinners are generally eaten in the hotels.
Full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics.
Macmillan Cancer Support representative.
Insurance: our tour operator, Discover Adventure, offers insurance specifically created to cover you for the activity you will be undertaking.
Use of a bicycle.
Celebration meal on the final night, plus two other meals.
Airline fuel supplement (if charged by airline).
We also recommend around £50 - £75 for personal expenses.
What sort of person takes part?Back to top
The group will be made up of a maximum of 50 people, both men and women, from all backgrounds, abilities and ages, although you must be 18 or over to take part. While some take part with friends, most people come on their own, so it’s a great way of meeting new people. You'll find that the group quickly bond and support each other throughout the challenge. Camaraderie is what we’re all about.
Where will we stay while cycling? Back to top
Accommodation is in 2–3 star hotels, picked for their proximity to our route. Standards may vary between the hotels but all are comfortable and provide en suite facilities. We will stay in twin rooms, so if you’re travelling on your own we'll pair you up with a room buddy of the same sex and a similar age.
Do I have to carry my own kit? Back to top
We'll be accompanied by support vehicles which carry all equipment and supplies. However, you’ll have to carry a small rucksack or CamelBak to hold anything you’ll need during the day’s ride.
How tough is the challenge?Back to top
We won’t lie, cycling across the Pyrenees is very challenging and it’s vital you don’t underestimate how tough it is. Each day includes at least two mountain climbs which vary in difficulty and each presents its own unique test. It’s vital that you are thoroughly prepared for it: this terrain is not suitable for anyone who has not trained hard and is not used to cycling. But for those who are well-prepared the rewards are beyond words.
Macmillan challenges are designed to suit people who lead an active lifestyle. If you do not already cycle on a very regular basis you will need to commit to a considerable amount of training during the preceding months. This is all part of the challenge. A full training programme will be included in your fundraising pack.
Everyone on the challenge is required to complete a medical form that must be signed by your GP. The forms are provided in your fundraising pack. Please be aware individual surgeries may charge for this service.
What is the route like?Back to top
We mainly ride on small, quiet roads through very mountainous terrain. Traffic is light most of the time but you must be vigilant for traffic and other cyclists, especially in poor visibility or on narrow mountain bends. Watch out for traffic overtaking on descents as you’re riding up – though French drivers are generally more considerate to cyclists than here in the UK.
The route is clearly marked, although maps will be provided. Support vehicles will be stationed at the front and rear of the group with one roving up and down. This enables participants to cycle at their own pace, although there will be breaks during the day where everyone regroups.
Do I have to bring my own bike?Back to top
Neither Macmillan nor Discover Adventure are able to provide bikes for this trip, so you must bring your own.
We strongly recommend you ride a road bike/racing bike due to the long distances involved on well-surfaced roads. It’s also really important you ride the bike you’ve been training on. Although training in the gym is useful, there’s no substitute for getting out in all weathers and really getting to know your bike, especially the range of your gears as you climb.
What happens if I can’t raise £3,250Back to top
The £3,250 fundraising target ensures that at least 66% of donations come directly to Macmillan to be spent on our services, so we will do everything we can to help you reach this target.
We'll provide you with a fundraising pack full of ideas on how to reach your target. You’ll also have the support of the Challenge Team and our extensive network of Macmillan fundraisers. However, if you don’t manage to raise £1,000 three months prior to departure you’ll have the choice of making up the shortfall yourself or transferring to a later challenge, giving you longer to fundraise.
When do I have to pay my sponsorship in?Back to top
We ask for all sponsorship to be paid to Macmillan four weeks after the event has taken place. However, we'd encourage you to plan ahead with your fundraising and send as much to Macmillan before the event as possible. Supporters have informed us that they find it easier to fundraise before the challenge takes place.
How will my participation benefit people affected by cancer?Back to top
The money you raise will help us provide vital support to even more people affected by cancer. At least 66% of the £3,250 minimum sponsorship will be treated as a donation to Macmillan. If you raise over £3,250, the entire surplus will benefit Macmillan.
What will the weather be like?Back to top
The weather can change rapidly in the Pyrenees. That means it can be very hot – or very cold. Rain is always a possibility and it may be windy in the valleys. As you climb a mountain you may start with a tail-wind and end with a head-wind. The weather at the foot of a climb can be dramatically different to the top, where it may be foggy, in cloud or much colder.
Can I meet up with my fellow participants before the trip?Back to top
Although Macmillan doesn’t currently organise training rides, we encourage you to meet up with your fellow cyclists prior to the challenge. It's also a great way to boost your training. We'll pass on contact details of others taking part (that have given us permission to do so) and you can also meet fellow Macmillan bikers on our Facebook page.
We may be organising meet ups and training rides in the future with our partner, CycleSurgery. We will notfy you of any dates that are planned.
Who organises the trip?Back to top
The trip is conceived and operated by Discover Adventure Ltd, ATOL 5636, whose booking conditions apply.
If you have any more questions, please call the Challenge Team on 020 7840 7875 or email the cycling team.