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Alps Cycling Challenge

Tackle a series of classic mountain climbs made famous by the Tour de France.

We answer your questions

When does the event take place?

The challenge takes place on 11-15 September 2014.

What do I have to do to take part?

Simply select 'Register now' and complete the form. We ask you to pay a £200 non-refundable registration fee when you register. We then ask you to pledge to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1,700, which covers your costs (excluding flights). Please see below for what is and is not included.

What's included?

- 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.

- Four nights in a 2/3* hotel. The hotels are comfortable and well-situated, but not luxurious. All rooms are twin rooms and all have en suite facilities.

- All meals other than lunch on day 1, celebration dinner on day 4 and lunch on day 5. 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.

- Transfer to and from start/finish hotels to Geneva Airport. This is a group transfer and you must be at a pre-arranged meeting point on time to use this service.

- Full support with Discover Adventure leaders/medical staff and drivers.

- Macmillan Cancer Support representative.

What's not included?

- Flights – We are not including group flights on this challenge to keep the fundraising target down and allow you to take advantage of the many competitive fares from regional airports in the UK to Geneva.

- Use of a bicycle – you must arrange the carriage of your bike when booking your flights.

- Insurance: Our tour operator, Discover Adventure Ltd, offer insurance specifically created to cover you for the activity you will be undertaking.

- We also recommend you take around £100 - £150 for personal expenses.

What sort of person takes part?

The group will be made up of up to 60 people, men and women from all backgrounds, abilities and ages (although you must be 18 or over to take part). Some take part with friends and colleagues, but many people come on their own. It’s a great way to meet new people.

Where will we stay while cycling?

Throughout the challenge we'll be staying in 2/3* hotels. These can be quite basic, but are clean and functional. We will stay in twin rooms, so if you are travelling on your own we will pair you up with a room buddy of the same sex and a similar age.

Do I have to carry my own kit?

We will 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 will need during the day’s ride.

How tough is the challenge?

We're not going to gloss over this - cycling classic Tour de France Alpine Cols 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's the route like?

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?

Neither Macmillan nor Discover Adventure are able to provide bikes for this trip, so you must bring your own. We recommend that you ride a road bike/racing bike as the route takes place over long distances on well-surfaced roads.

What if I can't raise £1,700?

The £1,700 fundraising target ensures that at least 68% of donations come directly to Macmillan to be spent on our services. So we'll do everything we can to help you smash this target.  
You will be provided with a full fundraising pack to get you started, as well as our expert advice and guidance. The full fundraising total will not be due in until one month after the event. If however it looks like you will not reach this target, before the event you'll have the option of transferring onto another challenge at a later date or making up the difference yourself. 

When do I have to pay my money in?

We ask for all sponsorship to be paid to Macmillan six weeks after the event has taken place. However, we will need at least £550 of your sponsorship three months before the event before we confirm your accommodation arrangements. Supporters have told us that they find it easier to fundraise before the challenge takes place.

How will my participation help Macmillan?

At least 68% of the £1,700 pledged minimum sponsorship will be treated as a donation to Macmillan. If you raise over £1,700 the entire surplus will benefit Macmillan. This money will help us in our work to make sure no one faces cancer alone. We'll use the money you raise wisely, to make a real difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. For example, £2,028 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for two weeks - to provide medical, practical and emotional support.

What will the weather be like?

The weather can change rapidly in the Alps. 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 other people who are taking on the challenge?

Although Macmillan doesn’t currently organise training rides, we encourage you to meet up with your fellow cyclists before 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 cyclists on our Facebook page.

Who organises the trip?

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