Staff from a Hampshire business are preparing to take on an epic challenge as they cycle 450 miles across the Alps this month.
Employees from Elliotts, the south’s largest independent supplier of building products to the trade and public, will tackle treacherous hairpin bends and steep inclines as they complete a relay to Alpe d'Huez for charity.
The team taking on the exhilarating adventure, and hoping to avoid saddle sores, includes a father and son, a former Olympian and a husband and wife who will complete the challenge on a tandem bike.
Tom Elliott, managing director, will be taking to the saddle alongside his father, Elliotts chairman Stuart Mason-Elliott, who is no stranger to the bike. Stuart, an antique cycle enthusiast, has recently completed an 860km ride on an original velocipede built in 1869. His challenge raised over £7000 for Cancer Research UK.
Husband and wife team Steve and Geraldine Upson, from Polypipe, one of Elliotts' suppliers, are taking the challenge one step further and will complete their sections of the route on a tandem.
Trevor King, who works for security at Elliotts and is father of World Champion cyclist Dani King, is hoping his previous training as a biathlete will kick in as he also jumps on his bike for charity. Dani is not the only Olympian in the family - Trevor also competed in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics.
The fundraising venture has been arranged through Challenge Adventure Charities, which ensures that every penny of sponsorship will go to the team's chosen charities; Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation. Challenge Adventure Charities was formed in 1996 by Stuart Mason-Elliott and every year sends teams on routes that are challenging, yet achievable by ordinary cyclists.
The Alpe d'Huez Challenge 2015 will see the team cycle in relay from Troyes to Alpe d'Huez over three days from September 17. They will take in stunning views across the beautiful champagne and wine regions, lush forest and river valleys and the vertigo-inducing mountains of Rhône-Alpes and the Vercors mountains. Stamina and map reading skills will be put to the test as the cyclists push their physical fitness to the limit in return for personal and corporate sponsorship.
The challenge is the latest in a long line of good deeds Elliotts has undertaken, including sponsoring Ringwood Carnival and local football and rugby clubs. It has also supported cyclist Dani King since she was a teenager.
Tom Elliott said: "It's always been important to Elliotts to give back to the community and to dedicate ourselves to raising money for charity, so we're taking a team of ordinary people on an extraordinary challenge. It won't be easy, but we will soon forget about the pain once we stand at the top of the Alpe d'Huez. We're hoping the donations will flood in."