A cyclist from Inverurie conquers the Tour de France and the challenge of Everest

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A female Inverurie was part of a team that took part in an epic six-day challenge to raise awareness about gender inequality in cycling.Lucy Ritchie (45) is a member of InternationElles, a global group of amateur cyclists, spread across the UK, the Netherlands, the US and Australia.

All 10 runners juggled full-time work, family life and intensive training programs to complete the challenge.

Cyclist Lucy Ritchie.

The group’s initial plan was to travel to France and do the Tour de France a day before the male competitors.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in place, a Plan B was needed.

They first completed a four-day non-stop team relay 3,484 km from home on static bikes. The five UK-based runners then took on the infamous Everesting challenge, ascending 8,848 meters of Mount Everest in just 18 hours on Friday September 4 to join a group of just 446 runners from around the world who successfully completed the challenge. incredible feat of endurance and perseverance.

The rules of Everesting are that cyclists must achieve the full elevation of Mount Everest by ascending their chosen climb in one attempt, with no sleep allowed.

The ascent of Bwlch, the second category climb in the Rhondda valley, represents 339 m of vertical drop with an average slope of 5% and each runner has climbed it 27 times.

The team participating in the Everest challenge.  Image: George Galbraith
The team participating in the Everest challenge. Photo: George Galbraith

Ms Ritchie, who works as a Business Opportunities Manager for Shell, has represented Great Britain twice, has competed in the Maratona dles Dolomites three times, won a support stage in the Tour Series and is the current 10 mile TT District Champion.

She said: “There is no female equivalent of the Tour de France and we are campaigning to change that.

“We want to give women and girls the same chances as men and the chance to reach the pinnacle of cycling.

“Last year, our team did each stage of the Tour de France the day before the men. We were supposed to do it again this year but since we have international members they could not travel due to the current restrictions.

“However, we had done so much practice and always wanted to raise awareness, so we did the bike distance home in a relay with each team member on the bike every two and a half hours. We managed to cover the distance in 99 hours.

“To make the elevation, we took on the challenge of Everesting in Wales, which allowed us to ride from 4 am to 10 pm to complete it. We did 207 miles and 29,700 feet.

“To prepare, it was an intensive training program, but I have a coach and I am in competition, it helped me. ”

Ms Ritchie is part of Team Scotland Northboats Cycling Club based in Inverurie.

She was joined in Wales by Louise Gibson, a world events manager from Marlow; Jess Fawcett, freelance communications writer from Edale in the Peak District; Rhian Denton, head of talent acquisition and Jules Cass, physiotherapist; who are both from South West London.

InternationElle Carmen Acampo Everest successfully in the Netherlands with 66 repetitions of the Camerig, a fourth category climb. Julie-Anne Hazlett, Australia, and Heather Sawtelle, USA, both Everested from home with eight reps on the Alpe du Zwift, a virtual climb out of class.

The group is supported by Skoda, whose cycling ambassador Dame Sarah Storey was amazed by the efforts undertaken by the group.

She said: “The InternationElles are really amazing. To follow the relay of the Tour de France with 9000m of vertical drop in a single day is superhuman.

“What was most impressive was their camaraderie and mutual support despite the fact that they must all have been completely exhausted.

“A global pandemic was not going to stop them from shedding light on persistent inequalities in cycling and showing what women cyclists are capable of.

“Thanks to their efforts, progress continues to be made towards achieving this goal of equal pay and racing opportunities. I am very proud to work alongside them and we are changing perceptions and bringing new voices to support. ”

The Internation They seek to galvanize the global cycling community to support their cause and have created the opportunity for everyone to join us and show their support by visiting www.skoda.co.uk/thisisourtime

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