Massif Challenge 2016

Alsford Timber has two teams taking part in the Massif Challenge 2016. The aim is for our two teams of four to cycle in relay more than 500 miles through France in three days. 

Much of the route will be following the 2016 Tour de France stages 3, 4 and 5 which should ensure good road surfaces!

The Challenge starts at the Channel port of Saint-Malo, takes us through Normandy to the Loire valley before rising towards the Massif Central and a stunning finish close to Clermont-Ferrand.

We sail from Portsmouth to Saint-Malo on Wednesday 28th September at 20:15 and return from Caen – Portsmouth on Sunday 2nd October at 16:30. The three days cycling are 29th and 30th September and 1st October.

For Charity. Challenge Adventure Charities have raised well over £3M since its inception in 1996. This year, the total amount raised by Alsford Timber will be split between our charity of choice which is Altzheimers Society and both Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

The other objective is to enjoy the cycling and camaraderie of taking part in an event with 250 other riders, and in achieving a significant physical challenge. 

Teams will be made up of ‘extra’ordinary people, rising to a physical challenge. We will experience exhaustion, exhilaration and adventure. Our stamina, map reading and leadership will be tested and it will be a Massif Challengegreat team-building exercise.

You will need to be able to ride your share of the 500+ mile route and we need to average 15-18mph! Road bikes are definitely best for the event. Alsford Timber will be providing both support vehicles plus Ferry & accommodation costs. You just need to be fit, bring your Road Bike and raise some sponsorship money for us!

The Route

 Day 1

Saint-Malo to Angers - 170 miles

Leaving the historic walled port of Saint-Malo we will head east to Mont St Michel, the unique 8th Century monastery build on an island. From here we will follow the route of Stage 3 of the 2016 Tour de France which takes us past the American Cemetery of Saint-James where the remains rest of 4,410 World War II American soldiers who lost their lives in the Normandy landings of 1944, under an inscription ‘I have fought a good cause, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ 

On then through rolling countryside towards the valley of the Loire, the longest river in France stretching over 1000km. Here we will find our first nights’ accommodation at Les Jardins d’Anjou in La Pommeraye for a well earnt rest.

 Day 2

Angers to Limoges - 200 miles

After an early breakfast we will follow the Loire through Saumur and then the Vienne and finally the Creuse river valley taking us South towards Limoges and the foothills of the Massif Central. Again parts of the route will be on Stage 4 of the 2016 Tour de France, but they will only ride 145 miles and we will ride more!

Our overnight is at the Novotel Limoges le Lac.

 Day 3

Limoges to Clermont-Ferrand - 150 miles

Again the 2016 Tour de France has copied our route for their Stage 5 – but we will ride further! Initially we ride through the ‘Plateau de Millevaches de Limousin’, a rich grazing ground for thousands of Limousin cows! Then we enter the Massif Central and its volcanic mountains or ‘Puys’, and this is the day for climbers or ‘grimpeurs’ as we ride through gorges and past ski resorts with stunning scenery.

Our finish is at a Chateau on the outskirts of Clermont-Ferrand where we will celebrate together before driving to our hotels in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand.

Sunday 2nd October 

The long drive back to Caen to catch the 16:30 ferry, arriving in Portsmouth at 21:15, and then home…

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