I'm off cycling again this year. Close followers will know that for the past couple of years a bunch of friends and I have spent a few days each spring cycling a few hundred kilometres for charity. We've become know (at least between ourselves) as Les Veloistes Gentils. It's perhaps the most rewarding thing I've ever been involved in.

2008 saw us ride from London to St Emilion. Last year we crossed the Pyrenees, dipping our toes in the Med near Perpignan and plunging in the Atlantic at Biarritz six days later after crossing some of the most famous mountain passes on the way. The full story of that epic little adventure can be found here and pictures here.

But 2010's ride looks like it'll be our most challenging to date. At just over 700km it's longer than last year's ride, and we're planning on doing it in five days rather than six…so that's an average of 140km a day. More than that, however, are the spiky bits. The picture above shows the ups and downs of the entire route, which starts in Geneva and ends in Avignon (more detail here). The first big spike – which comes fairly early on day two – is the legendary Tour de France climb to Alpe d'Huez. The second big spike, which comes later the same day (gulp…) is the Col du Galibier (as Wikipedia tells me "often the highest point of the Tour de France"). The spike right at the end, and the reason we're crossing country to finish in Avignon, is the awesome Mont Ventoux, for many cyclists the biggest challenge of them all.

It's going to be immense.

I'm really pleased that we'll be an even bigger group of riders this year. 10 of us tackled the first year's ride, we had a dozen last year and it looks like we'll have 18 this year. Plenty of apprehension; loads of excitement and the start of quite a bit of hard training right now.

We've got a while to get in shape – the ride starts on June 20th – and once again we'll be raising money for charity (which one we'll confirm in the next couple of weeks). If you're a business that would like your name emblazoned across our jerseys in return for a modest amount of cash then I'd love to hear from you. We'll also do our best to give you plenty of publicity for your support.

Posted via email from markpinsent’s posterous