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Birmingham team complete iconic cycling challenge

16 September 2014 | 05:34 am

James Leavesley, CEO of CrowdControlHQ, has completed the Raid Pyrenean- a gruelling timed cycling challenge traversing the length of the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is considered to be one of the world’s great cycling tours, but the route is so demanding that fewer than 300 people complete it each year.

Teams attempt to cover 720 kilometres, involving over 12,800 of climbing, in less than 100 hours. The iconic event began in 1950 and is organised by the Vélo Club Bérnais (Cycling Club de Bernaisse). The highest of the 18 peaks en route is Col du Tourmalet, 2,115 metres above sea level. Many of the cols are covered in snow for much of the year.

The mountain range forms a natural border between France and Spain and the route was designed to keep as close as possible to the Spanish border on surfaced roads. Participants receive a card from the Club Bérnais, that gets stamped at various points along the route. The official challenge is held between 1 June and 30 September. In July, several of the cols feature in the mountain stages in the latter part of the Tour de France.

James completed the challenge in a Birmingham-based team of seven, with Graham Nicoll (Barclays), Darren Humphreys (Jaguar Land Rover), John Humpherson (Siemens), Chris Connolly (Connolly’s Wines), Tim Brook (Network Rail) and Tim Newman (Amlin).

James spent over 200 hours training on his bike, covering over 5,000 kilometres, in the year leading up to the event.

When asked about the challenge he said:

“Spending up to 11 hours a day in the saddle, in temperatures of up to 35 degrees, was tough to say the least. Having the support of the rest of the Birmingham team really helped to keep us all motivated. We look forward to planning our next adventure”.

CrowdControlHQ has already proven itself to be an active and competitive business, after winning the title of ‘Birmingham’s most active workplace’ in the #TeamEngland Workplace Challenge.