Massif Challenge 2016
The Massif Challenge 2016 is to 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.
One objective is for teams to raise sponsorship for their efforts, with teams being committed to raising a minimum of £1000 for Charity. Half of this will be shared between Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, with teams nominating their own choice of Charities for the other half they have raised.
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. You will ride on mainly quiet roads through beautiful parts of France that you would otherwise never see.
Teams will be made up of ‘extra’ordinary people, rising to a physical challenge to raise money for Charities through personal and corporate sponsorship.
You will experience exhaustion, exhilaration and adventure. Stamina, map reading and leadership will be tested and it will be a great team-building exercise.
You will need to be able to ride your share of the 500+ mile route and with your team you should average 15-18mph.
Road bikes are definitely best for the event, and teams will need a support vehicle to carry all 4 bikes, the team and personal fuel.
The entry fee of £1400 for a team of 4 covers the cost of the Channel crossings, accommodation, and breakfast and evening meals in France. We are grateful to our event sponsors who have subsidised the cost for all teams to encourage their participation.
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.
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, where we stayed on the Cahors Challenge in 2011.
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…