Former British champion point-to-point rider and H&H columnist Richard Burton, 36, has been doing a different type of riding recently — cycling a stage of the Tour de France.
“It was the toughest sporting event I have ever taken part in,” he said.
Richard joined 11,475 cyclists from 50 countries in the 21st L’Etape du Tour.
One of the toughest on the tour it involves 130km of Alpine climbing that tests the mental and physical endurance of amateurs to the limit. Roads are closed for a limited period, and riders who fail to keep up a certain pace are returned on buses.
After 8.5hr of riding Richard and five friends, including his brother-in-law, amateur rider and racehorse trainer Will Kinsey, completed the course.
“The heat was immense, people were physically sick and most of us experienced the shakes and felt faint at some point,” added Richard.
“It was a real mental and physical examination and the hills were relentless, but I’m absolutely chuffed we did it. I’m just waiting for my body to feel normal again.”
Richard’s interest in the event came through watching the Tour de France — won last year by Sir Bradley Wiggins — and he saw his challenge as a way of raising money for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.
An injury to his grandfather’s brother, former champion jockey Tim Brookshaw, in the 1960s, led to John Oaksey founding the IJF.
“All retired jockeys feel a desire to give back to a cause that is close to their hearts whether they have needed IJF help or not,” he said.
Richard won four British men’s championships, rode a record 414 winners in point-to-points in addition to three winners at the Cheltenham Festival.
He has raised over £1,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund. To donate visit: http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Burton36etape