Ambassador Hazel and her teammate of a father, Dave, have been using Beeline to prepare for the most challenging cycle of their lives—a three time climb up Mont Ventoux over a whopping 137km (85mi) and 4400m (14,436ft) of climbing.
Conquering the Tour de France’s infamous challenge was not a goal that was developed out of random, but rather circumstance. In 2012, Hazel was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), a condition that inhibits the immune system’s ability to produce antibodies, making infections inevitable. Hazel sees this disease the same way she sees Mont Ventoux— a challenge, yet a defeatable one. Together, the Swindon father- daughter duo plan to raise awareness and funds for CVID through their Mont Ventoux journey. We caught up with Hazel and Dave to see how their preparation has been coming along!
“We chose Ventoux because it represents one of the great climbs in cycling, and also no matter how big the challenge, Hazel despite her illness can beat it.” Although CVID has been known to be a disease of rarity, the condition has been reporting higher diagnosis rates than ever before, and its increasing presence is exactly what Hazel and Dave hope to highlight on their cycle.
As a personal trainer and a lover of cycling, Dave has been riding for years but never has taken apart of an excursion of this nature. With Dave as her support in training, Hazel began her cycling journey in January of this year, and has made tremendous strides of growth since! Dave and Hazel up the rigor of their rides to each week to prepare, trying to accomplish a cycle of great length paired with additional saddle time and cross training. Dave states, “We are not following any strict plan as Hazel's illness can throw a spanner in the works on occasion and we want to keep it fun as possible.”
Dave has selected a Whyte Gisburn, and Hazel a Sonder Camino Al to take on Mont Ventoux. Both models are gravel bikes, with a 1x drive setting that the duo believes provides them optimal riding comfort.
When asked about a navigation source, Hazel was excited to state her use of the Beeline. Dave also chimed in about his excitement, but more so from a father’s perspective: “Hazel has the amazing ability to turn left instead of right consistently. And the arrow on the Beeline means that we can trust she is still on track and not lost even on a solo ride. We have found the Beeline to be clearer in directions and simple to use, it provides two great ways to navigate depending on what you prefer.”
Ups & Downs
Every rider who is training for an excursion of such rigor is bound to experience both rides of highs and lows. “ A few weeks ago a bad ride was through the Cotswolds. Hazel had been hit hard by a flair up and we decided to try a cycle anyway.” The 40 mile route full of hills had Dave doubting whether or not Hazel would be able to take on the challenge, but with sweat, some tears and pure grit she powered on until the very end.
“The illness will flair up at any time and can seriously set back the training. The joints can swell, nausea, coughing, bloating and a variety of other symptoms make it difficult to go out on a ride.” Regarding the upcoming climbing mission, Dave states that flare ups and attacks of the illness is a challenge Hazel is prepared to experience.
Most would find this type of riding perseverance to be hard to come by when fighting CVID, but it may just be a teammate father who is quite the help. Hazel states, “As much as riding on the road isn't a race, having someone [Dave] just ahead in the distance can always stir an extra turn of speed. Dad will offer encouragement where he can. Sometimes it's just been a case of gritting the teeth and powering on.”
Hazel and Dave plan to start and conclude their three climbs of Mont Ventoux on the 7th of September. The choice to perform a total of three climbs makes the cycle an official challenge, one that will commence at one minute past midnight, and must conclude within the 24 hour window.
“We are hoping to set off in the early hours of the morning and reaching the top in time for a sun rise. We don't know yet how an enduro event like this will affect Hazel. We hope to be able to finish with time to spare for dinner and a chill o ut.” In fact, Dave reports that a nice ice cream and chips treat may be in store following the cycle. A well earned reward after a 137km (85mi) ride with 4400m (14,436ft) worth of climbing!
A Few Final Questions...
As tradition, we wanted to wrap up with Hazel and Dave with some desert island! A la BBC Radio 4, we asked each Hazel and Dave what they would take with them on their journey if they were allowed to bring only one book, one luxury item, and eight songs. Here were their choices:
Hazel: “'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke.” Dave: “Freddy Mercury: A life in his own words' by Freddy Mercury.”
Their luxury item:
Hazel: “Does cake count?” Dave: “A masseuse”
And their preferences…would you rather:
Cycle the whole way in the dark or cycle the whole way in the midday Sun?
Hazel: “I would rather do it all in the dark because I'm pale and I'll burn.” Dave: “In the sun— I won't be descending in the dark.”
Cycle the whole way naked or with four layers of clothing?
Hazel: “Clothed. I'm not cycling naked all day with my dad!!!” Dave: “Clothed, as I'll have a bad enough baboon bum at the end already.”
Complete the challenge on a tandem or on a Brompton?
Hazel and Dave: “Tandem. Share the workload. Also there's always a crazy feel to a tandem... we'd get mighty speed on the descent!”
If interested in donating to Hazel’s campaign for CVID awareness, her Justgiving blog is just the place, giving funds directly to charity: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/haze-roberts . We are excited to keep following along on Hazel and Dave’s journey, so stay tuned with a follow for @ridebeeline for updates!