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The Alt Tour So Far...

Following Lachlan from the Breton coast to the Alpine cols.

RIDING FOR A REASON

Swapping points and prizes for a more meaningful purpose, Lachlan is riding in support of World Bicycle Relief. By donating bicycles, WBR enable young people around the world to access education. If you’re inspired by Lachlan’s ride and want to help him on his way, please donate to WBR.

Amount Raised

£ 464,542

 

Bikes Donated

3,871

Day 17–18

Paris

“On behalf of all at World Bicycle Relief, our gratitude goes to Lachlan, his team and family, EF Education First, Rapha, and everybody who has contributed to this incredible activation. Chapeau to all!”

 

– Allison Dufosee – CEO of World Bicycle Relief UK

On Monday morning, Lachlan set off on the final and longest stage to reach the French capital, riding through the night to cover a total distance of 579km in 19 hours.

Throughout it all, this challenge has been about more than just one athlete. The Alt Tour became a sporting spectacle that has inspired the masses to fall in love with cycling in a whole new way, and most importantly, will help provide even more young people who are challenged by the barrier of distance with the means to access an education. From the dot-watchers who joined him on the road to help keep up his morale, the fans who shared messages of support on social media, and donors who gave so generously to World Bicycle Relief, it has brought together a global community of cyclists passionate to get on their bikes and bring about change.

Lachlan’s supporters have pushed him through the Alps, across the Pyrenees and way beyond his fundraising target of £200,000 for World Bicycle Relief. Every donation helps further World Bicycle Relief’s mission of mobilising communities through the power of cycling.

Day 16

Angoulême – Paris

“Right, off to Paris. It’s all downhill from here!”

Now out of the mountains, the greatest struggle that Lachlan faced was a seemingly never-ending headwind as he powered his way north towards Paris. Sapping his energy and wearing him down this made getting through the day as much of a mental battle as a physical one.

But there was a surprise awaiting Lachlan as he arrived at his campsite in the evening: his father, David Morton, had flown out to meet his son and offer some much needed moral support. Lachlan had no idea his dad had planned this and the emotions were obvious with not a dry eye to be seen.

This morning at 10am CEST, Lachlan began the final and longest stage to reach the French capital. Covering a total distance of 579km, Lachlan intends to ride straight through the night tonight and to arrive in to Paris on Tuesday morning.

ALLEZ LACHLAN!

Day 15

Cap de Bouirex–Pau

Saturday marked two weeks since Lachlan first set off on his 5,500km challenge. After climbing both the Col du Tourmalet and Montee de Luz Ardinan totalling a huge 4,425 of climbing and 310km of riding, Lachlan was relieved to finish his final mountain stage of The Alt Tour.

Tonight will be Lachlan’s last sleeping unders the stars. Tomorrow, whilst the peloton enjoy their second rest day of the Tour, Lachlan will take on his biggest ride of The Alt Tour yet.

Day 14

Saint-Gaudens–Col du Portet

On Friday, with a huge 300km plus day ahead of him, Lachlan put his head down and pedalled on toward the Pyrenees once more to tackle the Col du Portet later that evening. A call from home went a long way on the final ascent where the climb only got steeper and the roads less forgiving. With hairpin bends ahead and a seemingly never-ending climb, Lachlan pushed on into the evening to reach the summit of the Col de Portet, after a 330km day.

Day 13

Llagonne–Cap de Bouirex

“I’m hoping to feel a bit better today and push on the way I want, but you know as they say there will be days like this. We hope tomorrow is better, and here’s tomorrow so let’s see what happens”

As Lachlan embarked on his toughest day of climbing, he was greeted with the warm support of friends and family. His EF Education-NIPPO teammate, Jimmy Whelan, rode with him and Rohan Dennis, another pro rider, came by offering home-made banana bread. There was also a quick pit stop for lunch with his wife, Rachel, who reassured him the large bar of soap he had been carrying was worth the additional weight.

“It’s just nice to see some familiar faces. If I’m honest, I was worried about seeing Rachel half way through something like this, because sometimes you just let your guard down a bit, let yourself think about the finish and what it’s like at home, and it just breaks that mentality you had.”

On his way out of Andorra, Lachlan stopped at a bike shop and upgraded the supermarket pedals he bought on Day 3, for BMX/Mountain Bike pedals, which turned out to be a game changer.

Day 12

Lavelanet–La Llagonne

“I’ve been trying to ride more or less 12 hours every day, or at least that’s what it has ended up being. I’ve got to get back through the Pyrenees and do the really long transfer back to Paris.”

After charging his electronic gears and slipping in some carbon soles to his trusty sandals (gifted by a kind dot-watcher), Lachlan was ready to head into the mountains for what was a tough day ahead. The effects of twelve long days of back-to-back riding, with no mechanical support, no home comforts and very little recovery time, have started to show on Lachlan, both mentally and physically.
 

Lachlan arrived at his campsite 12 hours after he set off. It was back into his bivvy, to shelter from the chillier temperatures that came with being at altitude. It’s here that he reflected on the reality of what still lies ahead, and where the uncertainty crept in.

Yesterday, he came the closest he will to Girona, and said it would be quicker to ride home than to Paris. The last transfer will be the longest he has ever ridden in one go.

“It’s a very different tired. It takes me 2 or 3 hours to get going. After 5 hours I feel really good and the last 4 or 5 hours are really difficult again. The toll on my body is a lot more, I've got blisters everywhere.”

Day 11

Villevielle–Lavelanet

It was a restless night’s sleep for Lachlan, having been kept up by a nearby rave which was still going on when he woke up at 5am, making for less than ideal conditions to change a flat front tyre. Breakfast was another Lachlan special: a litre of cows milk, mixed with condensed milk and instant coffee.

Riding conditions were much tougher than they had been previously, with Lachlan hitting strong head winds all day. The reality of life on the road without a mechanic also hit hard, when Lachlan ran into gear trouble. Unfortunately his Di2 electronic gears, which allow him to shift seamlessly at the push of a button, had run out of charge, so he rode on the small ring for his last 120km.

Today, it’s onwards to Quillan for the remainder of Stage 14, down the 100km stretch of Transfer 14, before hitting the mountains again for Stage 15 which will take Lachlan into Andorre-La-Vielle.

Day 10

Malaucène–Villevielle

“I was there pretty much by myself. It felt like a religious moment, not so often you get this mountain all to yourself.”

Whilst the racers of the Tour settled in for their rest day, Lachlan was gearing up for another long session in the saddle, clocking up over 300km in 13 hours, increasing his lead over the peloton to 850km. An important gain ahead of his final 500km transfer to Paris.

Despite switching back to shoes, the many days of rain and little opportunity for drying were adding to Lachlan’s foot pain. Thankfully, the warmer weather in the south meant that Lachlan could sleep out of his bivvy and underneath his sleeping bag to “air everything out”, with another set of Lachlan-customised sandals coming in handy for his second lap of Ventoux.

“My feet are just angry in general. Ironically the sandals caused the issue, and now they’re going to be the resolution.”

At sunrise, Lachlan ascended once more the loop to the Ventoux summit and was greeted with beautiful blue skies, spectacular views and empty roads. It made for his fourth and favourite time climbing it this year.

Today, Lachlan will aim to cover another 300km, completing Stage 12 and travelling down the south of France, through Nîmes and onto Stage 13.

Day 09

Montélimar–Mont Ventoux

“It’s a very difficult climb and I've already climbed it twice this year, in one day. The thought of doing it, not on a race bike. It’s going to be even harder.”

Sunday morning was bright and peaceful. Lachlan hit the road and continued his trek south to Mont Ventoux. Often considered one of the most difficult and greatest climbs in cycling, 21km and 7.5% gradient climbing up to 1,900 meters, the Tour and Lachlan will be riding two laps of the iconic mountain.

Unfortunately, the good weather didn’t last long with constant rain until mid afternoon. Lachlan also suffered several punctures. Having run out of inner tubes, it was time to get resourceful again, at one point calling on his inflatable mattress repair kit for assistance. Lachlan’s luck turned in his favour, when at 5pm, he found an open bicycle shop that sold the exact inner he needed - a particularly fortuitous find in France where most places are closed on a Sunday.

With the patched tyre still holding air, Lachlan began his climb up Ventoux. On his ascent, Lachlan paid his respects to the Tommy Simpson memorial, laying down his cycling cap. The sun came out after a very rainy morning but in true Ventoux style cloud welcomed his arrival. For dinner, Lachlan enjoyed what was nothing short of a feast, in comparison to other nights. Tacos as his main, steak and chips for dessert and a glass of red wine to round it all off.

Today, a rest day for the peloton, but business as usual for Lachlan, as he finishes his second ascent of Mont Ventoux and gets ready to push towards Stage 12.

Day 08

Voiron– Saint-Marcellin

On Saturday, Day 8, Lachlan set his alarm for 6am, hoping to have a lie in, but was woken by the morning sun. Making it to Stage 10 with the support of several dot-watchers and back in his regular cleats, Lachlan was feeling optimistic.

Day 07

Bourg–Saint–Maurice – Chambéry – Voiron

Friday was the first mountain stage of many. It was also the day to say goodbye to his faithful sandals which had fallen victim to Stages 8 and 9. By the time he arrived at camp, Lachlan had taken a wrong turn, gone up an extra climb, hadn’t found food for dinner, and taken out all of his camping equipment, only to find it was still wet.

Day 06

Villequiers – Le Creusot – Saint Amour

On Day 6, Lachlan had his sights set on finishing Stage 7, the longest stage at the Tour this year at 250km, and covering off a good chunk of the transfer to Stage 8. Despite a couple of punctures slowing him down, he managed an average moving speed of 25km/h and gained 4,000m of elevation, the most he has climbed on The Alt Tour to date.

With no hot water (and no spoon), it was just a pot of cold instant coffee to bring in the day, picking up some fresh fruit and a litre of milk for breakfast once on the road.

Whilst the rubber sandals were working wonders for Lachlan’s recovering knee, they had not been so kind to his feet, giving him several blisters. To solve the problem, Lachlan simply cut off some straps to fashion a riding shoe fit for the hilly stage ahead.

By the evening, things began to look up and in more ways than one. After a lot of rain, the sun finally made an appearance, with temperatures creeping up to over 25°C (77°F). Much to Lachlan’s relief, last night’s campsite came with a shower, so it was a welcomed wash and a baguette with jam for dinner, before turning in for the night.

“It’s very wet. I actually had a good night’s sleep, believe it or not. I’ve got to pack everything down and keep going. No shower last night, feel a little rough. I’ll make a quick coffee and get going.”

Day 05

Tours – Vierzon – Villequiers

“I think the mornings are the hardest part of the day but I managed to have a good sleep. Today I’m hoping to tick off another 300km or so.”

Day 5 was Lachlan’s longest in the saddle yet. 14 hours of riding, covering off 370km, putting him 420km in front of the peloton. Lachlan is so far ahead now, that he has passed the guy who puts up the route signs for the Tour. But with the Alps approaching, he’s going to need every bit of that advantage. With Lachlan’s final transfer to Paris being 500km, he is putting in the work now to maintain his lead in later stages.

Day 04

Redon – Fougères – La Fleche

The dress code was slightly different for Day 4. Lachlan switched to sandals and flat pedals for the 150km ride from Redon to Fougéres, to allow his sore knee some time to recover.

Lachlan approached Stage 5, the first of the Tour’s two time-trials, mid afternoon, setting a time of 1h17s. At the end, Lachlan was greeted by some of the team from Qhubeka charity, who wanted to wish him luck and thank him for doing this ride in support of a great cause. Upon reaching La Fleche, it was another night under the stars.

“It’s all ticking along pretty nicely, I’m having a good old time. I’m in sandals today, which are a bit of a lifesaver for me. I’m hoping this rain holds out. My plan is to do another 90km and maybe camp, but I’m just going to see what time I get there, how I’m feeling, maybe go further but I don’t want to stress it.”

“Just enjoying it right now. Looks like it’s going to be a hard time trial actually. If this wind stays up, or picks up any further, the stage will be good.”

Day 03

Lorient – Pontivy – Redon

Lachlan set off from Lorient shortly after 5am for the start of Stage 3. Conditions for the flat 183km route were modest, with overcast skies and a few light showers. Finishing the stage 4 hours ahead of the peloton, in spite of a slightly irritated knee, meant on Lachlan’s transfer to Stage 4 he was able to watch the Tour ride by in the picturesque town of Josselin whilst enjoying some lunch, his first proper hot meal since the start. Heavy downpours met Lachlan on arrival to his campsite just outside of Redon. On a trip to a local supermarket, Lachlan picked up a tub of couscous and a couple of bags of nuts for dinner, alongside some new pedals for a switch to flat shoes to ease pressure on his knees

Day 02

Perros-Guirec – Lorient

“Yesterday had such a sick atmosphere. People are still around 3 hours after the race cheering along.”

Day 2 of The Alt Tour began at sunrise. Setting off on 4 hours sleep, Lachlan made his way north from Perros-Guirec and down towards Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan to ride the hilly 183.5km segment to complete Stage 2 of the Tour.

Along the way, Lachlan encountered several fans who had been dot-watching his journey, with some riding alongside for added support. Others showed their support through donations to World Bicycle Relief, with nearly £25,000 donated in just two days, bringing the total amount raised to £146,000.

With 50km to go, and no food remaining, an essential stop off was required at a local Boulangerie, with Lachlan picking up two of the “best baguettes of his life”.

The Alt Tour

Can Lachlan beat the peloton to Paris, and raise £400,000 for World Bicycle Relief?