College staff conquer Beast of Provence

They went, they saw, they conquered!

Thirteen staff members from Burnley College’s sport, business and services division took the legendary Tour de France peak Mont Ventoux to task, to raise money for Cancer Research and My Life.

The iconic bike ride took the brave cyclists through Provence to ‘The Beast of Provence’ on Friday, July 1st, where the team joined the elite group of 9,500 cyclists worldwide who have managed to take on the “Mont Ventoux Screwballs” challenge. This challenge means cycling up the epic mountain three times using the three traditional Tour de France routes from Bedoin, Malaucene and Sault, totalling 134 km within 24 hours.

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The team have so far raised £1800 for Cancer Research UK and £800 for the charity My-Life thanks to the expedition. The teachers will use what they learn on the mountain to further enhance their grade 1 outstanding lessons, ensuring students have first-hand experience brought to the class to make fun, interesting and interactive lessons.

The trip was a gruelling experience but despite the hardships they experienced, each member of staff has returned fit, well and thrilled with their achievements. The mountain was climbed by the Tour de France competitors on Thursday 14 July as per the race’s tradition, but only once and only as far as Chalet Reynard cutting of 6km of the route due to high winds of up to 120kmph. Perhaps this makes the Burnley College Sixth Form Centre team’s achievements even more amazing!

Sports lecturer Paul Bentley who helped to organise the trip said this of his experience:

“Mont Ventoux is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Cycling to the peak of The Beast of Provence three times in 24 hours was incredibly tough but the team were incredible and we all supported each other to the top, making sure nobody was left behind.

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“Now we’re back we’re glad the money we raised can go to our chosen charities and that the glory of the Burnley College Sixth Form Centre Sports division will live on in Ventoux history forever!”

The staff trained for the trip by utilising the brand new Human Performance Centre at Burnley College. The state of the art strength and conditioning suite enabled the team to train using high-altitude cycling equipment to ready them for the tough conditions waiting for them near the top of the mountain. By analysing their performance using high tech equipment, the team will leave Burnley as prepared as possible for the challenges ahead. The Human Performance Centre is used by Burnley College Sixth Form Centre’s Advanced Level students and Elite Athletes to aid their performance and push them to achieve the very peak of their potential.

Head of sports, business and the services Karen Pates said: “This incredible achievement took a huge amount of personal effort and dedication from our staff and this has been a hugely positive example for our Sports and Public Services students. The money the team raised for Cancer Research and My Life along the way will undoubtedly change lives and we’re all extremely proud of them for representing Burnley College Sixth Form Centre in such an amazing and unique way.”