Infamous for its stunning scenery and punishing climbs, the Alpe d’Huez is legendary among Tour de France riders for its ability to test the strongest professional cyclists to their limits.
Imagine making that 11,000ft mountain climb after completing a 2.2km swim across Lake Verney and before tackling a 22km run across the peak of the mountain, 2,000m above sea level.
That is what Bassetlaw Triathlon Club’s Gavin Toulson did when he completed the Alpe d’Huez long distance triathlon in 10:02:23 — just 10 weeks after breaking his elbow and thumb.
“I set myself this challenge for my 40th birthday as it was at the top of my bucket list. It was a beautiful race, but so tough — an unforgettable experience,” he said.
Toulson joined the growing list of Bassetlaw Triathlon Club athletes who have seen success at home and abroad in what has been an exceptional season.
Closer to home, Yannie Duveen, Craig Mercer and Daniel Osborn raced in the Love to Tri AJ Bell London Triathlon Series.
Battling driving rain and high winds to complete slippery and waterlogged bike and run routes, Duveen and Mercer completed the Olympic distance race in 03:10:33 and 02:41 respectively. Osborn finished his sprint distance race in 01:32:11.
Mercer, who also raced with his son, said: “This was my first Olympic-distance event so I was a bit apprehensive.
The atmosphere was brilliant, all the way into London to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.”
The club’s success continued in Yorkshire and Cleveland.
At the Redcar Triathlon, Kevin Dunne finished in 01:17:13 and Joan Kirkwood in 01:43:47, taking third place in her age group in the World Championship qualifying event.
Helen Crossley and Craig Reep both put in fine performances at the Yorkshire Water Hull Triathlon, with Reep achieving a 1:15:55 finish and Crossley finishing third female overall in 1:15:56.
Twelve-year-old Ned Spittlehouse and his eight-year-old brother, Harry, were in excellent form at the York Junior Triathlon.
Ned, who battled against headwinds to complete the 10.8km bike section, finished in 33:32.
Inspired to have a go at triathlon by his older brother, Harry braved heavy rain to finish in 11:17 in his event.
On Sunday, the Bassetlaw Sprint Triathlon will take place in Worksop.
Now in its fifth successive year, the race promises to be the most successful to date.
It will start with a 400m pool swim at BPL Valley Leisure Centre, followed by a 21km cycle ride through Nottinghamshire into South Yorkshire, before a 5km run along the footpaths of Worksop.
Entries have closed, but spectators are welcome along the 26.4km route. The race starts at 8am.
For more information about Bassetlaw Triathlon Club membership and training events, go to www.basset lawtriclub.co.uk