What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an incurable and fatal muscle wasting disease. It is the biggest genetic killer of children on the planet and catastrophic in terms of quality of life. Sufferers generally end up wheelchair-bound by age 12, have the need for a ventilator in their mid-teens and unfortunately, a loss of upper body function ultimately leads to death in early/mid 20’s. But the work of Duchenne UK is providing hope for parents around the world whose children are diagnosed with DMD. Whilst there’s currently no known cure, there are huge breakthroughs being made in the development of treatments that will, for the first time, alter the disease. Challenges like The Duchenne Dash MAX are playing their part in helping to fund research.
Duchenne Dash MAX 2017 Route
The second leg of the Duchenne Dash MAX route will be from London to Monaco. As you know from last weeks blog post the riders set off from John O’Groats and finished in Paris, a 1600 km ride, in 2016. Time to add 1500 km to last year’s impressive feat. Starting alongside thousands of other riders in the Duchenne Dash, the team will ride from London to Paris in 24 hours, Friday 9th June to 10th June, this year Chris’s wife Helen and friend Sarah will be doing the Duchenne Dash. This will be their first cycle challenge ever. After a much-needed rest, Sunday 11th, they will set off from Paris and ride 60 km south onto the Forêt de Fontainebleau. The route follows the outskirts of Montargis, a city famed for the origination of Pralines.
The next part of the ride will take the team towards the foot of the Alps following the L’Ouanne River South East, with the final 20 km descent into Beaune, passing the famous vineyards of Burgundy. Next, the longest day to Lac du Bourget, the gateway to the Alps. An easier Northerly approach following the valley road before crossing the Rhône into the Savoie and heading South down the Eastern side of the lake commences day three.
‘The Queen Stage’
The first 100km will take the riders through the Maurienne valley, pushed on by the prevailing tailwinds and passing the extraordinary Lacets de Montvernier at 80km. They will be tackling two iconic Cols of Tour de France, the Col du Télégraphe then the mighty Galibier peaking at 2,650m. Descending towards Bourg d’Oisans, an alpine Mecca for cyclists, surrounded by extraordinary rock formations and a clear view of the following morning’s route up the ‘Alpe’.
Helen in training for the Duchenne Dash
Thursday morning is where Chris will join Rob and the team as they begin with the legendary 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez. The descent back to the valley follows a spectacular balcony road through Villard Reculas with views to Bourg thousands of feet below. After the main climbs are over, the route heads through classic alpine pastures then joining the Route Napoléon to Gap, the capital of the Haute Alpes.
The penultimate day sees the riders take on the Col de Cayolle in which is carved one of France’s famous balcony roads. This northern side, from Barcelonette, is 29.15 km long, climbing 3,900 ft at an average of 4.1% incline to the summit at 2,300m. The summit marks the border between Alpes Maritime and Alpes de Provence with a 30km descent following the course of the Var river towards Guillaume and the foot of the Valberg climb.
The final day starts in Valberg with a 2000 m ascent but rewarded by a 3,500 m descent towards the coast. The team will then finally ascend the Col d’Eze and the last 10 km of an epic journey towards the Mediterranean Sea and the delights of Monaco.
You can Help us End Duchenne
These events are always well supported by the likes of Tim Peake, JK Rowling, and Owen Farrell. Will Carling rode with the team last year and Rob Wainwright will ride this year. But without you, Duchenne wouldn’t be able to spend 90%+ of all money raised on research and trials that are fundamentally making a huge difference. We ask that you donate to and share our Virgin Giving page in support for Duchenne UK.
Make sure to follow the riders on their journey