On Friday 13th February 2015, Lucy Monro, a Dubai resident for the last 20 years, died while taking part in the Dubai Roadsters Coast to Coast Challenge. Riding in the front group, she crashed and was hit by a vehicle: it was a simple accident, but with terrible consequences.
Some two years earlier, Lucy had founded a cycling team – Team SWR, named after one of the magazines that she edited and published. Many of the Team were riding with her on that fateful day.
In the months that followed, the Team tried, in their different ways, to accept what happened. One very important undertaking was to ensure that Lucy’s cycling team lived on. The first step was their re-branding to Team LMT, to honour Lucy’s memory and raise awareness of the charity established after her death. Then, via friends and contacts, Rapha (the suppliers of clothing to Team Sky), reached out and suggested that they create a ‘one-off’ memorial ride, based around a Cent Cols Challenge. Lucy loved the mountains and so the location seemed fitting: the remote and wild Cévennes and Massif Central in France. Suddenly the Team had a new focus and a reason to keep riding their bikes.
It will be the first time that a Rapha Cent Cols Challenge has been ridden by a team and it’s also the inaugural Cent Cols event in this particular region. They owe thanks beyond words to their sponsors and friends who have made this possible: Rapha Travel, the Rapha Cent Cols Challenge, Bounce Energy Foods (UK), Silverback, Stages Cycling, GU, Bonk Breaker, Dubai Physiotherapy & Family Medicine Clinic, Expertise Promotional Gifts (UAE) and Wolfi’s Bike Shop (UAE).
The ride, named simply ‘Lucy’s Cent Cols’, involves climbing 100 mountain passes (cent cols), in ten days: in total, each rider will hopefully cover 2,000km and climb 40,000m. It’s a huge challenge, covering 65% of the distance and 100% of the cumulative climbing of a Tour de France, but in less than half the time! By any measure, it’s a truly daunting task. It’s also late in the year for this sort of thing: the weather will almost certainly be ‘mixed’ and the daylight hours may well prove too short! They may succeed, or fail, but either way, they will struggle and suffer for day after day, in the pursuit of their goal.
Team LMT consists entirely of amateur riders, with normal jobs, families and all the commitments that go with that – they’re people like you and me, except they now find themselves embarking on a highly improbable endeavour! Every rider will attempt to ride the entire route and all 100 mountains. The Team for this event, led by Allan Greenfield (UAE & NZ), includes Nico d’Haemer (UAE & BEL), Simon Marshall (UAE & UK), Philip Bond (CH & UK), Mike Duckworth (UAE & UK), Mike Hewitt (UAE & USA), Thomas Fabe (UAE & GER), Jim Pusey (UAE & USA), Kev Mellalieu (UK), Loren Schaeffer (USA) and Guy Townsend (UK and Lucy’s brother). Each rider has paid their own costs.
Rapha summed up Team LMT’s motivations in this blog:
Stage One is fast approaching: they begin on Tuesday 29th September.
Besides providing the Team with a fitting memorial to the cycling part of Lucy’s life, they have a second purpose: to raise funds for a small, benevolent charity that has been founded in her name – the Lucy Monro Memorial Trust ( www.lmmt.org )
Her job as a magazine editor and publisher centered on equestrian writing and photography, but these skills also brought her into contact with people and animals in need of help and her life was marked by some amazing humanitarian and charitable efforts, based around animal welfare, education and humanitarian aid.
Taking these three themes, LMMT will raise funds and then assist small, grass-roots causes and charities in each of these three areas, to achieve their aims, by making financial grants. Examples could be building a new school in Nepal after the earthquake, or giving financial aid to a dog rescue organisation. The Trustees include Guy and Allan and they will ensure that all monies raised go directly to helping people and animals in urgent need of assistance. You can read more about LMMT here: www.lmmt.org
You can follow their story during the ride, via this blog: www.sirguylitespeed.com
and also via their Team Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Team-LMT-391340557659955/timeline/
Sponsors can donate via this link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LucysCentCols
For Team LMT, this is all part of their ‘closure.’ They’re approaching this unique ride with a mixture of emotions: sadness that they can’t involve Lucy herself in her Team’s greatest ride and fear that they might fail, but also joy at the opportunity to ride, remember and to the extent possible, heal together. They can’t promise that they’ll all climb 100 cols – it’s just too difficult for anyone to be truly confident. They can however guarantee two things: first, that each and every Team LMT rider is going to toil, suffer and try their very best, day after day; and second, that ALL funds raised for the Lucy Monro Memorial Trust will go entirely to supporting small, grass-roots causes where they can be certain that the funds will be put to great use.
Team LMT, September 2015.