The Big Sommet AFGO

The Big Sommet AFGO*.

2400 km, 42,000 metres of elevation and £9000.00 raised for Movember all in 18 days. All good stuff but it’s not about the numbers, it’s the message that I care about.

For almost three weeks Paul Evans and Francis Cade and I rode across some of Europe’s most iconic climbs all in aid of Movember to raise awareness of their work and research into men’s mental health and suicide prevention.

We rode across the Pyrenees from Biarittz to Mont Ventoux, then up the Alps over the Col de la Bonette and into Italy before heading to Switzerland and back into Italy and the Dolomites via the Stelvio pass.

Our journey was documented by Francis on his YouTube channel and all of our instagram accounts and social media. I wanted to use the ride to talk about my own experiences with depression and how I was affected in the hope that it would help others and prevent them going down the same path as I did. I isolated myself and tried to deal with my issues on my own, I realised that this was the worst thing I could’ve done and it only made my situation worse.

The feedback and messages I’ve received have shown that it’s a widespread problem, not just among men but society as a whole. Feeling ashamed, embarrassed or alone often prevents people from talking. I hope my openness throughout the ride and the lead up to it has in some small way touched and helped others who felt like I did. That’s far more important than the numbers and stats.

A massive thank you to all involved. My girlfriend Oriana and my family for all their support, my friends and in particular those who helped and encouraged me to speak out. My dear friend Justin, the man who inspired the change in me and is a constant inspiration.

To the brands and companies that helped make the ride happen. The legends G!RO Cycles, Q36.5 for making the best cycling kit around, Condor Cycles for the bike, MET helmets, Vans For Bands for the vehicle support, Pelotan, C-Bear, MySwitzerland, Ticino Tourism, Alta Badia, Sud Tyrol for hosting us, Karen and Spencer Martin La Ferme de Bélugues for their incredible hospitality.

Movember for highlighting the issues.

The Telegraph for sharing my story

Richard Frazier 10,000 KM CC for the Podacast

Finally Paul “Pauldog” Evans and Francis Cade. My companions and support throughout the trip. An amazing adventure to share with two incredible people. Thank you!

The challenge continues. Over the next year I’m aiming to plan another ride and I’m also looking to speak out more and continue to highlight the issue. I’ll be working with Movember, hosting rides and speaking openly to help others. If you’re interested in hearing my story, hosting talks or being a part of next years ride let me know.

My donation page is still open  please donate and help us help others.

MySommets:

Col de Marie Blanque ,Col d’Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Col de Peyresourde, Col de Mente, Col de Portet d’Aspet, Col de Portech, Col de Port, Mont Ventoux, Col de Valberg, Col de la Bonette, Alpe Di Neggia, Passo San Bernardino, Splügen Pass,Passo dello Stelvio x2, Umbrail Pass, Campolongo, Passo Giau, Passo Fedaia, Passo Sella, Niger Pass, Passo Mendola

All the films from Francis can be found HERE