RAF Charity Ride – 3 Peaks of Briançon

Three RAF team members

The 3 Peaks of Briançon Charity Ride is a team of four amateur cyclists from RAF Coningsby Ground System Support Flight.

The RAF team challenge

Gary, Matty, Chris and Lance are all amateur cyclists. They are challenging themselves to climb and conquer three of the toughest and most gruelling peaks the Alps have to offer. And they aim to complete it in three successive days.

In June 2018 they will be travelling to the Briançon region in the south of France to climb the Col d’Izoard, Col du Chaussy and the Col du Galibier.

Briançon itself is at an altitude of 1,326m (4,350ft). It is often host to the start and finishing stages of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Dauphiné Libéré. And so the ride will present challenges to mental and physical strength and stamina.

Purpose of charity ride

All four members of the team have the same purpose. And that is to raise awareness and funds for four charities all close to their hearts:

  • Cancer Research UK
  • RAF Association
  • RAF Benevolent
  • Breathe on UK

How POWERbreathe will help

Gary, Matty, Chris and Lance will each be using a POWERbreathe Plus MR Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) device as part of their training preparation. The reason for this is because cycling in the mountains, like any form of exercise, will cause their muscles to fatigue. And this includes their breathing muscles.

Research has shown that IMT reduces breathing fatigue and enabled participants in a trial to cycle for 33% longer with a lower sense of effort.

Cycling Effort

However, in addition to breathing fatigue, the hunched position adopted while cycling can also create breathing problems. The reason being that the abdomen becomes compressed and pushes up against the diaphragm. This in turn restricts normal movement and makes breathing feel much harder.

Breathing parameters

But before Gary, Chris and Matty begin using their devices, they will each perform a single breath test using the POWERbreathe K5 with Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software. This provides baseline breathing measurements based on age, weight, height and gender. The single breath test measures inspiratory muscle strength, peak inspiratory flow rate and inhaled volume in a single breath.

Next, Gary, Chris and Matty need to complete a 30 breath training session to establish a baseline breathing Load (cmH2O), Power (watts), Flow (Litres/second) and Energy (joules). These are the parameters they will improve after 4-6 weeks of IMT.

Charity ride 2018 – when and where

JUNE 5 – Warm-up to Briançon.

JUNE 6 – On to Col d’Izoard mountain pass at 2,360m (7,743ft). This will test their strength and provide them with an idea of what they are letting themselves in for.

JUNE 7 – Next is the Col du Chaussy, a high mountain pass with an elevation of 1,533m above sea level. It is considered to be a ‘dangerous road’ because of the 3km stretch with 17 hairpins. In fact the road virtually climbs a cliff. And it is at this point when their Inspiratory Muscle Training should stand them in good stead by  helping to reduce the level of breathing fatigue they would otherwise have experienced. And it will help them to cycle for longer.

JUNE 8 – The final leg is to conquer the Col du Galibier mountain pass. This stands at 2,645m (8,678ft) and is considered to be the highest point of the Tour de France. And this is where their strength, stamina and mental resilience will be pushed to the limit.

Where you can follow them

If you would like to support them, please visit their pages:

  1. Just Giving
  2. Instagram
  3. Facebook

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