Belfast Telegraph

Pedal power sees Amy complete world's toughest cycle challenge

By Amanda Ferguson

One woman, 2,500km, a total climb of 60,000 metres and three of the world's toughest cycling challenges over a mere 21 days.

Amy Brice from Glengormley is having a well-deserved rest after completing three Haute Route trials back-to-back.

The trio of routes are known as the toughest in the sport, and Amy is believed to be the first woman to have completed them.

The 26-year-old, who works for Chain Reaction Cycles in Doagh, has been cycling competitively for the past four years.

The County Antrim rider has been the Women's Ulster Cycling Championship for the past three years and won the Women's Irish League this year. Now she can add the Haute Route to the list.

Over three weeks, Amy cycled through the Italian Dolomites, Swiss Alps and Pyrenees, taking in the scenery of Venice, Geneva, Nice and Barcelona before finishing the third cyclosportive on the Anglet Basque Coast in France yesterday.

The Dolomites ride was 933km and involved a 20,350m ascent, with the highest point reaching 2,758m at Passo dello Stelvio.

The Alps challenge, from Geneva to Nice, was 904km, with a 21,400m ascent, with the highest col being 1,993m.

On the Pyrenees, Amy and her friends took on 790km at a 19,500m ascent, with the highest col at 2,117m.

Following a gruelling three weeks in the saddle, she will return to Northern Ireland today.

Last night, Amy's delighted father David told the Belfast Telegraph that the whole family could not be more proud of her.

"She is super-fit," he added. "We don't know how she does it. They are very high mountains and she cycled in torrential rain.

"We were watching her coming in after 45km of mountain passes, and she looked like she was coming in from the shops."

Most people take on just one Haute Route over seven days, but Amy's team of 12 went for the glory of three over 21 days.

"She said 'I know I can do one but can I do all three?'," David explained.

"Around 400 people do each one and 12 people took on all three. She was the only woman and the only person from Ireland doing all three.

"It's a timed event, and you have a cut-off time. You have to average 15km per hour, which doesn't seem too bad until you see the size of the mountain!"

Background

Haute Route cycling events are described as "the highest and toughest cyclosportives in the world".

The seven-day road races are timed and ranked across Europe's iconic cols (mountain passes).

Along with 11 men, Amy Brice from Glengormley completed three cols back-to-back over just 21 days, cycling through the Italian Dolomites, Swiss Alps and Pyrenees. She is thought to be the first woman to do so.

For more information about Haute Route, or to sign up for one of the challenges, visitwww.hauteroute.org.

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