Queen of the Mountain

Hilary Webber, with two fellow competitors

Hilary Webber, with two fellow competitors

First published in Headlines by

THE L’ETAPE du Tour race in France is a difficult challenge for anyone, and the oldest woman in the field Hilary Webber showed she was up to the task.

Webber, 66, from Salisbury, completed the 90 miles along the Pyrenees Mountains, which includes the 19k Tourmalet and 17.3k Hautacam.

This famous race gives cyclists the opportunity to test their abilities on one of the gruelling Tour de France stages.

Webber last took part in the race back in 2011. This time she faced some difficult conditions.

She said: “The rain was just torrential and it makes the conditions to cycle in very difficult.”

“Cycling up the side of a mountain is hard enough as it is, but to be freezing cold, shivering and trying to make sure you don’t get hypothermia do make for a tricky ride.”

“When I began the 19k decent it was difficult to see what was in front of me as there was just a layer of fog, by the time I reached the bottom several other riders had come off their bikes showing how difficult the course was this year.

“It was funny to see other competitors stopping off at the nearest cafe to try and warm up quickly before continuing the race, I myself made sure I got a dry fleece so I could finish the race.”

Nearly 13,000 riders entered the race, with less than 8,500 managing to cross the finish line. Webber finished 8,041st, one of the highest placed in the 65-69 category, clocking in a time of 9:51:27.

Having taken part in other long distance races to prepare herself for this challenge, Webber was very pleased with finishing the race and the fact she was the oldest female competitor didn’t faze her one bit.

Webber added: “This is easily the hardest race I have ever taken part in, but it was a great feeling finishing the race.”

“In preparation this year I have done several 100-mile sportives and GSD Double Century Challenge charity ride as well as the 150-mile coast-to-coast.”

Webber does a lot of cycling in the county and tries to encourage people as much as possible.

She is a member of British Cycling as well as being a Skyride leader.

She is also strongly involved in the ladies’ Salisbury Breeze Rides, if you wish to take part, visit .www.goskyride.com/Breeze

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