The Fastest Classroom on Earth was the 4th expedition from the ‘Extreme Classrooms’ initiative. Founded by Alan Chambers MBE and Trystan Parry-Williams, ‘Extreme Classrooms’ delivers life-changing expeditions for children aged 11-16 with complex social, behavioural and/or learning difficulties from schools throughout the country who are part of the Engage in Their Future organisation.
After submitting a letter to be considered for involvement in this year’s Extreme Classroom and then passing a selection process, participants in the Fastest Classroom came from schools in Wales, Norfolk, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Bristol, Merseyside, Warrington, Cheshire, County Durham, West Sussex and Surrey.
The Fastest Classroom on Earth was an extremely tough journey on bicycles around the highest mountain in Europe – Mont Blanc. The expedition took 4 days, we travelled through France, Switzerland and Italy, tackled 9 major Tour de France climbs, we cycled uphill for over 9000 metres and clocked up over 350 kilometres.
During the planning stages, many experienced cyclists expressed their concerns that it would not be possible for young inexperienced cyclists to complete this infamous journey… every student proved them wrong!
On a selection of hybrid and road bikes and with sheer determination, every student dug deep on every flat road, every steep incline and on every daunting fast decline to ensure they completed the task in hand as a team, completing the designated route each day.
Split into 3 teams – Team Pendleton, Team Hoy and Team Wiggins, each group featured a selection of business or sport mentors along with the staff mentors from each student’s school.
Each team was supported by a team van which carried an experienced cyclist and support crew to ensure every rider had regular access to water, energy snacks, warm clothes and mechanical backup.
From the sunny base to the chilly summit of each mountain, all team members kept smiling and with a can-do attitude delivered an overwhelming level of camaraderie.
After tackling each day in separate teams, on the final day, with just over 1km to go until the finish line, every rider joined as one big group and crossed the finished line in Saint Gervais as one winning team!
After a hard, but rewarding week in the Alps, I am sure each and every student will have found inner strengths they did not know existed, built determination and now have an unbreakable resilience to succeed.
Extreme Classrooms – Keep up the good work!
P.S. Bicycle for sale – 1 very sore owner!