Hayden Groves on his Tour de France charity ride

The Staff Canteen

BaxterStorey’s executive chef Hayden Groves has always enjoyed a charity challenge and this year is no exception. The National Chef of the Year 2013 agreed to cycle in the Le Tour One Day Ahead Trip in support of the Cure Leukaemia charity. 

The Staff Canteen caught up with Hayden to uncover more about the money he is raising, the demands of the route and the support he is receiving.

Hayden will ride the Tour de France 2015 route as part of a team organised by ex-Crystal Palace footballer and cancer survivor Geoff Thomas. The team currently consists of 12 members and aims to raise £1m for Cure Leukeamia. The team start one day before the professionals and must cycle the full 3,360 kilometres of the Tour de France route. Hayden said: “It’s not a race. It’s a charity event that’s going to hopefully raise lots of money.” Hayden has already raised more money than his original individual target of £50,000. He explained: “I’ve personally raised almost £51,000, which is incredible! I have accomplished more than my initial target but I’m hoping to raise £60,000 now.”

>>> Read more about Hayden here 


He added: “Every pound that we raise is worth £10 to the charity for medicines, so if we raise one million then it’s actually like ten million.” Hayden will head out with the team to the Netherlands on Thursday, July2 and will start cycling the next day. Hayden said: “We will try to have as much of a professional atmosphere as possible and some of the hype of the Tour de France.” He added: “It just seemed like an unbelievable opportunity.” Hayden’s interest in road racing started at a young age and, as a big fan of the Tour de France, he was eager to get involved in the charity event. “I’m really looking forward to the mountains,” Hayden explained, “but I know that they will be demanding.” He added: “I’m not really looking forward to the flatter stages in the North because the weather will be variable and potentially a bit windy.”
 It’s going to be a tough challenge and it’s estimated that the team will burn 10,000 calories each day.

Hayden explained: “We will be eating lots of protein before and after cycling, to refuel the muscles, and lots of carbs while we’re riding.” Calorie intake is one of the biggest issues Hayden is facing. He said: “Aside from the normal bits that ache, for example: the legs, the backside, the neck and the shoulders, it’s really how well you can digest the amount of calories.” Hayden is fitting most of his training around work, which means he is cycling home after service, whether that is at 6pm or 10pm.

Hayden explained: “It hasn’t been easy and sometimes when you read about some of the riders that look like they’re training full time you feel like you’re time crunched.” He added: “The biggest challenge came in January and December when it was freezing cold and I was still out on my bike training hard. It’s the sacrifices that you make in January and February that make the difference in July.” Hayden says his work colleagues have been incredibly encouraging and understanding. He said: “I’ve been immensely fortunate that the team here have supported me. They’re picking up the odd extra shifts here and there to allow me to train.”

One of the main people supporting Hayden is Alistair Storey, the chairman of BaxterStorey. “He was the first person I spoke to about getting involved with the challenge,” Hayden said. “We both agreed that I was crazy: personally and professionally!”
Despite fitting most of his training around work Hayden was lucky enough to have five days cycling in Aspen and Four days in Spain. Whilst in Aspen he was pleased to spend a lot of time with teammate Lance Armstrong.

Hayden said: “To go and meet someone like that and to go and ride with him in Aspen was really surreal.” Having Lance on the team attracted a lot of publicity. Hayden explained: “Once it was announced that Lance was going to do a couple of stages with us in France the media around it was leaked. It went worldwide that morning.”

This is not the first time Hayden has tested his limits to raise money for charity. The award-winning chef took to the boxing ring for Rumble in the Kitchen in 2012 and the rode in the London to Paris Cycle in June 2012. But, cycling the Tour de France route is possibly his biggest challenge yet, so how does Hayden intend to top it? “I joke that if we complete it this year we could complete it next year on a Boris bike!” Hayden laughed.

He added: “I’ve always enjoyed a challenge but this one has got to be the pinnacle.”

By Abbie Cattano

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Editor 16th June 2015

Hayden Groves on his Tour de France charity ride