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After the treatment I received in the hands of the excellent staff at Beechwood during my chemotherapy, I felt duty bound to see if I could raise much needed funds to help out.

Fortunately, the means to raise the funds was quite obvious to me, being a keen cyclist. A clothing company based in London, called Rapha, and an online gps tracking company called Strava, based in the USA, were running a challenge called the 500km Challenge.  It was free to enter and all you had to do was ride 500km (or 310.6 miles) in 8 days. To make it trickier, the challenge was being held from December 24th to December 31st.  This would mean riding over the Christmas period, which may not go down to well with Johanna, my wife. However, once I’d outlined the plan to her, she was all for it.

To break the mileage down in the 8 days, would mean doing 62.5km a day (or 38.8 miles).  However, just to put a little spanner in the works, on one of the days of the challenge I’d be having the second of my 10 hour chemo infusions, which of course would mean no cycling that day. So now my daily mileage would have to be 71.4km (or 44.4 miles a day).

Just think about that for a minute. I’m already a third through my chemo treatment, and I can feel it starting to work.  My energy levels are diminishing on a daily basis and the weather was frankly awful.  Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Fortunately, to help me out on the challenge, I enlisted the help of the two cycling clubs I belong to -Manchester Wheelers and the Polocini cycling club, Romiley.  

Day 1, Monday 24th December, Christmas Eve. Weather was awful, rain, wind, bit more rain and rain. A wet ride in the true sense of the word. There were just 3 wheelers out with me on this first day. Altogether we did 78.2km (48.6 miles).

Day 2, Christmas Day.  Dry at least. I hadn’t planned on a big ride today, it was Christmas day after all, so with Richard from Polocini cycling club, we only did 38km (23.7 miles).

Day 3, Boxing Day. 71.1km (44.2 miles) today. The weather held off again to produce a nice day in the saddle. It was a big turnout for support from both the Wheelers and Polocini. 

Day 4, Another great turnout of Wheelers, Polocini and mates to support me.  We’re now up to 163 miles (53% of the mileage done). With only 4 days left to ride, that’s going to be a tall order.

I have raised £650 so far which I think is pretty amazing considering I’m not the money raising type.

Day 5, 83.3km (51.8 miles). This was the last day of the week I’d be able to ride for any great distance.  As usual the Wheelers turned out in force to support me. The route we took headed over to Holmes Chapel and Congleton.  Busy roads, but fast and flat. The weather was a bit rough, but I’d gotten used to that now.

Day 6, Chemo infusion. This really put a spanner in the works where my cycling mileage was concerned. Being stuck in chemo for 10 hours meant no miles at all today. I did consider cycling over in the morning, but it was once again raining hard that day, so gave it a miss and Joh brought me over.

Day 7, Sunday. I had planned to complete the final miles over today and Monday, but that was not to be. The chemo infusion really wiped me out. I was sick as soon as I had something to drink in the morning and didn’t improve much throughout the day. I was very disappointed to not be able to complete the challenge. However, I had done 348km (216.8 miles) which, under the circumstances, I thought was great going. In the end I raised over £600 for Beechwood.

During the time of the rides, it was so great to see everyone come out and support me, make new friends and generally have a great time through some pretty rough days. My thanks go out to the two cycling clubs who supported me.  I can’t complete this story without thanking the one person who made it all possible for me. Coming home tired day after day, staggering in the house and throwing my dirty kit to the floor, demanding food and a hot shower, moaning about getting enough rest and not doing any housework or jobs for the week of the challenge. That’s all down to the support of Johanna my wife. Without whom I’d of barely done half of what I did. She also puts up with my chemo moods excellently too. What an angel. 

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