Endurance Cycling in Scotland

Since Christmas I’ve embarked on a somewhat unusual journey for me in that I committed to ride in two endurance cycling “sportives”, despite never really doing any kind of serious cycling before.  The past few months I’ve spent almost every weekend out on the bike and many sessions in the gym during the week attempting to prepare for these events.

This whole thing began with a great group who in true British fashion all declared that they were “rubbish” and “not at all fit”.  After the first outing saw me fall behind by a few miles, the truth came out – all but one had run a marathon within the previous six months, and one was contemplating entering an ironman.  Lets just say that we’re not expecting me to stay with the group.  The goal is to finish – alive, and in one piece.

tour-o-the-borders

The first race is the Tour of the Borders which starts and ends in the town of Peebles, roughly 45 minutes South of Edinburgh.  It’s a 70 mile route that includes 4,800 feet of elevation (billed as “big, alpine style climbs”) and should take roughly 5ish hours to complete.  You can watch a short video on the route here.

 

caledonian etape

The second race is the Caledonian Etape, an 81 mile race in the Scottish Highlands which includes 6,300 feet of elevation and winds around the banks of Loch Rannoch and Loch Tummel in Perthshire.  The goal of this race is to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity which exists to provide hospice nursing care to terminal patients in their own homes, often overnight, completely free of charge.  They also fund research efforts and work in conjunction with the NHS in their mission to ease the last few weeks of a patient’s life.  I’ve been very impressed by their transparency and ethical commitments and will be proud to ride as part of “Team Daffodil”.

One of the things I love about my wife is for several years while we were living in South Florida, she volunteered for the American Cancer Society on their “Road to Recovery” program, driving cancer patients to and from their treatment.  Many patients simply didn’t have access to a car or were unable to drive themselves.  Even if they could drive, they’d often be woozy or nauseous after their treatment.  These kinds of difficulties are often found on the fringes of the battle against cancer and exist beyond the four walls of the hospital environment or medical attention.  The work that those involved with programs like Road to Recovery and the Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice nurses do is really difficult – every few months a passenger’s trips would be canceled and wouldn’t resume.  Good news was rare in that context and pretty much never occurs for hospice nurses, yet they’re still out there ministering to patient’s needs.

Would you consider helping their mission by donating a few dollars or pounds to the cause?  I’ve set up a VirginMoney giving page which ensures that all money goes straight to the charity and is managed in a transparent manner.

Donate Herehttp://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnJPeebles

This last weekend we rode one final preparation ride along the hardest part of the Tour of the Borders, which included 3,700 feet of elevation and four Category Four climbs over 46 miles of stunning Scottish countryside.  It was one of the hardest, most physically demanding things I’ve done, but it’s nothing compared to what patients and their caregivers have to go through on a daily basis.  Thanks for your support!

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