30 Days to Go

My charity challenge seems to be rapidly approaching! Having been caught up in the awesome bike festival that is Tweedlove for the past two weeks, and then the builders arriving to do some work on the house, I had rather lost track of time. The proximity of the event now is exciting, as is the fact I am (as of writing this) £30 short of raising £1000 and two thirds of the way to my target. And the reason I want to raise as much as I can for my charities became a stark reality last weekend as I was involved in an incident where the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team (TVMRT) and the responsiveness of an air ambulance literally saved a mans life.

Any time riding my bike is fruitful training as it is keeping my body attuned to the activity of peddling. Over the Tweedlove period I have clocked another 195km or so, with the physical exertion of the International enduro adding additional strain to the body which, in turn, helps build the strength and base fitness further. Allied with a recovery plan, I have not felt weak getting on a bike recently which is good. How that will last for 322km over three days I’ll see in a months time!

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Always time to a bit of fun! Last day of term for the Dirt School coached Borders College students. Photo: Oscar James

This last month is now all about focussed preparation. A few long rides now, interspersed with a bit of strength and interval training, will hopefully see my body in as good a state as possible before full rest the week prior. The bike will need some TLC to ensure I have minimal concerns about mechanical issues but I am happy with the set up, saddle etc; keep an eye on my next blog which will be a full bike check where I will explain why I have chosen / changed various parts for this three day epic. With up to 10 hours in the saddle a day, finding the right clothing has been important. Chamois cream is the cyclists best invention, combined with a well fitting padded bib short. For this I have turned to the world of road biking where the bibs are designed for long days; old, crusty, worn pads are not what one wants embarking on something like this! With the British weather unpredictable, I am a firm believer in the ‘you get what you pay for’ when it comes to performance clothing and I am very grateful to Gareth at Odlo UK and Gregor at Sweet Protection UK for making sure I will be as comfortable as possible for this journey through three, often bleak and inhospitable, national parks.

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On patrol at the Tweedlove Glentress 7. Photo: Ian Linton Photography.

Much of my riding (free training) the past week has been for the voluntary Tweed Valley Bike Patrol providing Tweedlove roving marshal, mechanical and first aid cover. After a joint training evening between the Bike Patrol and TVMRT a few weeks ago, we were prepared for most eventualities. During the Glentress 7 endurance event however a competitor suffered a cardiac arrest; this we were not expecting. Due to the flexibility a bike allows, and an intricate knowledge of the forest, I arrived within two minutes to divert the hundreds of other riders allowing the event to continue and the MRT were on scene within four minutes. Life saving CPR had been done by two competitors but use of a defibrillator was still required; it was the first time it had been used ‘in anger’ by the TVMRT after acquiring one for each Land Rover ambulance in 2012. The casualty was then flown to hospital in an air ambulance ensuring he received the medical care he needed fast. He is recovering well.

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The TVMRT save lives, fact. Please donate to help me help them. Photo: TVMRT

This is why my chosen charities are the TVMRT and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, without donations they would not run and be able to provide this sort of life saving care.

Donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CharityCrossing

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