By Steve Mullan
This has been a piece I have been meaning to write up for some time. The thing that urged me to get it done now was not a creative muse or an inspirational light bulb moment, but a significant lack of sensation every time I sit down. Right now I’m sitting writing this with a numb butt and a growing concern that if we were to have more children they may be quite short. The reason for such symptoms is justified and non-crude I promise.
Every year we aim to raise money for a charity and this year the drive will be no greater. Last year an NCT buddy of Freddy’s, Reuben (who is also 3 years old), was diagnosed with a stage four cancer in the form of Neuroblastoma. The little chap is fighting hard, bless him, but he needs help. Reuben is currently receiving aggressive chemotherapy after successfully removing the primary tumor following a 6-hour major operation. This will help to get the wee man into remission, but once he’s there the chances of the cancer returning are 50-60%. To reduce the chances of relapse we need to get Reuben to the USA where he can get a treatment that will stop the cancer returning. A massive £250,000 is all we have to raise for this. Easy.
For a couple years now I’ve been cycling early on a Sunday morning with a bunch of friends. We call ourselves ‘The Daddy Peloton’. My cycling fitness has improved but my ninja attributes have been no greater as I creep down the stairs at 5.30am. We tend to head out for a gentle spin around Marlow and Henley and spend a good amount of the time that we’re out in a Café eating Cinnamon Swirls and drinking coffee.
We’ve embraced the fact that we have reached a modern age mid-life crisis. We haven’t splashed out on an Audi TT convertible, bought any inappropriately sized leather jackets or got any unsuitable tattoos. Instead we’ve bought ourselves expensive bikes, bib-shorts (the lycra love child of an Italian man’s swim shorts and a mankini) and shoes that make you walk like you’ve had an accident. We are now categorized as MAMILs, Middle Aged Men In Lycra. And we’re proud.
The horrendous news about our NCT friend’s beautiful boy hit us hard collectively and we knew we would have to push the boundaries to help reach this huge target. It turned out there were more MAMILs out there, even in our NCT group. So after a few beers and a pizza we came up with a plan, that seemed very good at the time, to raise money. Two events were planned from then:
The John Radcliffe Hospital to Lands End – 296miles 11,000ft climbs
With the John Radcliffe to John O’Groats ride already taken (thank the Lord) it made sense to complete the circuit from the hospital where Reuben is being treated to the peak of England.
The ride starts 23rd June 2017 and will take 3 days to complete with a stopover in Glastonbury, conveniently during the festival, and Oakhampton, North Dartmoor. where quite frankly, nothing interesting really happens.
Considering many of us haven’t cycled further than 100miles, this 100mile a day for 3 days is going to be a serious challenge. Especially in the lumpy south west. Many cinnamon swirls will be required. Here’s our route:
Day 1 – John Radcliffe Hospital to Glastonbury
Day 2 – Glastonbury to Okehampton
Day 3 – Okehampton to Lands End
Ride London 100
If cycling 300 miles in a weekend wasn’t enough we figured a group of four of us should do 100 miles flat out across the closed roads of London in one of the most popular sportives. Prudential Ride London is like the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon. This will be a different challenge to the Lands End ride. Firstly, we have to make sure that we’ll be able to stand being around each other after 3 days of being in each others’ pockets, suffering carb lows and caffeine withdrawals and in desperate need of a cuddle from someone less hairy.
Secondly, we’ll have fewer stops. I’m sure it would be frowned upon if we suddenly stop off at a nice looking café for a quick morale booster on the London route, which in my imagination will be a regular occurrence on the Lands End ride. Finally, we’ll have to get used to the art of “drafting”. This is where we take turns cycling closely behind each other to minimize wind resistance. Get that right and I reckon we can win it…………
As you can imagine the aim of all of this isn’t ‘just’ to get out of house chores; it is to raise as much money as we can for Reubs’ treatment. So please, dig deep and give what you can. You can sponsor us at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ride4reubs.
You can follow our progress and updates on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/RideforReubs