A Match Made In Heaven

Sunday night blogs are as rare as days taken off this year, although that’s not meant to imply that I’ve knocked out three in quick succession. This has been one hell of a busy week, with the result that only some cold, calculated bloody minded planning has kept the LCFN show on the road.

I’m defending a run of consecutive 200 miles weeks that stretches back to Christmas week of last year: I will never forget those wretched days of January, February and March but right now the focus is 100% on the Ride2Cure. I apologise to everyone who has watched the miles racking up these past five years but LCFN is no longer about LCFN: it’s morphed into a training programme for the twenty day ride from Brisbane to Adelaide in August and September.

There’s no guilt on my part in feeling that way: LCFN ceased being a fundraiser a long, long time ago, basically because my belief that people would support the ride at a penny a mile, week on week, was built on sand. But I’m not the kind of guy who gives up easily on a passion so when the money dried up, I just carried on regardless and jumped aboard the awareness horse instead: we have nearly sixty cyclists in around fifteen countries clocking up miles in support of LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma on Strava, so that’s the message getting out there free of charge.

I guess one of the reasons that the money stopped coming in is that I’m shit at marketing: I’m creative, yes, a dreamer, yes, an ideas man, yes, a challenge man, yes, but ask me to sell my idea to a global audience and I fall short. And I have a day job. I’ve always had a day job throughout this journey, and I guess there came a point when I settled back into my comfort zone, where I was prepared to smash myself into the ground, but I wasn’t prepared, either physically (because I was tired) or mentally (because I was tired) to keep trying to sell what I was doing to people who basically weren’t interested. And at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do on your own.

If I’m being honest with myself, I think Solving Kids Cancer missed a trick in not going after a corporate sponsor that would have kept the pennies coming in. LCFN has never been about a bloke running the London Marathon as a one off: today was my 1,166th day of averaging 36 miles a day, a day when I crashed the 42,000 mile barrier. There used to be a time when I celebrated those thousand mile boundaries with cake, but since I left SPX, those days are long gone too. Right now, only one thing matters…

The Ride 2 Cure.

I can’t tell you how appreciative I am that Neuroblastoma Australia asked me, fifteen months ago, whether I would be prepared to go and do a ride for them. All through my life, all I’ve ever wanted, in everything that I do, is to be appreciated. SPX didn’t appreciate me and that was a key driver in the dark days of the advanced SNOMED-CT implementation course that I did last year. I don’t do giving up without a fight. That’s primarily why I carried on past 25,000 miles and turned my attention to awareness when the funding dried up.

If the numbers that I’ve seen thus far are to be believed, then Neuroblastoma Australia have a lot riding on the Ride 2 Cure tour. The objective is to raise $111,000. That number is derived from the 2222km that we’ve chosen to be the total distance from Brisbane to Adelaide. When I tell you than LCFN has raised just over £10K in five years, then $111K in three weeks is way off any scale that I can readily get my head round. It’s £55K in our money. It feels right now like this is what I’ve wanted all along, someone to come along, grab LCFN by the scruff of the neck and turn it into a money spinner for research: and now, pinching myself, it looks like it might be about to happen. Believe me, it won’t be for a lack of trying on so many people’s part.

The website is under development in Sydney.

The kit is under development in the UK.

We are still actively seeking an ambassador to put their name on the Ride 2 Cure.

The bike has been built but we’re having issues with the solid tyres that I want to run with.

I’ve flogged the corporate sponsorship horse, even with the airline we’re flying with, and been given a long blank stare. But it’s your loss people, because when R2C becomes a reality, I’ll be more than happy to name and shame.

And so to the miles, for this has been an extraordinary week…

There was no way I was giving up easily on yet another two hundred mile week. But being away with my work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday meant that I had some serious issues to deal with. Although I pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the back end of April, I really didn’t fancy doing it again in mini mode this weekend, especially as Jane and I were out on the lash at a silver wedding gig in Cumbernauld on Friday night (hence no blog).

I set my stall out mentally for a big on one Monday. I wanted to go down south with the miles already in the bag, and I used social media as a whip to beat myself. I’d loosely set my stall out for a hundred miles but at the back of my mind, I wanted to smash the longest leg of R2C. So I went down the road of just declaring the pitstops on the LCFN Facebook page. That way, I reckoned, no one would know what I had in mind. 22 miles; 39 miles, 57 miles, 79 miles, 97 miles, 108 miles. They were all pitstops. I ended up calling it a day at 121 miles, not because I needed to stop, but because it was almost 7pm and in a little over eleven hours time, I needed to be on a train, and I hadn’t even started packing.

I had good reason to appreciate those miles come the end of the week. Friday was a bit of a breeze, albeit that I was a bit crammed for time in the late afternoon before I headed off to the party. Saturday I was dehydrated and the miles had to be managed around the football. But despite all of that, there was never any real pressure on double hundred numero 22: four days and 223 miles was a fine return on that initial investment.

The plan now is to chase down the 24 weeks that stands as the most double tons in a row. I will be back down to Liverpool in the near future but rest assured that I’ll be doing my utmost to avoid Merseyside gatecrashing the party, even if it does require another seven and a half hour gig to nail it.

There are just 95 days until I set off from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane: and still so much to do before I can say that I’m truly ready. Kit, bike and website are the three key components that need bringing to the boil in the next six weeks, all around a training programme that will stay foot to the floor for around another six weeks.

May is well set to become the fifth thousand mile month in a row and may well become the Forever Five landmark of the Ride 2 Cure, inspired from the off when I pulled my finger out in August of last year: 9,655 miles since the beginning of August; over 11,300 miles in the calendar year to today.

For close on five years, all I’ve wanted was to be appreciated for putting my body on the line in the hope that it would make a difference. And now I think it might finally be about to happen. I don’t want to think about the tears in Adelaide: I just want to focus on what lies ahead when I get on the R2C bike outside the hospital in Brisbane.

My inner drive coupled with Neuroblastoma Australia’s marketing skills: it could turn out to be a match made in heaven.

Author: Von Schiehallion

I'm an old endurance athlete who's pulled a few tricks in his time. I ran my first marathon at 19 round a grass athletics track, ran/hobbled 100 miles in a day at 30, cycled from Manchester to Glasgow in a day at 40, kickstarted the Highland March at 50 and now, at 60, I'm doing LifeCycle. Life's too short to sit still for long. I like doing stuff that just seems impossible...

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