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I’ve just had a closer look at the route for our Pyrenees adventure. Day two looks interesting – 3 times the height of Snowdon ascents and 4½ times height of Snowdon descents. With 100% chance of rain and the occasional thunderstorm thrown in! Mmmmmm! – who’s idea was this? – Ah yes, in a moment of madness – it was mine!
Seriously though – this is going to be a really SERIOUS challenge for me – some of you will be thinking – “Didn’t he realise that?”. What I hadn’t bargained for was the impact the hormone therapy is having – I often feel quite lethargic which is not like me – and I have put on some weight as a result of the hormones [not the croissants obviously] to carry up the Col du Tourmalet and other little inclines.
And the answer to the “Why” question is this:
I want to give our Bamboozle families and their learning disabled kids happy memorable experiences – I know that you share my vision – parents often tell us that the experiences with Bamboozle are the best days of their children’s lives. It is increasingly difficult to get government funding – we were recently turned down for a Big Lottery bid – and we need to raise money in other ways – like riding through rain and wind across the Pyrenees!!
If you can help please go to this link:
If you want to know first hand what Bamboozle means to families and you have 5 minutes go to:
If you know anyone who might support this cause would you mind forwarding them a link to this blog! Thanks.
And thanks for reading – we fly tomorrow, start pedalling on Wednesday and arrive in Barcelona on Saturday evening – we are going to be keeping people up to date on progress on facebook and twitter.
Find out more about our Bamboozle supporter Garry Smith
Favourite place to cycle: France
Biggest challenge so far: This one! I don’t normally ride in a group, so this will be something very different.
Bike: Normally a steel Ridgeback tourer, but for this challenge a 1980’s aluminium Cannondale borrowed from my Dad, so I can hopefully keep up with the others.
How long have you been training?: All my life!
What motivates you to ride?: I love being out in the countryside and wondering what I will see over the next hill (but also thinking about the next coffee & cake stop of course).
Find out more about Garry’s motivation to take part in the Pyrenees Cycling Challenge by visiting his fundraising page BY CLICKING HERE.
Find out more about our Bamboozle supporter Rob Abell of Will Planning Solutions:
Favourite place to cycle: The Black Mountains in Wales between Abergavenny and Hay on Wye, near Brecon Beacons.
Biggest Challenge so far: Longest ride was 216 miles in a day going to Skegness then into Wolds and back to Leicester. Or the Six Alpine passes, Genova to Milan.
Bike: GT grade gravel bike.
How long have you been training: 6 weeks doing 200 miles regularly rides 100 miles a week.
Motivation for cycling: To prove a commitment to Bamboozle’s valued sponsors and to stick to my word and succeed at the task. This commitment reflects how I operate through the IPW (Institute of Professional Will Writers) and how I operate in life generally; professional, ethical and competent, with a personal touch.
Find out more about Rob’s business Willing Planning Solutions by clicking on his logo below:
*Here’s our press release about our upcoming Pyrenees Cycling Challenge!*
(Left to right) Rob Abell, Harris Hisham, Christopher Davies, Garry Smith and his daughter Josie Duggan and Neil Mayo
A Leicestershire charity’s fundraising cycle ride over the Pyrenees – including an ascent of the classic Tour de France climb Col du Tourmalet – is hitting the road this month after a delay due to its leader being treated for cancer.
Christopher Davies and fellow cyclists Neil Mayo, Garry Smith and Rob Abell had been scheduled to tackle the 282-mile, four-day challenge in May to raise money for Bamboozle, the Leicester-based children’s theatre charity.
Christopher, 70, from Aylestone, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 after which his doctors decided to ‘watch and wait’ to monitor his condition. But earlier this year the cancer progressed and hormone treatment was begun, putting the start of the ride back until September 18th.
Christopher, co-founder of Bamboozle, world-renowned for its work for children with learning disabilities, said: “I wanted to do the Pyrenees ride before starting the next phase of treatment, which is an operation and then radiotherapy at the LRI.
“Generally, I’m still fit and healthy so I’m confident that with the encouragement of my three fellow riders we can all conquer the 1,444-metre climb up the Tourmalet and the rest of the route from Pau to Barcelona.
“The delay and the treatment have both made me more determined to complete the challenge and raise lots of money for Bamboozle.”
Fellow rider Neil Mayo, 52, from Farnsfield, is taking part to continue his ongoing support for Bamboozle after the charity helped his daughter Amy and the whole family. Amy was starved of oxygen during her birth in 2003, suffering brain damage, surviving against the odds but with extremely severe Cerebral Palsy.
Neil said: “Bamboozle helps to change attitudes about extreme disability and thereby helps to transform lives. Into our dark world came floods of colourful images, sounds, music, touch, smell, taste and laughter.
“Bamboozle helped equip us mentally and physically to connect to Amy. This helped Amy connect to us and the world around her. Amy, now a teenager, leads a rich, varied and fulfilling life.”
Garry Smith, 50, from Cropwell Butler, is also a parent of a disabled daughter who is helped by Bamboozle. Garry said: “Our daughter Josie suffered an extensive brain injury at birth which left her with multiple and severe disabilities.
“We quickly realised there are very few opportunities for fun and play for profoundly disabled children. It can be very isolating for the children and their families.
“However, when Josie was five a friend suggested that we go to a Bamboozle multi-sensory production, and it has been one of the highlights of our year ever since. Our times at Bamboozle, where we are all able to enjoy and interact with their productions are some of the happiest memories we have with Josie.”
Rob Abell, 56, from Countesthorpe, said: “I came across Bamboozle through a business networking group. What it achieves touched a nerve for me as I have a disabled brother whose condition has made life very hard for him and for our dad.”
Rob’s business is Will Planning Solutions and he is a council member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW). His fellow willwriters are supporting his fundraising for Bamboozle by making it their charity of the year and he has already exceeded a total of £6,000.
The cycle ride is part of a series of challenges devised by Christopher to mark his 70th birthday. The 70seventy challenge, so called because his aim is to raise £70,000 in his 70th year, has Niche magazine as its media sponsor. The second leg, The National Three Peaks in May 2019, is sponsored by Vanilla Recruitment while Leicester Racecourse is supporting and hosting a Marathon in June 2019.
For details of how to get involved in 70seventy or to donate: bamboozletheatre.co.uk/make-a-difference/70seventy/
Many thanks to Andy Gilgrist of House PR for putting this press release together for us!
Find out more about Neil Mayo, one of our parent supporters who is braving the Pyrenees Challenge:
Favourite place to cycle: Corfu where my sister lives as its hot and I can swim afterwards and drink cold beer.
Biggest Challenge so far: Trying to prepare for the 70seventy Pyrenees Cycling Challenge whilst involved in a building project to adapt a house for my disabled daughter.
Biggest cycling achievement: Dragon Ride Brecon Beacons in Wales years ago….160 miles and 10,500 feet in one very long and hot day. (Yes – hot in Wales!). As it turns out, these were my glory days!
What bike do you ride: Giant Defy Pro Carbon…far too good a bike for such a rubbish rider like me but my Granny left me some money when she passed and it reminds me of her and Granddad when I go out on it.
How long have you been training for this event: Started on 03/09/18. Not joking!
Your favourite motivational Quote: “The finish line and the pub are just around the corner…”
How do you stay motivated to keep pedaling: I am old and ugly and I want to pretend that I can become younger looking and handsome. Also, I look great in lycra and I don’t want to deny my adoring fanbase that magnificent sight.
Support Neil’s efforts by visiting our fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/70seventy
48 Heures Du Le Men!
Gary Toward, a Bamboozle Trustee, along with two additionally mad friends, Mark (Haff) Haughan and Neil (Nelly) Povey, are about to take on the challenge of presenting a radio show, non-stop, for 48 hours.
Utilising full dad joke credentials, they have named the show inspired by the Le Mans 24 hour race – 48 Heures Du Le Men!
The show leaves the starting grid on 15th August 2018, at 8.48am.
There’s great line up of guests and events across the 48 hours: from beer and curry tastings to live bands. They’re hooking up with bigger radio stations, too, including BBC Radio Leicester, and will have listeners tuning in from all over the planet!
They are aiming to raise vital funds for both Bamboozle and Radio Gwendolen.
Gary has seen Bamboozle’s inspirational multi-sensory theatre designed for children and young people who have learning disabilities in action: “I have never seen anything like this before. The Bamboozle approach lights up the lives of young people and their families. Small differences are huge gains in this context”.
Radio Gwendolen is Leicester General’s hospital radio that makes a hospital stay more comfortable and is run by a dedicated bunch of volunteers. It broadcasts constantly and Haff runs a regular show. “I’ve met a few patients who told me that we (the radio) were their only ‘visitors’. Wow! What a diffidence that makes.”
Both can only continue to do their amazing work – making a real difference – through fundraising.
You can find out more about both charities and the 48 Hour Radio Marathon here:
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The obvious way is to sponsor the three intrepid hosts, and you can do that at the just giving page above or by contacting the team directly.
If you have a business, 48 Heures can tag you in and can put your logos on our social media posts: (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), they can talk about you or to you live on air and you could even join them on the show or record an interview. You can choose some music for the guys to play on your behalf!
Who do you know who might like to give the team a boost – home or abroad? Please help us to raise awareness of this awesome challenge by sharing and ‘liking’ us on social media – you can find all the links below.
The team would love to play something for you on the show, too! So do listen in and maybe text, phone or contact then on social media:
Twitter; @48hourmarathon #48hourmarathon @gltoward
Facebook; 48 Hour Radio Marathon Leicester @48hourradiomarathon
GOOD LUCK 48 Heures Du Le Men!
70 Seventy Challenge Blog # 03
10 July – Leicester
Prostate Cancer makes me stop and think
It’s been just over a year since my last blog post. Hope you haven’t been holding your breath for this one. Things have been happening – but not the things I had planned – which was to have the 70 Seventy Challenge all done and dusted by now. However, I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and decided to take some time out to give my health my undivided attention for a while and to research treatments – and my word it has taken some time – there is a lot of information out there – conventional and alternative treatments, therapies proven and unproven all described in countless books and articles …
Anyway I now know what I am doing on the health front – hormone therapy now followed by radiation treatment in three months’ time, with a little matter of the Pyrenees in between. So the 70seventy challenge is up and running again. Here are the new dates:
Cycle the Pyrenees – Pau to Barcelona over the Col du Tourmalet:
18-23 September 2018
National Three Peaks [Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon]:
25-27 May 2019
Marathon – Leicester Racecourse:
Saturday 22 June 2019
It has been disappointing for me that we have only managed to recruit 3 other riders for the challenge – I had optimistically hoped for 30! But there is still time to join us – and if it is the four of us we will see what we can raise between us taking on the challenge. Which is just 10 weeks away.
So I am back on my bike; and I have invested in an 11/34 sprocket. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what such a thing was let alone what the numbers meant – in case you are of an enquiring mind the 34 is the number of bumps on the sprocket that sit in the links of the chain – and apparently the higher the number the easier it is to go up hills. “I’ll have the big one please” I said. I can tell you that I need all the help technology can provide.
Last weekend I went for a training ride round the Bradgate Park area with Rob Abel and Garry Duggan two others who are doing the Pyrenees. I realise now that I will either be left far behind or I will need to train like mad for the next few weeks.
Next stop Halfords to have a roof rack fitted to take my bike on holiday to Cornwall – training can then continue while away in the South West. Now Cornwall is not the Pyrenees but for those that don’t know it the hills there are not to be sneered at. I know because in 2012 I did my only other long cycle ride, from Land’s End to Leicester, after being persuaded to join five others riding 350 miles to raise funds for Bamboozle families. And the hills in Devon and Cornwall were no joke – they came thick and fast – one after another. At the time, playwright Alan Bennett was Bamboozle’s patron and he had generously sponsored our effort asking to be kept informed how we got on.
The repetitive nature of steep climbs up the hills of Devon and Cornwall reminded me of my favourite quote from Bennett’s brilliantly funny play The History Boys: at a mock interview for the entrance exam for Oxford, Rudge was asked how he would define history. Having been reassured that he could speak frankly he said: “How do I define history? It’s just one f***in’ thing after another.”
Pausing for breath at the top of a singularly steep hill out of the village of St Neot – I texted Alan to report on our progress. “How do I define Cornwall Alan? It’s just one f***in’ hill after another.” Very witty don’t you think?
But back to the present – I have a long way to go to be fit enough to take on the climbs in the Pyrenees and to be able to keep my fellow riders in sight. I will keep you posted how training goes.
And in case you want to donate to the cause of providing more opportunities for the disabled kids we work with here’s the link to my Virgin Money Giving page: Click here
Jade Frost, Marketing Co-ordinator, and Bamboozle Press Volunteer, Tilly Ireson, interview Rob Abell to find out why he’s joining Bamboozle’s Artistic Director Christopher on his 4-day cycle ride in support of the 70seventy fundraising challenge.
Rob Abell of Will Planning Solutions, and member of the IPW, will be joining Christopher on his cycle across the Pyrenees, and Rob knows all about what it takes to succeed in such a daunting challenge.
Having ridden across the Alps in 2015, and 300 miles through the Peak District for good causes, Rob appreciates how demanding these rides are. At the same time, he also knows how life changing the experience can be.
Rob first met Bamboozle through Business Networking South Leicestershire and instantly showed an interest in the charity: “the concept of Bamboozle was something I hadn’t come across before – I thought it was brilliant!”.
Rob was inspired when hearing about Bamboozle’s multi-sensory experiences specially designed for with children who have learning disabilities and their families.
Rob has always been keen to raise awareness around disability; “My older brother is disabled; a lot of people can be very wary of being around someone with a disability, but for me it was very normal growing up. Because of my personal experience, I’ve always been passionate about supporting those who are vulnerable in society, and I am happy to work closely with people who have a disability and their families”.
Bamboozle “make disability visible in a positive way, and their message that all children – no matter what their ability or disability – can achieve more than we think they can – is a very important one”.
“I’ve been supporter of Bamboozle for a number of years now, and when I heard about the opportunity to raise money for the charity by cycling through the Pyrenees, I knew it was something I wanted to do”.
This challenge is a rare chance to cycle the Col Du Tourmalet – an iconic stretch of the Tour de France – as well as taking in the spectacular scenery of the Pyrenees.
With all Rob’s cycling experience, what advice would he give to those thinking of taking part in the challenge? “You need passion, you need drive, and you’ve got to really want to do it, otherwise, what’s the point?!”.
Rob goes on to say, “I started cycling aged 50. When you start out cycling, it doesn’t matter what your fitness level or experience is, as long as you’ve got the aim to do it, anyone can get involved!”
Preparation for such a challenge is crucial and Rob plans on preparing for September’s ride by continuing his involvement in the Leicester Ratae Road Club and building up his endurance for the 4-day cycle.
Motivation is also a significant factor for long distance cycling; “a good support network is key for a successful ride and provides an extra source of energy that fitness and equipment can’t! Conquering a challenge with like-minded people will always be more fun”.
“And although I enjoy keeping fit anyway, I’m really doing these challenges for people like my brother who can’t. If you’re looking for a reason to do something like this, you won’t find a better one than Bamboozle”.
The challenge itself will be an amazing experience, but it’s fundraising for a worthy cause that’s the most rewarding part, and of course, great motivation.
If you want to take on a challenge that really makes a difference, and to give back to an inspirational charity, get in touch to join Christopher and Rob on the adventure of a life-time.
The Pyrenees cycling challenge is taking place from Tuesday 18th — Sunday 23rd September 2018, (including travel time to Pau and return from Barcelona). Click here to sign up and find out more!.
Call: 0116 255 2065