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315 %
raised of £1,000 target
by 27 supporters
Bob Thomson avatar
Bob Thomson

Bob Thomson's Etape Loch Ness + Etape Caledonia page

part of a small team of bikers raising funds for The Ben Walton Trust because young people need early diagnosis of oral cancer

315 %
raised of £1,000 target
by 27 supporters
  • Event: Etape Loch Ness and Etape Caledonia, 04 May 2014 to 11 May 2014

The Ben Walton Trust

Aims to raise awareness of oral cancer, fund research and encourage appropriate patient care

Charity Registration No. SC024990


 Thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

The Ben Walton Trust promotes early diagnosis and serves to generate funds into research and education associated with oral cancer in young people particularly. It is also intended to increase awareness of signs and symptoms of the disease.


I can think of no more appropriate reason to take on this challenge, which I hope to complete in approx 9 hours over the two Sundays.

The two Etape events in May add up to nearly 150miles of arduous biking. 


The group riding for this charity is made up of clinical colleagues together with some of those whose families have been affected by oral cancer.

I am a dental surgeon, and with colleagues, recently attended an inspiring evening on diagnosing and treating oral cancer, which now claims more lives than road accidents. Gone are the days when this disease was reserved for the older person with a history of heavy smoking and drinking. This year alone I’ve seen 3 younger people with the disease, thankfully at early stages.


For pleasure I enjoy zipping along the country roads on a road bike, experiencing the sights, smells and weather conditions (and sometimes farmyard deposits up my back!).

Thank you for reading my story and if you feel you can, please help me support The Ben Walton Trust.


Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure.

Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


Dateline 10th Feb 2014.

Been doing regular RPM (spin ) classes, started swimming again and going out on mountain bike (wet weather) and road bike (good conditions). Gym work will be ramped up now and am trying to eat sensibly to lose these extra pounds that I don't need. This year I have been going out in the dark with my helmet lights and surprisingly enjoying this. Lovely to see the sun rising on the coast or over the hills. 

Dateline 15th March.

Well, that's approx 8 weeks to go and the conditioning is ramping up now. Had a group ride on today. just rode for mmmm m 32 miles but included a few hills and fairly windy. I wasn't in great form but rode with dental pal Andrew for the first time. Bike pal Arthur joined us and we had tea and a bun en route as you do. 

I've been re-introduced to swimming for general background fitness and I do that most mornings and manage to keep going for 30 mins. Spin classes twice a week and started to eat sensibly re portions. 

Not enough light yet for a decent run after work, but that will soon change.

Dateline 16th March.

Solo ride 25 miles. Ouch! 25 mph wind, but seemed to be swirling, so no help there. Good for legs though. 


23rd March.

Have swum 3 times this week and only one spin class. Today I popped out for 41 miles taing in Edzel, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk then Hill of Garvock (in my estimation on of the big drags in this area).. over to St Cyrus, Hillside, Montrose, Farnell and home. The last stretch was against the SW approx 15-20mph gusting wind. Yes, I went the wrong way for the wind, but I needed a crack at the hard side of Garvock.. Hey ho! Onwards and upwards.

20 April. 

Hello again. We've now got our instructions for the Loch Ness registration and I'm booked into a B and B for Friday 2nd and Sat3rd/Sat with the race on the Sunday 4th May. Eek only just over a week to go. 

Have had several rides with my Loch Ness and Caledonia buddies and am beginning to stretch my legs a bit now. Being a musician I am called to do week long musicals and they have just come at the wrong time for biking. 

However, shows are behind me now.  Swimming every morning is keeping a basic background of fitness, augmented by the new RPM modules of spin. Longest run so far was 51 miles a couple of days ago and coped well with that (my elite class bike buddy was very kind to me though!) Got a new pair of "go faster" shoes and am upping my spin classes, however too many spin classes will develop the wrong muscles, so just using the classes to keep legs turning with a bit of pressure. I got notification that I have been placed in start wave C. This has to be an error, but I'm stuck with it! I hope I don't get too depressed by so many riders shooting past me early on, until I find my natural place! Gulp!

I'm still hoping to be as near to 4 hrs as I can, but reality will give me nearer 4.5 hrs and if we get inclement conditions… well who knows!


Loch Ness run getting near now. Spin class was on Wed morning and swimming other mornings. Chamois cream for derriere and loads of bike gear and into car for all weather options Bike is in good nick…foot pump and toolkit going with me. Taking a couple of saddles to finally choose on a trial run round Inverness tomorrow after registering at the Hub. Tomorrow evening, meeting up with other local bikers for a noggin and "last (pasta) supper."

Sponsorship has racked up to over 200% of target… many thanks to all who have made donations both on line and in the practice.


Got to Inverness late last night and had a 500m swim in leisure centre land pool before porridge breakfast. no need for food all day now until meeting up with rest of crew for a £5 "pasta last suppa" with other bikers, at the hub of things (Eden Court Theatre).

Weather looking like breaking down a bit but the wind appears to be turning into a south westerly, so that should blow us up the home straight!

I'm just off to do a wee reccie round the course with the car to suss any hills and employ nutrient strategy. then a wee 10-15 miler later with pals to loosen the legs off.

11.30pm bike in good shape…numbers  and micro chip in place, legs maybe . weather not good pouring here now and likely tomorrow so got my black bin liner ready for the start linelights out and fingers crossed.


Well… That was a killer… weather quite benign and and accurately predicted….. just a very bad day at the office. The surprise hill turned out to be a Cat 2 ascent… more people in my group walking up than riding…. The picture above is not typical BTW.

One down and one more to go on Sunday coming!…. longer but hopefully not as arduous, hoping for a better time this next week.

My bike buddy Arthur forced me back on the horse for a wee 13ml spin. Bless him. Thoughts of selling bikes and ancillary gear delayed until after this next weekend!  Will now take winter tyres off bike and put new slicks on.

11th May 2014.

A great day in pretty benign conditions for the last of my road bike challenges. I have to report that this has been accomplished and together with my Ben Walton Trust co-riders, Andrew and Pamela, we have and will continue to amass a fair donation for our designated trust.

Notionally at this stage it may reach £4000 !

Personally, after all is said and done, I felt much stronger on the longer (81 mile) ride today, so much more than during last week's one. I got up all the hills without a foot touching the ground and although not terribly satisfied with my overall time, I was pleased that it passed without any incident, puncture or other malady. There was a fair old crash (which I think ended in hospitalisation). That is always alarming but I suppose inevitable when one realises 5250 riders are involved. It's thought provoking for a minute or two, until the adrenaline of the event kicks in again.

So our challenge has been completed and I have posted the final pictures, through which you can scan.

Thank you to all who have kindly donated through this JustGiving page.

For those who were waiting for me to complete this ask, there is plenty time to donate as the page will be open until August.




  • Ben Walton Trust Trio
  • bike resting after 150miles
  • all shapes and sizes! +8