My Grandad is a great inspiration to me, so when he died of Leukaemia in 2002, when I was just 11, I felt a great deal of loss. At the time, I took part in the Blue Peter Bikeathon at Redcar seafront; in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (LLR). In 2014, I decided to get on my bike again to take on the Prudential Surrey 100 for LLR; the course was reduced to 82 miles due to the remnants of Hurricane Bertha, making the conditions unsafe to take on Box Hill and Leith Hill. This led me to take part and complete my first timed 100 mile bike ride at LLR's Birmingham Bikeathon. Since then I have taken on other challenges including the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive, Velothon Wales, RiseAbove Mark Cavendish Sportive and Sportive D'Scarborough; for each event I made a small personal donation to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
So a New Year. A New Challenge. Bigger. Tougher.
With Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research taking on the new identity of Bloodwise and witnessing the recent advances in gene editing to help treat Leukaemia patients, it gave me the idea to do a series of cycling challenges to raise money to help beat blood cancers. I aim to raise awareness of Bloodwise, push myself to the limits and make my Grandad proud. I will be adding more challenges over the year as they arise, but below are some of the main challenges I shall be doing.
Challenge 1: Lands End - John O'Groats - 2 May - 15 May 2016 COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY!
Lands End to John O'Groats will take 14 consecutive days of cycling; on average about 65 miles a day. This adventure is seen as one of the biggest cycling challenges in the British Isles; even possibly the world. It will see me travel alongside the stunning Cornish coast, tackle tough Lake District passes and pedal through the awe-inspiring wilderness of Northern Scotland.
Challenge 2: L'Ardechoise Velo Marathon - 278km - 1 Day - 18 June 2016 COMPLETED 220KM L'ARDECHOISE ROUTE!
The Velo Marathon is regarded as Europe's toughest cycling sportive. During the one-day event riders take on 173 miles, through the beautiful and often gruelling Ardeche region of France. 16 notable mountain passes totalling 5370 metres of climbing makes this an immense challenge!
Challenge 3: Prudential Surrey 100 - 31 July 2016
COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY (76 MILE DIVERTED COURSE)!
The Surrey 100 is a 100 Mile sportive through London and Surrey taking in the infamous climbs of Box Hill and Leith Hill. I really want to revisit the 100 mile challenge in order to complete the initial challenge I set myself in 2014, where the weather stopped me from taking on the Box Hill and Leith Hill section of the course due to safety reasons.
Challenge 4: LeMans Shimano 24hr Endurance Race - 20 August - 21 August 2016 - COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY (90 LAPS - 228 MILES - 19h30m ON THE BIKE!)
Mention LeMans 24hrs and you think of the finest in endurance racing cars cutting through the darkness of this world famous race track.
The LeMans Shimano 24hrs Endurance Race is the cycling equivalent testing the human body to it's limits; as one rides around the Bugatti Circuit as many times as possible in 24hrs.
I will be taking on this event as a solo competitor under the team name of 'Team Bloodwise' to help promote the cause.
Challenge 5: RiseAbove Mark Cavendish Sportive - 160km - 28 August 2016 - COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY IN 9h34m24s!
The RiseAbove Mark Cavendish Sportive takes in the stunning scenery of North Wales and Chester as the riders tackle numerous challenges including Horseshoe Pass and Penbarra (with it's punishing 25% hairpin bend). All this whilst thinking can I keep ahead of Mark Cavendish after being given an hour head start!!!
Challenge 6: Mont Ventoux - 1909m - 21.5km - 7.22% Avg. Gradient - 7th or 8th October 2016
Mont Ventoux 'The Windy Mountain' is written into the legend of cycling and is seen as one of the greatest achievements to conquer on a bike. It sadly took the life of Tommy Simpson; and with the gusting Mistral wind and searingly hot bald top, the Ventoux remains an extreme challenge for any cyclist no matter what the weather!
Challenge 7: Alpe D'Huez - 1803m - 13.1km - 8.19% Avg. Gradient - 9th or 10th October 2016
Ask anyone about the Tour de France and almost certainly Alpe D'Huez will spring to mind. It's famous 21 hairpin bends climbing high into the clouds at a punishing average gradient make it one of every cyclist's childhood dreams to reach it's pinnacle and conquer the climb simply known as 'The Alpe'. I remember watching the likes of Miguel Indurain and the historic clips of Lemond and Hinault battling it out on its slopes, now I will take on the challenge as well!
So as you can see it is already a busy schedule but I will be adding to it over the coming months as well as giving regular updates on fundraising, training and of course the challenges.
I will be blogging the whole journey on the Bloodwise website (bloodwise.org.uk/people/philip-grundon) and tweeting @pgrundon along the way.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my story and challenges ahead. If you can donate; no matter how small an amount, it will help us find a cure to these awful diseases sooner and offer support and guidance to the poor unfortunate people who suffer from blood cancers.
Regarding my fundraising target, I am hoping to raise as much money as possible and £1,000 is the absolute minimum I would like to raise. If the total is reached I will then reset the fundraising goal.
Best wishes and kind regards,
Would you like to donate via SMS (Text) on your mobile?
To donate by SMS is simple. Text BLDW50 followed by either £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070. For example 'BLDW50£1' would donate £1. You'll receive a confirmation text with a link to add a message and more importantly add Gift Aid to your donation.
NOTE: All these challenges are being self-financed and 100% of the donations will be going directly towards beating blood cancers through the work of Bloodwise.
My brother Pete is also raising money through joining me on LEJOG, LeMans 24hr, Rise Above and more. His charity is Make-A-Wish UK Foundation; who grant wishes to ill young people and their families. Whilst his Godson was undergoing treatment for cancer his Godson's family where granted one of these wishes to visit Disneyland Florida. Please visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/petergrundon
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