In December 2011 I had a viral illness. In January 2012 I developed Post Viral Fatigue, which eventually became Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephamylitis (CFS/ME). It has taken me 3 years to recover from this horrible illness. Very little is understood about the condition and research is desperately needed to enable proper diagnosis and treatment.
My whole life was affected by my illness. I lost my job, I could not care for my family, or myself and I could only socialise for very short periods of time. I could not walk or stand for long - I couldn't stand long enough to have a shower for 18 months.
I relied on a wheelchair, mobility scooter and electric bike to get around. When I was lying in bed I vowed that if I recovered I would cycle the coast to coast (C2C) route. I have been a Sustrans supporter since the 1990s and have always wanted to cycle this route.
One of my major symptoms was Post Exertional Malaise. This meant if I overdid my activity on one day I would be weaker the next day and able to do even less. A multi-day challenge like this will be a real test of my recovery.
On our summer holiday last year I managed to cycle 16 miles in a day, and this got me thinking that the C2C route was a possibility. That 16 mile bike ride is still the furthest I've done since my illness. I will begin training soon so that hopefully the 20-30 miles per day over hilly terrain will be manageable.
I will be cycling with my family, the youngest of whom will be 9 years old, so I won't be the only one thinking that 25-30 miles a day is a long way.
Our route will be as follows:
Day 1: Whitehaven to Keswick
Day 2: rest day in Keswick
Day 3: Keswick to Penrith
Day 4: Penrith to Alston
Day 5 Alston to Consett
Day 6 Consett to Sunderland
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