Saturday, April 02, 2016

I heart cycling 2016 challenge

I am a wuss, I was refining ideas in my head about this challenge over Christmas but wanted to be well under way before going public! The only failure I hate is myself failing.

Blog posts/progress will be linked here once written!

UPDATE 1/1/2017 I Heart Cycling 2016 Challenge successfully completed!

The Plan......

Virgin Money Giving I heart Cycling Donation page

I have set myself the challenge of completing a cycling challenge every month in 2016. The highlight will be Prudential Ride London 100 on 31st July for which I obtained a ballot place. All money raised is going to Heart Research UK towards an Aortic Dissection Masterclass to train cardiac surgeons in the specific skills required to save lives, each one costs £25k to train 20 surgeons over two days. I'm meeting all the costs of events, donated money will not be paying for expensive "charity places" at events I am taking part in.

As most of our friends and family know my husband Steve had a totally out of the blue Type A Aortic Dissection on 5th Jan 2015. From first mild symptoms to theatre for successful life saving surgery, by a crack cardiac squad at Bristol Heart Institute, was 7 hours. We didn't know what an aortic dissection was then either. We now know most sufferers are not so lucky as it is a hard to diagnose and rare condition that is nearly always fatal if left undiagnosed. Even if diagnosed few cardiac surgeons have the skill or experience to do the complicated aortic arch graft technique that Steve had. He was 49 years old, fit and healthy with no health concerns at all.

It doesn't stop there. Steve is riding with me on some of the challenges and Audax when the weather warms up although he is let off the longer and steeper ones as he prefers golf really!


Sat 23rd January 100km Jack and Grace Cotton Memorial Audax 104km to blow away the winter cobwebs from North Bristol and the Severn Vale REPORT HERE

COMPLETED 109km Ascent 906m Fiona


Sun 14th February 100km Flapjack Audax Circular route looping north from Chippenham in Wilts through the Cotswolds, eating more cake than calories burned! REPORT HERE

COMPLETED 102km Ascent 631m Fiona


Sat 12th March 150km Gospel Pass Audax Starting and finishing in Chepstow including an ascent of the iconic Gospel Pass from Hay on Wye, the steep side, highest road pass in Wales. REPORT HERE!

COMPLETED 161km Ascent 1978m Fiona


Sun 3rd April 115km 1000m Barry's Bristol Bash Audax A circular tour of Bristol eating cake! REPORT HERE

COMPLETED Fiona and Steve 117km Ascent 1100m


Sun 15th May 50 mile/80km Britsh Heart Foundation Cotswold Ride A circular ride round North Cotswolds starting Cheltenham Race Course.

COMPLETED 80km Ascent 850m Fiona and Steve


Fortnight Late June/Early July Tour d'Ecosse 1000km 10000m Scottish Circular Tour of Inner and Outer Hebrides and Highlands from Ardrossan. Not camping!

Blog write up starts here

COMPLETED 1200km Ascent 15000m Fiona and Steve


Sun 31st July Prudential Ride London 100 miles/ 160km The iconic London and Surrey Hills closed road event. The legacy from London 2012 Olympics

COMPLETED 159km Ascent 1200m Fiona


Tues 30th August Jolly Red Gran Fondo to Isle Brewers  160km 1350m ascent August ran away for me and I didn't do my planned ride until almost the end of the month. If I didn't succeed my year of Gran Fondos would end here. I planned myself a solo adventure to test my navigational skills and solo adventuring ability to a friend's tapestry design business in the absolute middle of the Somerset Levels, a lot of riding in previously uncharted territory. It was very hot, I got very lost several times but I did it. I did run out of time despite the light evenings on the way back and for the first time ever called out the cavelry for a lift home as I would have needed lights and had none with me. Loved it and learnt a lot.

COMPLETED 139km Ascent 1250m Fiona


Tues 27th September Chewing Cheddar  120km 1200m ascent

Another last minute ride, only 115km required this time but I was on holiday for half the month so another solo adventure, repeating a figure of 8 ride I did earlier in the year, with no café stop. The rain started before the ascent of Cheddar Gorge. My navigational and solo riding abilities are improving and I am loving it.

COMPLETED 120km Ascent 1220m Fiona


Sat 1st October Tasty Cheddar Audax  100km 1200m ascent

COMPLETED 120km Ascent 1350m Fiona and Steve


Sunday 6th November BRCC Jelly Legs Fondo  100km 1000m ascent

COMPLETED 104km Ascent 1188m Fiona


Sunday 11th December BRCC Rocky Mountain Fondo  100km 1000m ascent

COMPLETED 107km Ascent 1216m Fiona

I also intend posting a picture of Motivation Corner near Nailsea on a bike ride each month, and exceeding the 6000 km I rode in total last year.

1st Jan 2017

So in 2016 I/we completed a significant cycling event/distance every month. Fiona collected a full set of Strava Gran Fondos and we completed our epic Tour d'Ecosse in July and several audaxes. Tour d'Ecosse was the highlight, a huge sense of achievement as that holiday was being planned when Steve had his aortic dissection. We never thought we would be able to do it together.

Total mileage for the year for Fiona

2016 Totals

6 583km
369 hours on my bike
56 000 m ascent (6x Everest)

Next year more of the same!

My Doris taking a break before descending Cheddar Gorge Feb 2016
Aortic dissection is a rare and serious condition where the main artery from the heart ruptures.  It is life-threatening if left untreated and, in some cases, patients may need emergency aortic arch surgery to repair the aorta.

In 2014 and 2015, Heart Research UK held masterclasses in aortic surgery so that surgeons from across the UK could gain hands-on experience of total aortic arch replacement.  Following the success of these masterclasses, HRUK hopes to hold another course later this year.

Heart Research UK is funding an Aortic Surgery Fellowship at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital - one of the UK’s leading centres in aortic surgery.  This is a unique opportunity for a talented surgeon to gain experience in different aortic operations, developing the skills and expertise needed to carry out these lifesaving operations.

Heart Research UK recently funded a research project at King’s College London and St Thomas’ Hospital which developed new methods of screening patients with aortic dissection that may help doctors decide who needs close follow-up or surgery.

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