Local Berkshire Postman John Mitchell undertook the mammoth task of training for and completing the London2Brighton challenge in order to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
Before you read his incredible and warming story I want you to think about this. Coronary Heart Disease is the UK’s single Biggest Killer. The time it took you to post a no make up selfie and donate a few quid for Cancer research is the same amount of time it will take you to go to John’s just giving page (linked below) and donate a couple of quid to the British Heart Foundation.
John Mitchell, who has already raised £1,086 shares his story and his journey with Mumsnet Berkshire.
Inspiration from sadness
My Mother had a heart attack when she was about 61. So severe, she was DOA (Dead On Arrival) upon arrival at Kingston Hospital. She recovered to live a further 12 years although Angina was an ongoing discomfort for her until she died on my birthday in 1986. My Father, who I did not really know as he died when I was 7 years old, died at the age of 64, of multiple organ failure of which his heart was a contributory factor. I also found out that my Sister with whom I have had no direct contact for the last 14 years is now on medication for a heart condition. Obviously the above does not bode too well for me.
Hence the reason for me raising money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
From Postman to Athlete
I have always been active mainly football and squash but after a bet that I lost I did my first road race, a Half Marathon when I was 39. I then spent the next ten years doing all distances from 5k to full marathons of which I did four London Marathons. I was by then getting bored with just running and took an interest in triathlon (swim, bike, run) and as I already had a bike seemed the next logical step. As I started to enjoy them and become more competitive I bought a better bike to achieve more goals. Things had to take a back seat in 2005 for about one year when my wife suffered a major stroke from which she has made a very good recovery.
I then resumed my triathlon aims but currently due to a damaged right knee I am unable to run. I have corrective surgery scheduled for the 13th August, three days after my Prudential LondonSurrey100 ride.
Training for the London2Brighton ride, which I completed on the 15th June, was hampered by the awful weather we had in the South in the early part of the year as the roads were in awful condition. They are still not that good! I booked a weeks cycling in Riccione, Rimini, Italy in May. This certainly helped me get a very good base condition. Upon my return I rode the 3 Counties ride on 1st June, which was 51.55 miles. This proved to me that I was fit enough for the London2Brighton 54 miles.
The day of London2Brighton
My start time for the London2Brighton was 07:00hrs but the actual start was 07:20hrs. This meant there were a few thousand riders already ahead of me which meant the first 20 miles were fairly slow and, due to the number of people walking up even the smallest hills, I had to follow suit. After this the roads cleared sufficiently to allow me to ride at 25-30mph until halfway up Ditchling Beacon (just outside Brighton) I again had to walk as the riders in front of suddenly stopped and I had to also. This meant walking up the top part of the hill as it was too steep to restart cycling. The ride to the seafront finish was mainly downhill and therefore fast.
All in all a good day!
On to the next challenge
The Prudential LondonSurrey100 I am riding on the 10th August will be much more difficult to train for but hopefully because of the distance there will be less “leisure cyclists” and therefore I shall be able to maintain a more consistent speed. I am hoping to complete this ride in sub 6 hours. I am currently waiting for my number and start time.
The ride is basically the same route as the one used in the London Olympics road race in 2012. The start is at the London Olympic stadium, now called the Queen Elizabeth stadium with the finish on The Mall. The exception is that Leith Hill has been added in and multiple loops of Box Hill omitted. I am planning to drive out to Surrey and reconnoitre both Leith Hill and Box Hill in the next couple of weeks. Also as the route goes out of London through Richmond Park I will ride around there and due to a car speed limit of 20mph means it will be a safer place to train, apart from the deer running across the roads.
I would like to thank everyone on behalf of the BHF for the wonderful support you have shown me in sponsoring me for my two rides.
To sponsor John Mitchell and to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation, just follow John’s just giving link: