You know, it is a funny thing this middle-aged-crisis-pull-on-the-lycra thing. At one level it is a bit sad and crazy – I mean my kids (aged 13-18) will barely acknowledge me when I am clad in black spandex gear and my wife thinks I am utterly deranged! On the other hand I can’t help but love it. I am looking forward to my ‘holiday’ next week more than is probably sensible. Riding for 5 days across Italy including the Strada Bianchi… I am not fit enough, I am not light enough… but I am still looking forward to it! So, as Chief Exec of Wiggle I thought I would use a bit of airtime on the Wiggle Blog now, and hopefully when I am out there, to share my thoughts and raise a bit of awareness for the charities I am supporting.
So what is it all about? Well… Between April 23rd and May 18th 2012, England rugby international and World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio and England cricketing legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff will undertake the ride of their lives and I’m joining them for the third of the 5 Stages! This stage is one of the toughest and goes from Pisa to Lake Garda across Italy – over 6500m of climbing and nearly 600km of riding. I love my cycling and Italy but it is going to be a huge challenge! Check out the route.
Spanning across 22 days, the Dallaglio Flintoff Cycle Slam 2012 supported by Virgin Media kicked off on St George’s Day (23rd April) from the ancient birthplace of the Olympic Games, Olympia in Greece. The journey will take them through Italy, across the Swiss Alps and through France before reaching London on 18th May. Each Stage Rider has committed to raise in excess of £3,000 to support Lawrence and Freddie in reaching their fundraising goal of £2.012m. It’s a great cause and even though one of our competitors is the cycling sponsor I am happy to support it.
I am undertaking this challenge in order to support 3 fantastic charities; the Dallaglio Foundation, the AF Foundation & Virgin Unite. Any money you donate will help develop three amazing projects.
Firstly, the Dallaglio Foundation is supporting Cancer Research UK’s cutting edge project on prostate cancer genetics that will help to build a new era of personalised medicine.
Secondly, the AF Foundation, set up by Andrew and Rachael Flintoff, is a children’s charity raising funds to build, develop and improve Child Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Units throughout the UK.
Thirdly, Virgin Unite. A contribution of all donations will be made to the not-for-profit foundation Virgin Unite to support their programmes that help young people in the UK to increase their employability and entrepreneurialism.
The purpose of this blog activity is not so much to raise money – but please feel free to do so if you would like to. I am making a healthy contribution myself and no doubt there will be some wagering en route! If you do want to help the causes then you can sponsor me online. Don’t forget to tick the box to reclaim Gift Aid on your donation if you’re a UK tax payer (before the Chancellor bans that as well).
Finally, I can be tracked ‘real time’ while riding, although I find it hard to believe it will be great entertainment. Still if you have nothing else to do…