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Last week was recovery week to allow my damaged body to repair after the previous Sunday’s efforts. A lot of people forget that exercising means taking your body out of its comfort zone and putting it under strain. Inevitably this leads to some cell damage and if you either over-do it or don’t allow for suitable recovery time the damage can be cumulative and can lead to substantial problems.

During recovery the idea is usually to carry on exercising but at a lower intensity. Unfortunately my body had different ideas! Now those of you who have followed my blog from the early days may remember the post “Gremlins strike” from 7 Jan and recall my jibe “worse than man flu” flu. Well that was probably a great insult to flu. Sure enough the world’s smallest and most detested organism has taken its revenge and bitten me in the bum.

The result being that what I thought over the weekend to be a sinus headache, which I thought will soon pass, and that I would be able to resume my cycling this week, ended up into a full-blown flu. Proper flu this time not “man flu”. The headaches, fever, muscle aches, coughing and wheezing combined with a complete loss of appetite – even for my favourite tipple whisky, meant that I did nothing but sleep for the past few days. Good old paracetamol, increased fluids and my inhaler along with some TLC from Val has helped me to break the back of it and today has been the first good day. So the “recovery week” turned out to be a nightmare. Tomorrow the cycling starts again but it will probably take me a good few days to build up to last week’s level.

I have been hugely chuffed with the support I have had from some very good quarters. A keen cyclist and a sports physiologist from Loughborough University and a couple of other local cyclists have been following me and offered encouragement and help. (See previous blog – So far… under the comments section) I hope that I would be able to make use of such talent on our doorstep, even if only to further the science of looking into ageing bodies!

I have also received a very generous donation from a dear friend and her husband who wish to remain anonymous which has boosted my total to over £700. I am very grateful to them and indeed to everyone who have sponsored for their support for a very good local cause. Even though Hope Against Cancer has been going on for 10 years it is largely unknown outside the leafy suburbs of Leicester. They are doing an excellent job and I think we need to raise its awareness in our part of Leicestershire. I hope that my challenge and fund-raising will help raise their profile further.

I am hoping that my challenge inspires people to donate whatever they can spare – even if it is just a pound because every pound raised means another step forward in the fight against cancer. Even more importantly I want people to take on simple messages like the importance of exercise in preventing cancer.

When I first came to Shepshed in 1979 I read in The Echo about a bloke called Viv Rose who had started running and raised a lot of money for charity. This chap inspired me and I got to know him quite well along with several others like Norman Sketchley, Mick Davis, Colin Simpson and many many more. Together these guys set up the Shepshed Running Club (1983) and I became actively involved with this club resulting in many half-marathons and two London marathons, not to mention many social gatherings.

Glad to say that this club is grown from strength to strength and even though I don’t run myself much, I would urge anyone reading this, who is keen to take up running, to join them. They are a great bunch of people.

If I can inspire even one person by my challenge ride it would be an achievement, but if enough people can get together we can even have our own Shepshed Cycling Club. An unofficial version already exists – The Richmond Riders. I shan’t dwell on that too much but if you bump into Pete or Marion Wright formerly of the Richmond Arms on Forest Street they will tell you a story or two!

Please keep your suggestions and ideas coming – your support means so much. Apart from online donations on http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Hopesitalianjob, I have sponsorship forms now at Charnwood Pharmacy on Charnwood Road, Ryatt’s Optometry in The Bull Ring and Rosebery Pharmacy on Rosebery Street Loughborough. I was hoping to take these out to more places but the flu prevented me from doing that. Hopefully next week I shall give more out.