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Some of my followers already know that on my second outing with Alfie I had another tumble, this time resulting in a massive swelling and bruising of the left hip and upper thigh. For those worried I am happy to report that Alfie came out of this unscathed! I am not new to falling off a bike. Most cyclists do at various times. My worse fall was two years ago when I went to The Derbyshire Dales with Paul to watch the Tour of Britain.

We were late getting to a particular vantage point and going at some speed down a steep decline, on a bend and a camber, my bike just went from under me and I hit my head on the road, breaking my helmet in two! When I came to my bike was in the middle of the road and my glasses smashed and a warm trickle coming down my face. It soon dawned on me that it was blood.

My first thought was that the Tour would be coming past soon and that I better clear the debris and myself off the road. No idea how I managed it but as I lay exhausted by the side of the road the lead motorcycle riders were upon me. They helped me to get up to a safer bit of the road and radio’d for medical help. Paul was totally unaware of my mishap and had gone on ahead.

Soon the paramedics were with me and started patching me up. Covered in blood I was quite a sight. No wonder the Tour of Britain elite riders threw a sideways glance at poor me as they whizzed past. After finishing patching me up the paramedics took my details down and nonchalantly asked what my rider number was! When I relayed this to Paul when he finally did catch up with me, he almost choked on his drink. I almost ended up reviving him!

Then, it took me several days to recover from the bruising and the pain. Luckily my fall last Sunday was a minor one in comparison. I even got up and carried on cycling. It was a hilly route – about 43 Km and climbing a total of 717m i.e. over 2,200ft, and the day was cold and very squally, what my mother-in-law would say a dirty day. Whilst I remember I must thank a lovely couple who stopped their car, got out and asked if I was OK or needed any help. Aren’t people just wonderful!

I had numerous messages on social media offering comfort and support for which I am utterly grateful. Generally I heal well and this has been the case this time. I have been back on my Wattbike. I have been using ice packs on the sore bits and today went for a most wonderfully painful sports massage. Halfway through I almost asked Andy, my masseur from Mayo Therapies in Loughborough, to stop, wondering why I am paying this guy to inflict so much pain. At the end, however, I had a lovely glowing feeling and felt so much better. I am going back in two weeks. Andy found that my leg muscles as a general rule are quite tight and he has given me some stretching exercised to improve, which will help to improve my core strength and balance and in return improve my cycling. All for a good cause to get me up the Alps!

I knew when I took on this challenge that it is gong to be an incredibly difficult one given my age and lack of fitness and that I will have to get out of my comfort zone and push myself harder than ever before. Writing this blog has given me a focus and a means of gathering support from friends, family, former patients and others from around the world. I’ll just repeat – aren’t people just wonderful!

The Shepshed Twinning Association, who I mentioned in my last blog last week, are holding a continental food-fest called Café Continental. This will be held on Saturday May 9th in Shepshed council offices on Charnwood Road, starting around 7.30. This will be similar to last year’s very successful event. You will be invited to bring along a dish of your own choice, and to try as many of other people’s dishes as you like. I shall put more information on Facebook and in a future blog. All proceeds from this event will go towards sponsoring my Trans Alpine Geneva to Milan cycle Ride in aid of Hope Against Cancer.

Lets now turn our thoughts towards something even more topical in the UK. With the General Election not far off I have great concerns for the future of the NHS and the state education services, indeed all public services. We must be relentless in asking the potential political candidates as to what their and their party’s attitudes are towards protecting these services, particularly ring fencing the NHS which is already under great strain. Cancer care in the UK is already lagging behind systems of other developed countries. After some improvements in the last decade we are in danger of regressing back to the bad old days. I would urge everyone to register for a vote if they are not already registered and more importantly on the day of the election, Thursday May 7, turn out and vote. To register to vote click on this link https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote Voting matters and each one of us can make a difference. If we don’t protect our public services no body else is going to, and once they are gone they are gone.

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Finally my fundraising is progressing quite well. I have not had a chance to check on the offline sponsorship from various businesses in Shepshed. I am grateful to The Shepshed Eye for taking such a keen interest in my challenge and giving me space in their monthly magazine.

The link to my fund raising page is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Hopesitalianjob. You can also access to it and previous blogs from links on the left.