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Last week I reported that I knocked 17 minutes off my previous time over the hilly route I regularly practice on. This was quite an achievement with my new bike Alfie along with an expert bike fit by Steven Faulkner of Loughborough University Department of Sports Sciences.

So this week’s ride was always going to be a challenge. Unfortunately I had to take a slightly different route due to heavy traffic at a particular junction, so a direct comparison is difficult, but I felt much stronger going up hills and my overall average speed improved from 16.74kph to 17.74kph. In between I have been doing indoor training on my Wattbike.

This weekend I have a 78 mile ride in Rutland. Some of the riders from Hope’s Italian Job are also doing this ride and I am looking forward to meeting them again. There is a lot of climbing involved and with some rain forecast it could be fun!

On the weight front I have lost another pound – so that is 16 pounds lost since I started my challenge. I have another 12 pounds to lose and it is getting harder as the appetite is improving with all this exercise. My clothes are beginning to feel loose and I wonder if I may have to get some new ones! Alternatively I could always wear my pants halfway down my butt as is the fashion these days, not!

From the work point of view, next week is my final week and then I have a four week break before I go back to Rosebery Medical Practice to work one day a week – Thursdays. On my return I will stop doing GMS (General Medical Services) work and will only concentrate on my specialist area of Joint and soft tissue injections, sports injuries, minor operations and vasectomies. Whereas I am quite looking forward to having a lot of time off to pursue my interests particularly cycling, I do finish with a heavy heart in that I will not see patients on a regular basis. Having worked in General Practice for over 36 years I have treated many generations of families in this small and tight knit community. It has always been a pleasure looking after what I have always considered my people and my community. I may not be seeing to people’s medical needs anymore but I look forward to continue to inspire them to strive for a healthier lifestyle.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank my lovely wife Val and our son Matt and daughter Hannah and her husband Richard for being so supportive throughout my career.

Val and me at our nephew James and Jenny's wedding.

Talking of promoting health I have a certain amount of interest from various people who want to come out cycling. Inspite of my very strict training schedule I would like to get this going soon and would like someone to take the lead in organising it. A nucleus seems to be emerging and hopefully more news next week.

On Saturday 9 May the Shepshed Twinning Association is holding a “Cafe Continental”. This will be held in Shepshed town council offices, starting around 7.30 and is 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. There will be a charge of £3 to cover overheads. A raffle will be held to raise funds for my cycling challenge. Pre-registration is required and those interested please get in touch with me via email gsingh1015@yahoo.co.uk Those who can’t come but wish to make a donation can do so by visiting my giving page on:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Hopesitalianjob

Just a reminder, especially to my new followers from Canada, that I will be cycling across the Alps – 360 miles over 4 days and climbing a total of 17000 ft from Geneva to Milan to raise funds for vital cancer research at University Hospitals of Leicester. I understand that this site can take donations in foreign currency – so if you can afford whatever you can, even as little as $1 it will be very gratefully received. See my earlier blogs as to why I am doing this challenge and why this research is so important.

Thanks to all the people who are donating off line through sponsorship forms placed in local businesses. I won’t be able to thank people individually until I get all the sheets, but I am humbled by the support and this is motivating and spurring me on.