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With only 45 days to go to the big day when I set off from Geneva to cycle up the Alps covering 360 miles and climbing 17000ft its a good time to reflect on my fund raise. To date I have raised £4735 thus bringing me close to my target of £5000.

When I first signed up for this challenge the minimum I had to raise was £1000. The more I looked at the work that Hope Against Cancer do in the University Hospitals of Leicester the more I realised that they need a lot more – up to £150,000 a year just to fund existing projects.

This combined with the fact that people have been incredibly generous allowed me to raise my target to its current level. There are still some donations to come in and I hope that the eventual total will be much higher.

For this I am utterly grateful to each and everyone of you who has sponsored me and even to those who have visited my blog and given me much needed encouragement at every level. It is difficult to put into words what all this means to me. I am overwhelmed and in addition admire some of the people who have donated who I well know cannot afford to do so.

One lady raided her savings tin where she has been putting loose change she has saved from her weekly shopping hoping to give her family a treat. Little kids from the CC Swimmers in Loughborough have raised tiny sums at their swimming gala to give to this cause. People have been holding raffles. One guy was going to the pub to have a drink and on the way had a change of heart – he not only decided on the spur of the moment to donate to cancer research but also vowed to change his lifestyle. He said he has been inspired by my blog. The list goes on.

Many people that I know have changed their lifestyles and have lost weight. People have taken up regular exercise and some have even got on to their bikes to start cycling again. We have set up the Shepshed Cycling Club which is already proving to be quite popular. Soon we hope to link up with the local running and swimming clubs to promote health, weight loss and exercise.

I know some of the above probably would have happened anyway and I wouldn’t want to take credit for it – but it is a nice feeling when your fellow citizens are thinking along similar lines.

My own personal achievement has been incredible. I have covered hundreds of miles in cycling to train for this ride. I have learnt so much about cycling, the mechanical side of things and health benefits. I have lost nearly 23 pounds and have only 5 more to lose to get to my ideal weight for this challenge. My diet has improved and I have cut my alcohol intake to less than 7 units a week. For this I am feeling so much better – more awake and alert.

When I talk to people about weight loss I always stress that exercise alone doesn’t make you lose weight even though it is an important factor. Exercise gives you the incentive to lose weight. It focuses your mind into altering your lifestyle – think more positively, eat sensibly, look after your body by stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol. Once you start exercising you begin to feel better and then you want to do even more of it.

So far it has been a great journey for me. I must also thank my family, particularly Val who has put up with relentless training. I just hope that come 8 September when I ride into the Duomo di Milano I will have the biggest smile on my face and everyones sacrifice will be worth it.

Since my last blog I have had a superb ride out with some of my Hope’s Italian Job group when we tackled some serious hills in South Leicestershire including one appropriately named Heart Attack Hill. Hopefully there will be another long hilly ride this weekend and then next weekend is the Prudential Ride London 100 – more of that next week.

Before I leave you with some pictures of the type of scenery the group will expect just a reminder that there are different ways of sponsoring:

Here are the various links you can use to sponsor me:

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

http://www.justgiving.com/guru-singh2

text GURU67 with £amount (from £1 to £10) to 70070

Sponsorship forms are at Charnwood Pharmacy, Bloomin’ Marvellous, Dilip’s Multi store, The Black swan, The Crown, Ryatt’s Optometrist, Hall Croft Opticians, Janine Soars hairdresser at “Sheardesire” in Hall Croft, Rosebery Medical Centre, Rosebery Pharmacy, Forest Edge and Outwoods Surgeries, Bridge Street medical Centre and Pedal Power in Loughborough. Don’t forget Livio of Livio’s Italian Restaurant is also collecting a voluntary £1 donation from his diners and promising to match it.

Further information about Hope Against Cancer: http://www.hfcr.org

Finally thanks to Erica from the USA for sponsoring me.

The calm before the storm - Alps in the background

The calm before the storm – Alps in the background

The famous Furka Pass

The famous Furka Pass

Grimselpass

Grimselpass

All the three above pictures courtesy of the advanced group of riders who have just returned after a recce of the route. During the ride I hope to have a daily blog with hopefully lots of pictures.

Some members of the newly formed Shepshed Cycling Club stopping for Tea at Calke Abbey during last Sunday's ride.

Some members of the newly formed Shepshed Cycling Club stopping for Tea at Calke Abbey during last Sunday’s ride.