Essex cyclist to tackle the 3,000 mile Race Across America to help support our anniversary year
On 13 June Essex cyclist and supporter Chris Armishaw will be in Oceanside, California, flexing his muscles at the start line of the 2012 Race Across America (RAAM).
Only four solo riders from the UK have managed to complete this hardcore challenge, which covers 3,000 miles, 170,000 feet of elevation, two mountain ranges and 12 US states. But Chris is determined to become the UK's fifth rider to cycle triumphantly across the finish line in Annapolis MD.
His motivation is clear: to share a story that may be similar to many others and encourage people to take on big challenges to support Action Medical Research.
Looking back over the last few years, he can't believe he's come so far since his first cycling challenge for Action Medical research in 2007 – the popular London to Paris bike ride.
As a "reasonably fit 40 year-old" he prepared well for two months before that event but didn't realise it would be quite as tough as it turned out to be.
He says: "It was by good fortune that coming out of the first water stop I got onto the back wheel of riders who not only got me all the way to Paris but gave me the inspiration to keep on riding further and harder.
"Riding into Paris with 500 other cyclists in support of a great cause was a magic moment and one that almost certainly laid the seed for things to come. I also watched the final stage of the Tour on the Sunday and celebrated reaching Paris with my family."
When Chris returned home from the London to Paris ride he felt spurred on to keep riding and not just put his bike back in the shed.
He joined a local club, continued his support for Action Medical Research and participated in other cycling challenges. He first read about RAAM in 2009 and following hard work and determination qualified to enter RAAM during last year's RIDE24.
"The thing I've noticed more than anything with RAAM is that the bigger the challenge you take on the more support you get," Chris says, "and sometimes this comes from the most unlikely places and people. Life's full of surprises!"
As part of that support, Action Medical Research's UK Cycling Event Manager Mark Trott is to be a direct part of RAAM by taking on the role of Crew Captain.
Chris has set himself a fundraising target of £60,000 to coincide with the charity's 60th anniversary this year. So far he has raised over £20,000.