Touching Lives - November 2005
Tour de Action Medical
Like the professionals, team Action Medical Research must conquer tough climbs, make daring descents and speed through sleepy French villages — although unscheduled café stops and celebratory beers are more ‘Tour de Action Medical Research’ than Tour de France!
In Le Tour de France, the coveted yellow jersey is awarded to the winner for having the lowest cumulative time for the overall distance travelled. Winning the yellow jersey takes dedication and perseverance in the months leading up to and during Le Tour. In the ‘Tour de Action Medical Research’ it is this dedication and perseverance that is rewarded, rather than cycling speed. This year, Dave Watson from Leicester watched Lance Armstrong take a seventh Tour de France yellow jersey in Paris, having won his Action Medical Research yellow jersey just the day before.
At 59-years-old, during a check up with his doctor, Dave was told that his 18-and-a-half stone weight and high blood pressure would lead to a life dependent on medication. Dave hated gyms and wasn’t interested in running or swimming, so he decided to start cycling to lose weight and get fit. ^Signing up for the London to Paris Bike Ride gave Dave something to focus on, a reason to keep those pedals turning.^
After gradually building up his fitness, Dave was able to cycle 20 miles every morning and 100 miles each weekend for the three months leading up to the ride — a phenomenal achievement in itself. At the end of the three months, Dave had lost four-and-a-half stone in weight and dramatically reduced his blood pressure to a normal reading.
During the ride, fellow cyclists expressed admiration for Dave’s enthusiasm for cycling and his remarkable story. He completed the 300-mile ride on a hybrid bike, but rode at the same speed as men and women 20 years younger than him, using road bikes designed for speed.
Thanks to his dedication to training, Dave has given himself the chance of a healthy future, and thanks to his dedication to fundraising — having raised nearly £2,000 — Dave is helping Action Medical Research to create a healthier future for everyone.
Dave says, “The best parts of the ride for me were making new friends along the way, and crossing the finish line — it was a real sense of achievement. Action Medical Research is such a fantastic cause. If anyone is thinking about signing up, I would say ‘just DO IT!’”
Find out more about taking part in the London to Paris Bike Ride next year, 19th-23rd July 2006.