A 28-year-old woman, with no interest in cycling, is set to ride to Paris from London in June in honour of her late father who recently passed away after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Peter Aston was 54 when he died last year and his daughter, Beth, is set to ride approximately 340 miles this summer to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity which helps families going through similar experiences to hers.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, she said that the idea of the challenge is “pretty daunting” due to her having little prior interest, or experience, in pedalling great distances on two wheels.
“It's definitely a case of 'what the hell have I just set myself in for?' but yeah, I'm pretty excited about it,” she said.
“I tried to get into it [cycling] and I'd sort of cycled to work a few times but it was just never really for me, I never really got into it,” she added. “And then it was only really when Dad died that I thought, well, what's the one thing that I can do to get myself going and motivated again, and maybe do something for him that he would have liked to have done? So that's sort of where it came from and I spotted it online and I thought I’d give it a go.”
Prior to being diagnosed with grade four Glioblastoma, her dad lived in Spain for half a year where he would get in plenty of warm weather riding.
Beth told Cycling Weekly that he was in the process of setting up his own cycling holidays programme before becoming unwell.
She said: “Him and my mum brought this house in the mountains in Almeria and they were going to run sort of like a specialised cycling holiday business so that people would come and he would take them off into the mountains and do sort of like some of the big climbs in Spain. So yeah, he was properly into it all.
“He was very impulsive so as soon as he got stuck into something, he would do it 110% so it's quite impressive really. He used to come back and he'd be like, 'I've just done you know, 60 miles or whatever, uphill' he loved to climb, he loved to do the steep climbs for some reason so yeah, he was really, really into it [cycling].”
Based in Wales, Beth explained that a lot of her training for the big event in the summer has involved some tough rides in the local mountains as she prepares herself for the daunting task of covering some serious distances.
She told CW that she anticipates that it will take approximately four days to complete the challenge she’s set out for herself.
“I think the first day is sort of 85 miles, and then the second day is 100 miles, and then the third day is another 80 plus miles. Then I think it's 75 on the last or something like that,” she explained.
“I think it's the distances that are scaring me the most,” she added. “I'm trying to map out routes that would sort of mirror that sort of 80 mile route that I'm going to have to do on day one and here in Wales it's just impossible without going up and down a mountain which I'm struggling with at the moment.
"I think that once I've got that first day out of the way, I might be able to settle into it a bit once I'm in France because the roads are so much better over there anyway.”
A JustGiving page has been set up for donations to help Beth on her journey.
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