With just a month to go before the start of the Mighton sponsored, Hope 66 charity cycle ride across America, the whole team undertook their final, three-day training session in the Welsh mountains during the last weekend in July. On hand to give the cyclists advice and encouragement was Mark Colbourne MBE, winner of Great Britain’s first medal of the 2012 Paralympics, a silver in the C1-3 1 km time trial.
Mark also went on to win a gold medal in the C1 3 km individual pursuit after breaking the world record in both the qualification round and the final. He completed his medal haul with a further silver in the 10 mile individual time trial.
The story of how Mark came back from a near fatal paragliding accident to become an elite athlete was an inspiration to the Hope 66 team and Mark also took time out to participate in the Friday training ride and team visit to Hope House Hospice.
For many of the riders, the visit to Hope House was the first time they had met the staff and the families whose children attend the hospice. It served to remind everyone that the purpose of the ride from Chicago to Santa Monica is to raise funds for the care of life-limited and terminally ill children.
The following day the cyclists got a taste of the physical challenge they will experience every day for two weeks in America, with a 78 mile training ride, in 27 degree heat and 75% humidity with over 4000 feet of climbing in the Welsh Mountains. Everyone completed the ride safely and the consensus was that the team is as ready as it can be. Details of the team and how to sponsor them can be found at www.justgiving.com/teams/hope66