Justin's training update on his LE-JOG charity cycle ride for Penny Brohn UK
Training is going well for our UK General Manager, Justin Hely, who has taken on a personal challenge to cycle 980 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, affectionately known as LE-JOG. The ride will take place over a mere 9 days from the 10th - 18th September, raising funds for our charity partner, Penny Brohn UK.
Cycling over 100 miles a day for 9 days is no mean feat and requires not only dedication and a positive mindset but also a comprehensive training plan. Having originally been a ‘weekend warrior’ of the pedals, cycling around the Hampshire countryside, with coffee and cake stops, Justin has stepped up a gear to embrace this mammoth challenge.
Justin says ‘I‘ve always been a keen leisure cyclist but being a ‘weekend warrior’ won’t cut it when it comes to this challenge so I’ve had to take the training to another level. I’ve built up my fitness steadily over the last 6-8 months, albeit interrupted when I unfortunately got COVID, and I’m now committed to around 10 hours of cycling a week. I currently train for 2 short sessions during the week and 2 x 3–4 hour rides at the weekend. My furthest ride so far was Winchester to Hereford, which was 205km, on one of the hottest weekends in history.
One of the things I’ve found most difficult has been training myself to eat while cycling and on long rides I burn around 4 - 5,000 calories, so getting food and liquids back in my body is very important. Eating when you don’t really feel like it has been one of the hardest things to deal with throughout my training and I really have to make myself get those calories in somehow. A trick I’ve found is drinking Ovaltine after my ride as it’s a great way to get those much-needed carbohydrates, but I do take some stick for it for some reason!
Motivation, thankfully, isn’t a problem for me. I’m riding to raise funds to enable more people with cancer to access the wellbeing and support services provided by Penny Brohn UK, so patients are always in my mind whilst I’m peddling. Sometimes I do an early 5am ride when the sun is rising, it’s beautiful to listen to nature waking up. If my head is struggling to keep focussed or my body is getting tired, I think of those patients and listen to some motivational music which gives me a lift and helps me push through.
While I can’t deny I’m apprehensive, I’m also looking forward to the challenge of keeping going for 9 consecutive days. However, there are quite a few big hills with over 20% gradient, so I recognise it’s not going to be an easy ride. To be honest it’s more the frequency of the climbs in the early 2 days that are likely to take their toll and it’ll be all about pacing myself in those early days. If I set off too quickly, I’ll suffer not just on that day but for several days afterwards. Day 8 looks brutal! I’ve got 119 miles up through Scotland. Wish me luck!’
Taking on a challenge of this scale is not for the faint-hearted so I’m extremely grateful to Justin for going the extra mile and taking on this immense challenge. It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of our services as well as funds so that we can support more people with cancer throughout their journey.
- Julie Worrall, CEO of Penny Brohn UK