A 49-year-old man from Chester is to join former F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen on a charity bike ride from Tuscany to Monaco.
Richard Fowles, who says he has little experience of road cycling, is undertaking the gruelling 200 mile challenge to raise vital funds for Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Despite his lack of experience he is confident that he will complete the challenge which will take place from Friday, September 22 – Sunday, September 24, 2017. As he explained: “I only started road cycling in March of this year and I’ve done little training on the road.
“However, I’ve done two static rides of 98 and 76 miles. Although they were tiring I completed them in good time and I’ve been told static riding can be more difficult than actually riding.”
Richard will be joined on the event – which is organised by former Lithuanian Olympic cyclist Modesta Vzesniauskaite and Caudwell Children – by his partner, Carrie-Anne Shirley, 40.
“Carrie-Anne actually beat me on the static cycle doing 100 miles,” said Richard. “She only started road cycling at the same time as me so we’ve both done quite well.
“We also did some actual hill work at the end of last month, around the Horseshoe Pass in Llangollen, Wales, in preparation for the terrain that we will be taking on during the challenge.”
Kirsten Greaves, challenge events manager for Caudwell Children, says that at times it will be a punishing ride.
She said: “It’s a calf burning 200 mile route through the beautiful, undulating, Italian countryside before crossing the finish line in the stunning principality of Monaco, on the French Riviera.
“In-between there will be rolling, hilly, landscapes surrounded by majestic Cypress trees. The three days of cycling will see participants, including our celebrity supporter Mika Häkkinen, covering 73, 85 and 69 miles respectively and on their final day they will have to overcome strong coastal winds. So it won’t be an easy challenge!”
The pair have been extremely creative in their fundraising efforts in a bid to smash their £5,000 target.
As Richard explained: “Carrie-Anne is a hair stylist and is very much in to fashion. She recently held a charity fashion show at the Shankly Hotel, in Liverpool, which was brilliant.
“We worked to get some fantastic auction prizes including exclusive, limited edition, artworks of The Beatles, Liverpool FC stadium and Museum tour tickets and we’ve had some great raffle prizes like dinner for two at Gino D’Acampo’s restaurant in Liverpool.”
Funds raised through the Tuscany to Monaco Challenge will help Caudwell Children to provide hospital and in-home family support, specialist mobility, sports and sensory equipment, fully supported family holidays for children with life-threatening conditions, activity days and life changing treatments and therapies to disabled children across the UK.
You can support Richard through his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Fowles2 .