CYCLING: INTREPID John Rigby-Jones began an endurance-sapping cycle ride across some of the most unforgiving mountain terrain in the world on Saturday.
The 33-year-old adrenalin junkie from Nantwich is taking on the fearsome 100 Cols Challenge, which will see him spend six weeks cycling alone over 184 French mountain passes to raise cash for charity.
The task ahead of him dwarfs the route of the famous Tour de France, stretching more than 400k longer with more than double the amount of climbs.
It is a personal mission for the civil engineer to raise money for Cancer Research UK, after the loss of two friends to the disease and the ongoing battle of his brother-in-law with cancer.
Now John is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime. He said: 'I am really just a keen recreational cyclist who simply bikes to work everyday, so this will be by far my greatest challenge.
'I am apprehensive because so much can go wrong.
'It is a tight schedule and I can only really look towards the first couple of weeks. After that I will be venturing into uncharted territory.
'Hopefully by listening to my body, getting plenty of food and rest and by maintaining a positive mental attitude, things will work out.'
John spent the first nine years of his life living on Crewe Road, Nantwich, before moving to Wybunbury. He attended Broad Lane Primary School and Sand-bach School.
He moved to Wybunbury where he lived until he was 21.
He now lives in Keighley, Yorkshire, with wife Jo while his parents Tim and Liz are still based at Hatherton, Nantwich.
His love of many sports, including windsurfing, paragliding, skiing, rock climbing and scuba diving, may stand him in good stead for the 100 Cols Challenge.
The route started in Saverne, near Strasbourg, and heads on to the Plateau de Langres, Bourgogne, Beaujolais and the Puy Marie on the way to the Pyrenees. After almost 3,000k, the Alps are next before the finish at Saverne, expected to be on July 31.
In total, there are 4,031k, 122 cols (high mountain passes), 62 cotes (minor cols) and 56,000 vertical metres of climbing.
John has to cycle an average of 110k each day with one day a week to rest.
He will ride unsupported, staying in guest houses and carrying his luggage in panniers.
John, who hopes to raise £5,000, said: 'I live in York-shire now but nearly all my friends and people who know me are in South Cheshire. But many won't know what I am doing.
'I hope that they will follow my progress and sponsor me.
'If I am to be successful then I will need a little of the courage and determination shown by so many of those people who are facing life with cancer.'
For more information and to sponsor John, visit www.alpinezebra.co.uk.