World of Sport

Cyclist ‘who really hates cycling’ embarks on epic cycling challenge

World of Sport

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It's one thing to take on an incredible cycling endurance challenge if you are passionate and enthusiastic about the sport, but quite another if you thoroughly dislike it.

That's what 39-year-old Justin Davies is embarking upon, and it won't be at all to his taste.

He is to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats over the next 14 days to raise money for charity - it is not exactly a new feat, but it will be pretty unique given his contempt for the sport.

Far from playing to his strengths, Davies hates cycling.

"I’m going to throw my bike in a loch,” he told the Daily Telegraph, adding that his interest in bike riding has gone from “minimal” to “nonexistent”.

"The thought of wearing this poxy lycra for 14 days is just ridiculous. I put it on and stood there, in these short things, looking at myself in the mirror.

"What are these things? And the shoes? Cleats, are they? It’s a minefield, cycling. I’m nearly 40 - an ageing rugby player - what am I doing?”

The reluctant cyclist is far from excited about the prospect of tackling the 864-mile route from one end of Britain to the other.

"I’m not a cyclist in any shape or form and the limited training I’ve done has reaffirmed that reality,” he says.

"I’ve never been into it. I don’t see the point in watching it, and I don’t see the point in doing it.

"I admire cyclists, sure, but I’ve never been one to jump on a bike and spend five or six hours in a saddle getting a sore backside for enjoyment.

"It really, really hurts. But I’ll do it anyway."

So why on earth is Davies taking on this crazy and hugely demanding challenge?

To raise money for MND Association - a UK charity that supports sufferers of motor neurone disease. There is a good cause behind his frustration.

"The underlying emotion - the reason I’m doing this - is the cause,” he says, suddenly losing the sullen tone that accompanied all his talk of clipless pedals and rear cassettes.

"I can mess myself up for 14 days for this, I’m happy to do that. I lost my best friend to motor neurone disease in October. He was 38, diagnosed when he was 35.

"When I started the walk last year he was still with us, and thankfully he got to see the completion of that. But he’s no longer here and the motivation behind this, from my point of view, is to get MND out there in his memory.

"One day, we might get closer to finding answers and even - dare I say it - a cure. It’s not difficult to motivate myself for that.

"When my legs are trying to spin on that bike, that’s all I’m going to be thinking about; that should get me through the first couple of days."

Find out more about MND and donate by visiting Davies's just-giving page.

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