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Pals are ready, steady to pedal

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
Pals are ready, steady to pedal

TWO cycling fanatics are set to rack up the miles later this month as they take on a colossal charity challenge.

Pals Ian Baird and Mark Hunt are preparing to pedal over 1000 miles in just seven days between May 30 and June 5 to raise money for two local causes.

Each day they will complete a 21.5-mile circular route six times, setting-off from Southerness lighthouse, then cycling through Arbigland, Carsethorn, Kirkbean, Drumburn, New Abbey, back through Kirkbean, then Prestonmill, Cowcorse, Loaningfoot, and back to Southerness.

Ian, who lives in Kirkbean and will celebrate his 64th birthday on the final day of the challenge, said: “I enjoy cycling and this 1000 miles in six days was actually supposed to happen last year but obviously we cancelled it because of covid, but this will be my fifth year charity cycling. Two years ago I did a 24 hour, the year before that I cycled from John O Groats to Southerness.”

However, the upcoming feat will be the toughest outing yet for the seasoned cyclist.

He said that he initially planned to do the fundraiser alone until Mark stepped-in and asked if he could join.

And on preparing himself both mentally and physically, he said: “I’ve been doing a lot of indoor training, a wee bit outside but more indoor, and after 57 cycle rides I’m over 3000 miles and in March alone I did 17 cycle rides and 1503 miles, so I’ve been putting big miles in. My legs have been to 162 miles once or twice in one sitting.

“It’s only hard if you let it get to you, you’ve got to just pace things out. The hardest thing will be the weather, that’ll be it really. I deal with each day as it comes, I never think ‘oh dear, I’ve got another 70 miles to go, I don’t think like that I just get out there and enjoy my cycling.”

Usually picking the charities which he’s going to raise cash for himself, Ian let his friends decide this time around by putting it to a vote on Facebook. Coming out on top were Prostate Buddies Dumfries and Galloway and Alzheimers Scotland, between which the final sum will be split.

Furthermore, the pair have paid thanks to G and G Cycle Centre in Dumfries, where staff have offered them spare parts and bicycle servicing free of charge whilst they train, and also to Karen Love, who has organised a raffle as part of the fundraiser.

To donate and track Ian and Mark’s progress, visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Ian Baird.

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