Shieldhill man gets on his bike for charity

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A Shieldhill man hopes to raise £2000 for charity when he cycles from one end of the country to the other in a gruelling 969-mile challenge.

Gary Wilson (52), who works offshore, is pushing his body to the limit when he takes on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain Challenge in September.

He wants to raise £2000 for the Prince’s Trust, which provides help and support to children and adults aged 13 to 30.

Gary will cover an average of 110 miles a day on the bike over an energy-sapping nine days from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

He has already run the Edinburgh Marathon in 2015 but says this event is the one that “terrifies” him.

He said: “It’s on my bucket list rather than anything else. I have not been cycling on the road that long. I joined a cycling club in Stirling about two years ago and it has really helped.

“I trained well for the marathon. It was not exactly easy but I found it not too bad on the day. The preparation is hugely important and that’s what I am taking into this challenge with me.”

Asked what concerns him about the ride, he said: “I am not worried about the distance but it is day after day with no recovery.

“I have been up in Lewis where my wife Kathleen is from and training hard on the bike for five consecutive days to give me an idea of what to expect.

“I’m not thinking that I’m not going to finish. I was doing 60 and 70 miles on the bike for the first three days into a headwind and felt good and days like that prepare you for the big event.”

The Prince’s Trust is the official charity of the event which was partly the reason why Gary is taking on the challenge.

“It gives a great opportunity for disadvantaged youngsters who are maybe struggling at school to get themselves on training courses and get into employment. I have taken it into my heart.”

Gary believes day seven of the event will be the hardest. He said: “That is the longest day and beginning in Hamilton and cycling up to Fort William it is 130 miles.

“I imagine the legs will be feeling pretty tired by then but it as much as mental battle as it physical you just have to break it down into little chunks.”

His wife, sons Scott (23), Martin (21) and stepson Alasdair (33) will be cheering him alongside grandson Xander (1).

He said: “They all think I’m crazy. They have been very supportive and I am sure they will cheering me on in the final parts of the course either at Hamilton or up at Fort William.”

To donate to Gary’s cause go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GaryWilson14.