October 31st, 2014
When the veteran of three Life Cycles and dozens of marathons – including an epic run equivalent to nine marathons in 10 days – says it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done, you know it must have been tough.
Steven Wright cycled 250 miles in 24 hours astride a static trainer that simulated every hill and twist in the road between the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and London’s Buckingham Palace.
The University Chauffeur’s epic ride at May Fest was in aid of Children’s Brain Tumour Research, the cause supported by this summer’s Life Cycle riders.
Like the rest of the Life Cycle 4 team, Steve will ride 1,400-plus miles to four corners of Great Britain in tribute to a young victim of brain cancer.
Steve will be riding in honour of Keira Lee from Surrey who died from a brain tumour in 2013 aged two.
Keira was also in the forefront of Steve’s mind when climbed on board his Ingenius TACX trainer in the Portland Building. “Riding in Keira’s honour is special to me in many ways,” he says. “I have two boys that came along through IVF treatment at the Nuture Clinic at the QMC. The struggle to make it happen makes me appreciate how important and special it is to have them. To lose a child, especially so young, to a brain tumour must be an unimaginable ordeal to endure.”
Just short of 24 hours later, Steve had reached his goal, cheered on by hundreds of well-wishers. His only break had been for a quick shower and a 90-minute kip on a table at 2am. Not only will the ride contribute a substantial chunk towards the £5000 Steve aims to personally raise in Keira’s name, he hopes performing the 250-mile feat will raise the profile Life Cycle 4, while bringing home the demands the challenge makes on its riders.
“Life Cycle is very tough and I don’t think people always realise just how hard it is – when people see photos or footage it looks like fun,” he says. “What they don’t see is how much pain is involved.”
Steve, like Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Greenaway, is one of a handful of riders who taken part all three of the annual challenges. It’s a measure of Steve’s unassuming nature and dogged determination that when he fell and dislocated a shoulder during Life Cycle 2 he went on to finish that day’s stage — only then telling his team-mates of his injury. Steve was treated for ligament damage and was back in the saddle for the final three days of riding. He ended the challenge with a dip in the sea at Dover to soothe the pain of his burning shoulder.
But he says even that does not compare with the drawn-out pain of his 250-mile ride at May Fest. “It wasn’t just physically tough,” he says. “Mentally, it’s draining, riding in front of all those people, and relying on the technology.”
“The support I got was fantastic — messages and donations were coming in at 3am, for instance. Keira’s family have been great, so supportive — they’ve been with me all the way for Life Cycle 4.”
Supporting Steve was Life Cycle veteran Gavin Scott, an Environmental Manager at the University, who is riding 2,300 miles to Istanbul, also in aid of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.
Steven says such support and camaraderie make the Life Cycle rides special — and endurable.
“David [Greenaway] has this ability to pick people for each team who just gel. Everyone is very close and we all support each other. I couldn’t have finished that Life Cycle ride with my shoulder without Mike Carr [Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services.] He rode with me all the way, warning me of every pothole in the road. He was fabulous — but he says he’s never been sworn at so much in his life!”
He added: “All the team have put so much into the Life Cycles. None of it would have been possible without the vision of David [Greenaway] and the hard work from the Campaign Office and especially the support team; they are the ones who make the riders’ job achievable. All the riders have a lot to thank them for and we’re glad our efforts have made a difference to so many people.”
To support Steve and the other riders, please visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/lifecycle
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