I am extremely sad to say I won’t be taking part in the C2C Challenge next month.
The plan was to take on the 140-mile, two day ride along one of the most challenging routes in the UK.
The deal was, I do the ride and you donate 10 minutes of your time to help me raise awareness about two very important issues – ME/CFS and the role of carers in the UK.
There is a certain irony that both these issues are behind my decision to abandon the challenge.
The simple truth is I have been finding it increasingly difficult to perform my juggling act of being Rachel’s carer, as well as her husband and friend, home-maker, gardener, shopper, cleaner, bread winner and C2C challenger.
Something was about to drop with an almighty clang and I know exactly where my priorities lie – they begin and end with Rachel.
So, as certain people are fond of saying, it really was a no-brainer.
The one to drop is the bike ride.
Rachel and I are still adjusting to the fact that I now go out to work every day, rather than set up office on our sofa. Why I thought it would be easy to make it any easy transition in just six months when it has taken us the best part of three years to get used to me being her carer is anyone’s guess?
Although I have seen an improvement in Rachel’s health compared to say 18 months ago, she still needs to rely heavily on me. And in the last few months the very slow progress she had been making has stalled, possibly because I have not been at home as often as before.
I still need to go out to work. But I need to devote more time to being Rachel’s carer…no, that’s not strictly true. I need to devote more time to being Rachel’s husband, friend and lover.
As much as I’ve enjoyed every turn of the wheels on my training rides, some things are and always will be far more important.
There are some alternatives I’m currently taking a look at, which could mean my attempt to encourage people to donate time rather than money has not been completely wasted.
There are a few one-day rides later in the year, which wouldn’t require the level of intense training the C2C Challenge does. They range from 50 to 100 miles and I’ll be talking it through with Rachel over the weekend to decide whether it is realistic for me to consider any of these one-day rides.
I don’t want the generosity of anyone who has pledged time to be wasted.
The fact is there is still a pressing need to raise awareness of these two issues that are so close to my own heart and so I’m determined to do something to help in any way I can.
So, watch this space.
I’m reminded of something Rachel’s GP said shortly after she was diagnosed with ME/CFS. Rachel was experiencing various health problems and the GP could offer little in the way of treatment, but plenty of sympathy.
“Its shit, isn’t it?” was how the GP summed up Rachel’s illness.
Yeah, it is.
And so is this.
So to everyone who has pledged support, sent messages of encouragement and generally put a smile on my face with their kind words, I can only offer a sincere apology for not completing the original challenge.
And I only have two heartfelt words left to say – thank you.