Seven TUF cycling challenges
Last November we successfully completed our 7th fundraising cycling challenge for The Urology Foundation (TUF) in Vietnam and Cambodia. Looking back over all seven adventures undertaken over nine years my main emotion is profound relief that none of my accompanying fellow riders has sustained any severe injury, that is in spite of a number of us periodically flying over the handlebars or colliding with other vehicles to incur a considerable array of cuts and bruises, in addition to a number of minor fractures!
Our very first sortie took place in the Spring of 2008 in Sicily when the orange blossom was in full bloom and the weather was kind. Having never ridden 100 Km per day over 5 consecutive days before, I do remember my perineum becoming a very major focus of my attention – so much so that I spent most of the last few days standing on the pedals to ease the pain. Interestingly, I was never again similarly afflicted in any of the subsequent rides. Perhaps the relevant nerve endings had been wiped out by the trauma incurred?
Such was the enthusiasm of the participants that the very next year we set off to Malawi for the first of our three African cycling adventures. Dr Jay Smith, editor of the Journal of Urology, from Nashville Tennessee joined us for first time along with more than 20 other riders. Among my many enduring memories of that wonderful country, most prominent are those of hurtling down the steep side of the rift valley and reaching Lake Malawi, a lake so deep and so wide that when Dr Livingstone discovered it he apparently thought that he had reached the East coast of Africa.
Our next ride took us to Madagascar, a simply amazing island that separated from the continent of Africa 100 million years ago, allowing its own unique flora and fauna to evolve. Following that we headed to Patagonia where 40 of us cycled across the Andes from Argentina to Chile enjoying vistas of enormous blue lakes and snow-capped volcanoes, but also experiencing sore thighs and occasional sudden plummets from our bikes!
For our fifth challenge we headed to back to Africa for a fantastic cycle around the Cape, completing the ride at the most southerly tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet at Aghulas. Two years after that we braved the chaotic traffic of India, cycling from Agra to Jaipur through wonderful Rajasthan, keeping off the main roads and cycling along mud tracks though innumerable Indian villages where the children greeted us with cheers, smiles and waves.
Vietnam and Cambodia presented a new challenge to our intrepid riders: considerable heat and intense humidity! The experience of negotiating our way through the paddy fields of the iconic Mekong delta made the physical discomfort worthwhile – not to mention the excitement of arriving at the Angkor Wat temple for the conclusion of the trip. Satisfyingly, these seven challenges have cumulatively raised more than £750,000 for TUF. Well done each and every intrepid fellow TUF cyclist!
If you want to know more about the challenge then take a look at the blog that describes our adventure: http://www.bjuinternational.com/bjui-blog/urology-foundation-cycle-vietnam-cambodia/