Column: Positive thinking ahead of big challenge

Dr Crichton training for his ride from Land's End to John O'Groats
Dr Crichton training for his ride from Land's End to John O'Groats

It was Tour de Yorkshire last week and cycling has become a big part of my free time at the moment as I count down to the biggest physical challenge of my life.

In September I will set off to ride 969 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just nine days – that’s 108 miles a day.

Why am I doing it? My parents don’t drive and cycling was my early escape to the freedom and to discover the great outdoors.

I’m using the time I spend on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain to raise money for the important work of a charity that’s close to my heart – Cancer Research UK. Cancer touches everyone’s life, personally or through friends or family, and I’m no different.

Three of my four grandparents have lost their lives to cancer. Many Doncaster families will relate to this.

As a GP I developed an interest in cancer and I know the importance of research to bring forward the day when a cure is found.

I’m training by completing at least one 100 miles ride every weekend. Someone recently asked me what I think about when I’m in the saddle for up to seven hours a day?

I appreciate the Yorkshire scenery and try to keep thinking positive thoughts; highlights of the past week, memorable holidays or family occasions. Sometimes it gives me time to reflect and problem-solve those nagging work and family issues.

I break the ride into manageable chunks. The first third I’m feeling fresh and the miles are clocking up, stopping off for a snack, drink and to stretch my legs after about 35 miles.

The middle third, my legs are warmed up but I must remember to drink regularly. I talk to fellow riders, it’s one of the reasons I undertake organised sportives. I recently spent nearly seven hours riding with ex-jockey Ray Cochrane, who now manages Frankie Dettori.

The last stop is about 65miles and the half-way point from a physical effort point of view. Tiredness starts to kick in and the mind starts to wander “can I really do this?” Determination is what gets me through. I don’t want to let people down - family who support me and all the people who have sponsored me. Counting down the miles, 30 miles to go - about two hours remain, 15 miles to go about an hour left, nearly there and finally relief and elation when I cross the finish line.

If you would like to sponsor me please visit: David Crichton Just Giving Page