A Boston man who took up cycling just six years ago to help him get into shape is now about to take on an epic 2,500-mile ride across Europe as a thank you to the hospital team caring for his brother.
Gary Clark, 46, has been selected from thousands of applicants from across the world to be one of the 250 competitors in this year’s Transcontinental Race.
The annual event is a bicycle race across Europe where solo riders and pairs compete without outside assistance.
Gary is cycling partly as a challenge to himself, but also to raise money for the Intensive Care Unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre, in Nottingham, via the Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
This is in tribute to the ‘wonderful care’ the unit has provided his brother, Joe, since he had a stroke in June, aged 41.
“During Joe’s time in there, we saw that more cooling fans and radios would be appreciated,” he said. “Simple items that make such a difference to the patients there. Whatever funds I can raise will only go a small way to show our family’s appreciation of what the ward did for Joe.”
The race starts on Sunday, July 29, and runs from Belgium to Greece.
Gary has had to make his own route to pass four fixed points and has a timescale of 16 days to complete it. Choosing a shorter, but more mountainous route, it will see him cover 120,000ft in ascents.
All this is made even more impressive by the fact that Gary is a relative newcomer to the sport.
“I started cycling only six years ago because I was overweight and smoked 30 cigarettes a day,” he said. “I soon gave up the smoking and started going on longer bike rides.”
Now, a member of the Boston Wheelers Cycling Club, he said: “Cycling has been the best thing I’ve done for de-stressing, getting fit, and seeing the world through different eyes.”
This year’s Transcontinental Race is the sixth in the event’s history.
It will begin in Muur Van Gerrardsbergen, in Belgium, and end in Meteora, Greece.
Apart from four mandatory ‘control points’ (ones in Austria, Slovenia, Poland, and Bosnia), there is no fixed route. Outside support is prohibited, riders must only use what they can carry with them or what they can find at commercially available outlets.
You will be able to follow Gary’s progress on his Instagram account #TheGCrider or at www.transcontinental.cc
You can donate to his cause at his www.justgiving.com page (search for ‘Gary’s Transcontinental Race icu hospital ward page’).
Gary is being sponsored in his effort by Meridian Foods.