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Local supporter shares his fundraising story

Tim Friend cycle 2013

Wednesday 18 December

Nottingham Christian Aid supporter Tim Friend tells us about his incredible 400-mile fundraising cycle challenge for Christian Aid’s Malaria Appeal.

I was inspired to raise money for Christian Aid because my family had a guest from an African slum staying with us, which literally brought home the reality of poverty.

I decided to put my love of cycling to good use and raise funds for the Christian Aid Malaria Appeal.

I started my 400-mile route in Perpignan, southern France, then cycled through the foothills of the Pyrenees, over several summits of Tour de France fame, crossed into Andorra and Spain, and finally finished in Lourdes.

Putting in the training...

I trained over eight weeks and averaged 125 miles per week.

I didn't know if that was going to be sufficient, but it was all I could fit in around work and family.

... and my nerves to the test!

The time I got most nervous was when the group I was with agreed that we would race up the Tourmalet on the penultimate day.

Most of the guys had done it the previous year so knew what to expect.

I was so nervous, but I did it in 1 hour 40 minutes, coming 8th.

I was pleased, but felt I had much more in the tank.

I'd love to do it again and set a faster pace, aiming to take off at least 10 minutes from this year's time!

My toughest day

The first day was terrible!

We set off through the foothills of the Pyrenees, having no idea what the 50 miles ahead of us entailed.

The first hill turned out to be the longest climb of the entire week - 30 miles!

After each turn, I thought, 'This has got to be the last corner', but it just kept going!

I didn't sleep well that night because I was worried that the mountains would be far worse.

Thankfully, it wasn't the case - each mountain climb was relatively short and sweet with rewarding views.

The best bit

My favourite moment was having an omelette on top of l'Aubisque, outside a cafe above the clouds.

We had just cycled around 'the cauldron' before the final section of the climb, which was stunning.

That omelette tasted better than any I'd ever had!

And with Lourdes almost in sight, we were in buoyant moods.

My top tip

My advice to anyone thinking of doing a big cycling challenge: put all the hard work into the training so you can enjoy the adventure when you're out there!

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