South Queensferry man Simon Geeson is about to embark on a 950 mile cycle journey from the English Channel to the Mediterranean in 14 days, in support of four charities.
Simon (42) is taking part in Costain’s 150 Challenge and will arrive in Brittany on June 6 to travel south through no fewer than 19 of France’s 96 regional areas covering between 50 and 90 miles a day.
He will follow the Loire, Dordogne and the Rhône rivers down through Provence before descending to the finish line on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on June 20.
Simon works for Costain Upstream in Aberdeen as the lead construction representative for the Greater Stella project, an oil and gas field owned by Ithaca Energy.
He said he spends a lot of his time between March and October working offshore, so doesn’t really have too many opportunities to go cycling.
But when he does, he likes to put the miles in. In 2013, he took part in a 100 mile sportive before cycling 1100km (680 miles) from Melbourne to Adelaide in 10 days.
He said: “I’ve always done a bit of cycling now and then but I’m not a seasoned cyclist. The last time I was out on my bike was back in October last year.
‘‘As for training long distance, I’ve only ever done one sportive and then a long distance multi-day cycle in Australia and both of them were thrown on me at the last minute by friends.
‘‘I only booked this trip this week so training has just started, as have my French lessons.”
Simon said one of the biggest challenges, aside from getting saddle sore, is something called ‘The Bonk’, or what is more commonly known as cycle fatigue. It’s the cycling equivalent of hitting ‘The Wall’ in running.
He said: “The Bonk is when you’re completely drained of energy and that can be tough.
‘‘If I keep drinking fluids and eating snacks every 40 minutes then that seems to work for me.
‘‘I thought I would find it tough in Australia but, surprisingly, I actually started to feel stronger after about day five and that is what has given me confidence to book this trip without having done much training.”
The Costain 150 Challenge aims to raise £1 million in 2015 for its charitable foundation’s chosen charities: British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, The Prince’s Trust and Samaritans.