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Friends' epic cycle for their daughters
TWO friends who are setting off next Friday on an epic ride cycling the entire length of the country are raising money for the charities that have helped their baby daughters.
Darren Klat and Mark Underwood, both accountants at the Health Protection Agency at Porton Down, will be pedalling hard all the way from Land's End to John O'Groats.
The pair, who have raised £1,500 so far, are determined to raise as much money as possible for the Salisbury Stars Appeal and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
They have put in hundreds of hours training over the past few months, often cycling more than 50 miles in the wind and rain at weekends to reach a destination while their respective families arrived warm and dry in a car. Mr Underwood, whose 15-month-old daughter Isabelle has a rare form of cystic fibrosis, said: “Cycling home from work we have both been seeking out the biggest hills around which is Snakey Hill for me to ride up.
“There has been many a day when this is a real struggle but hopefully this hill training will pay off.
“Lots of bike components have been changed along the way as we work out what will suit us best over the long distance ride, both bikes are now light and fast and ready for action.”
Mr Klat's 11-month-old daughter Alesha spent some time on the children's ward at Salisbury hospital after being diagnosed with a haemangioma close to her ear.
He said: “After many months of planning and preparation we are both very excited and cannot wait to get underway, thanks to everyone who has donated or helped in some way - your generosity will spur us on and we are determined not to let anyone down.”
The two friends will cycle a route away from many of the main roads, leading them over Dartmoor and up the highest road in Britain, which is Bealach na Ba at 2,053ft.
To find out more or to sponsor the two friends visit http://thelonggoodride2012.blogspot.com/2012/02/overview.html or http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/thelonggoodride2012 .