Finding inspiration where I didn’t expect it.

There’s a small chance that I may be able to ride the 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop on Sunday so I didn’t want to do a big ride today. I decided to ride to my local hill, Healey Nab, to ride 3 laps of the man made mountain bike trails. I’ve done this ride many times before so it didn’t seem especially inspiring. I set off and climbed by the quickest route to the woodland at the top where the trails loop round. The open field was generally quite dry even though we had heavy rain 2 days ago. Some wind and sunshine since had worked wonders. I climbed to the trail head by the new climb which has been fashioned since 2,500 larch trees were cut down in the spring. At the top was a younger man and naturally we chatted. It turns out that it was his first visit to Healey Nab and he’d ridden a long way to get there on an electrically assisted mountain bike. Although I’m not a big fan of Ebikes I can see that, in this case, it was a good way for someone to get to the trails.

He’d already been shown around the trail by some other riders but said he’d ridden back up the downhill, which could be dangerous to him or others riding down. I said that I was going to ride a lap and that he could follow me if he liked. We set off and I kept looking back to make sure I didn’t leave him due to my detailed knowledge of the trails. It turns out that he’s only been riding for 12 weeks, also has a non assisted bike and has ridden over 2,000 km in that time, riding most days. As we started the climb back to the trail head he was finding it easy to keep up with his electrical assistance, then he dropped a casual remark that a while ago he’d been unable to go outside for 2 years! Being nosy I asked why and he said that he’d had brain cancer. It had been very aggressive and he was told that it would be terminal. Then, and no one knows how or why, he recovered! He’s been cancer free for 9 months and his story has been the subject of a BBC documentary. He’s well enough to have returned to the service of Queen and country as an army medic.

From a ride where I was not inspired at the start I’d heard the most inspirational and uplifting story of perseverance and faith.

As a post script I Googled and found a link to this amazing man’s story…….https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-49495871

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