This is Simon Davidmann's web page about his Cancer and JOGLE Cycle Ride for Charity.
[click here for July update] [here for Aug update] [here for the routes] [here for the updates DURING the ride]

 

Cancer is Hell.

 

In early 2013 I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet). This was a shock. I was fit, healthy, and by all accounts someone with a very low risk of being affected by such a disease.

 

I was just plain unlucky.

 

My consultant said at the time of my assessment and diagnosis: 'this is very serious, but fixable'.

 

Two years later I realise how serious it was and luckily for me it has been fixed. (I explain more of my story below.)

 

The team under the leadership of Consultant Surgeon Mr. Nick Maynard that sorted me did a fantastic job, and I want to help them help others.

 

I signed up to cycle with some of the Churchill Hospital team from one end of Great Britain to the other end. From close to the most northern point of John O'Groats in Scotland, to close to the most southern point at Land's End in England - "JOGLE". Approx. 1,000 miles in 10 days - yes 100 miles a day each consecutive day for 10 days.

 

The purpose of the ride was to raise funds to help the team that fixed me, and to help the support group [OOSO] that helps their patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


You can find more about our JOGLE charity fund raising ride: http://www.ooso.org.uk/collage/collage.html.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you want to - click on their link and support them by donating money to this excellent charity.

 

Go to the donation page, here: [https://www.charitycheckout.co.uk/1152733/Donate] and please donate some money. We hoped to raise over £50,000 as we hoped our contacts and friends would be generous (read to the bottom to see how much we did raise...). Click if you want to donate now...

 

 

 

 

 


 

Thank you for your support.

 

Simon Davidmann

 

My Story - a little more information

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In November 2012 I returned from a regular monthly US trip but did not manage to get rid of the jet lag. Normally this would take about 3 days and I would be fine - but not this time. By December I still had no energy and just did not feel 100% - more like 50%. Unlike me.

 

I paid for some full body scans, medical checks etc - did all the 'serious' tests like heart, lungs, blood, brain, CAT, MRI scans etc - but nothing found... Curious. Over the Christmas break I was needing more rest and found I was just not enjoying my food and was too tired to do much. In January 2013 I found discomfort when eating, and sometimes had hiccups when eating - my preference became less solid foods. Clearly something wrong. Local doctor initially prescribed stomach anti-acid settlers. Changed to doctor who arranged inspection with camera down my throat. Found lump. Diagnosis: oesophageal cancer.

 

I was now put in the care of Mr Nick Maynard of the Oxford OesophagoGastric Centre at the Churchill Hospital.

 

[It is to Nick Maynard and his team and their care and treatment that I owe my current good health and my life. It is for their work that I want your support to raise money to help them and to support the other patients they help.]

 

After two weeks of quite intrusive exploration we found that I was 'lucky' as my cancer was detected early and had not spread too far...

 

Cancer is Hell. Chemo too.

 

In March/April I had some pretty serious Chemotheraphy - ECX. I know it is prescribed to help, but it was just bad. The plan was 3 courses of Chemo followed by surgery, followed by 3 more courses of Chemo. A plan, something to look forward to...

 

Each course of Chemo was very difficult in different ways. From everything tasting of cardboard, to loss of appetite, projectile vomiting, to collapse of veins, to loss of skin on feet and hands making walking or touching things extremely painful. But it worked, my cancer was 'responding well' and shrinking fast... a good thing. They wanted it reduced to make the surgery more likely to be successful.

 

I re-read the 'its not about the bike' book by Lance Armstrong. He has fallen from grace recently, but I found it an inspirational read about how he discovered his cancer and how he fought it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I too would fight - I continued to go to work on all days I was not in the hospital and started to go out and force myself back into the routine of jogging - though my strength and energy was decreasing with my weight due to the Chemo.

 

May 2013 was the month of the surgery - an 8.5 hour procedure to open my chest and back, remove my oesophagus, and move my stomach up to replace it. It is one of the most complex/long operations that one can elect to have. Some patients just don't have the health to risk having such a procedure. I emerged from the surgery with some 20 tubes sticking out of my body and spent ten days in the hospital before being 'well enough' to go home to continue my recovery. It was a great success, with only 3 more Chemo sessions to look forward to, and for the mending of my chest and back where my ribs had been cut apart so the surgery team could put their hands inside me...

 

Here is a photo of a few of the 'staples' used to stitch my chest up after they were removed from me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Six weeks after the operation I was making a good recovery, and my strength and stamina returning well though slowly - I was probably at about 30% of my previous fitness. I then got an interesting phone call - it was the England Team Selectors - asking if I was available to represent England in the Olympic Skeet Home International Competition in Scotland in 5 weeks time - I had previously represented England in this shotgun shooting competition twice before and had competed in the qualification competitions before my operation, and had forgotten to withdraw my application. I called up Mr. Maynard and he felt it would be a good thing to focus on to look forward to, and he reassured me my chest was mending well and that nothing would 'come out' due to the impact of the firing of the shotgun.

 

I started working hard on getting fitter and started training and practising with the gun. So 11 weeks after surgery I travelled up to Scotland with my family to represent my country - in the same team as my son. I did not shoot well, England did win, but it was a very tiring and at some times painful event, though one that had forced me to improve my fitness and accelerate my rate of recovery.

 

I planned to start travelling/flying again October. This got delayed when after feeling pains in my chest it was discovered I had 'pulmonary embolisms' - a condition of the lining of the lungs - blood clots all over them... so my ideas of flying were shelved for a few more months while my blood got thinned and all the blood clots reduced. In February 2014 I started travel again for work including flying to the USA - and was fully functional though still with not much stamina and still much discomfort.

 

In October 2014 at a review meeting with Mr. Maynard, I was given the all clear with the statement that I was 'cancer free' and that as I was recovering so well and my fitness was good would I like to get involved in a 'little fundraising' event that Mr. Maynard was arranging - 'a bike ride' - 'sure' I said, 'where are we going?' The team was going to do an 'end to end' ride from one end of the country to the other. John O'Groats to Land's End (JOGLE). Approx. 1000 miles, 100 miles a day, and would I like to participate. I was in, though there was some miscommunication. Nick had asked if I would like to be involved, thinking I might do one part, e.g. one 100 mile section, while I had assumed I would do the ride, i.e. the whole thing. I will be doing the whole 1,000 miles!!!

 

I got my old road bike out, and managed about 3 miles in the first ride - painful, hard work, and I was exhausted - I just had so little stamina - well I had about 10 months before the date of the September 2015 ride - so I could train and get fit.

 

I remembered reading in the Lance Armstrong book how after his treatment he returned to cycling with a similar strength but a much improved power/weight ratio as he had lost some 30 pounds during his treatment. I had lost some 50 pounds, so when I got fit I would expect similar improvement. So I started to cycle more - and the more exercise I did, the more stamina I gained, and the further I could ride.

 

In February 2015 I bought a new light road racing bike (the frame weighing in at less than 800 grams) and my training and cycling became more serious. I found I enjoyed the hills and my favourite local ride is 3 climbs in a series of loops up the Chilterns totalling 46 miles including just over 2,000 feet of climbing that I can do now relatively easily in under 4 hours.

 


 

 

To get ready for the 100 mile days of the JOGLE it is important to do long rides so I started doing some longer rides, and in April did one 85 miler including 3 times up the Chilterns, and added in Long Crendon, Ashendon, and Brill hills to add more climbing. Only 7 hours... tough but good. I did stop for about an hour for lunch too...

 

In May I did a fund raising 'century ride' for Breast Cancer Research of just under 100 miles round Oxfordshire. What a day - it rained for 6 of the 7 hours and there was much standing water - a very tiring day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I was in California in mid May for business and arranged to go to Lake Tahoe with my bike to cycle round it. After all, California in May, it was bound to be 70+ degrees and sunny. Wrong. It was 45-50 degrees and rained most of the day but it was still an enjoyable and fantastic training ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Beautiful views (of Emerald Bay above), 88 Miles, over 6,000 feet of climbing, and completed in 6.5 hours though I did have several breaks as I tried to buy more warm waterproof clothing as it was wet all day.

 

In June I wanted to see what it felt like to be in the saddle for consecutive days.

 

I cycled each day for 10 days trying to cover between 20 and 50 miles each day. I totalled over 28 hours in 10 days and covered almost 360 miles and climbed almost 3 miles. It was tough but gave me confidence that I could manage the 10 days of JOGLE.

 

In July I tried to see what a hard week on the bike might feel like....

 

And the answer was some significant medication was needed:

 

 

July was my big month:

 

 

And I thought I would ease down a little in August, and we went on holiday to Cornwall - and there were some good hills. This one almost did me in... It said 25% but when I checked it later on ridewithgps.com it said it peaked at 28.5%... wow. It was tough (though it was short).

 

 

 

 

And now it is late August - with only a few days to go - and I am just doing easy 30 mile rides on alternate days and then Monday I pack the bike up and get ready to go...

 

The routes are pretty close to sorted - currently 950+ miles - but I am sure we will change things and get lost a little.

 

Click on the route name to see the detail of the ride on ridewithgps.com. This shows detail of the route, and also the hills etc.

 

StageDateRoute (click to see detail in ridewithgps.com)DistanceClimb
Day 103-Sept-15John O'Groats to Dingwall109 miles4,796 ft
Day 204-Sept-15Dingwall to Glencoe101 miles5,138 ft
Day 305-Sept-15Glencoe to Lanark109 miles5,447 ft
Day 406-Sept-15Lanark to Penrith96 miles3,823 ft
Day 507-Sept-15Penrith to Wigan92 miles3,564 ft
Day 608-Sept-15Wigan to Kidderminster95 miles3,837 ft
Day 709-Sept-15Kidderminster to Oxford75 miles3,346 ft
Day 810-Sept-15Oxford to Glastonbury93 miles3,450 ft
Day 911-Sept-15Glastonbury to Liskeard107 miles7,159 ft
Day 1012-Sept-15Liskeard to Land's End73 miles5,109 ft
Note that on mobile devices the site ridewithgps.com does not show the map - so on mobile devices scroll down and click on 'view desktop version' - or use a PC where the full map just comes up.

Day 9 looks like a challenge... long day with lot of hills near the end.

 

But before I go on the big ride - how much training did I actually do.

MonthRidesDistanceClimbave. climb per 100 milesComment
Dec 2014232 miles1,500 ft4,688 ftjust starting
Jan 20157130 miles6,341 ft4,878 ft
Feb 201515320 miles12,321 ft3,850 ftnew bike, improving distance
Mar 201518373 miles16,043 ft4,301 ft
Apr 201516395 miles21,989 ft5,567 ft
May 20157295 miles18,322 ft6,211 fthill focus
Jun 201513417 miles18,327 ft4,395 ft
Jul 201523850 miles47,258 ft5,560 ftdistance focus
Aug 201517601 miles45,449 ft7,562 ftlot of climbing
TOTAL1183,413 miles187,550 ft5,223 ft

Yep a lot of training, including 35.5 miles of height climbed...

 

Nutrition

 

One of the big challenges I face, apart from the actual ride - is the nutrition while riding... I expect to consume between 2,500 and 4,000 calories a day during the ride - and this is hard seeing I choose not to eat meat, and due to the surgery can no longer tolerate sugars or simple carbohydrates and need more frequent smaller meals than most people... I need a lot of protein. While cycling I am trying to eat an average of approximately 5-10 calories a minute...

 

My wife, Penny has created some fantastic 'nutty cookies' that are high protein, very low sugar, high-GI, and are lots of nuts and goodness. About 70-150 calories each. I eat many on the rides - if you want the recipe click here (as it is on the OOSO site...).

 

 

 

 

So I sepnt a lot of time training and preparing for the JOGLE fund raising ride in September.

 

Thanks to those that supported me by donating to this fantastic cause, and that helped me help others.

 

Thank you.

 

Simon

 

##

 

Update DURING the rides.



As I complete each day I hope to have the energy (and internet connection) to put updates here so that you can see how I am getting along and to see some of the pictures.

Click on the route name to see the notes I have made for that day - and any photos.

 

StageDateRoute (click to see detail and notes and pictures)DistanceTime RidingClimbAve. Speed
Day 002-Sept-15Arrival at John O'Groats (click to see notes and pictures)
Day 103-Sept-15John O'Groats to Dingwall (click to see notes and pictures)109 miles7:45 mins6,450 ft13.9 mph
Day 204-Sept-15Dingwall to Glencoe (click to see notes and pictures)101 miles8:16 mins4,807 ft12.3 mph
Day 305-Sept-15Glencoe to Lanark (click to see notes and pictures)108 miles7:45 mins6,020 ft13.8 mph
Day 406-Sept-15Lanark to Penrith (click to see notes and pictures)99 miles6:59 mins5,243 ft13.96 mph
Day 507-Sept-15Penrith to Wigan (click to see notes and pictures)92 miles6:51 mins4,563 ft13.3 mph
Day 608-Sept-15Wigan to Kidderminster (click to see notes and pictures)95 miles7:04 mins4,081 ft13.42 mph
Day 709-Sept-15Kidderminster to Oxford (click to see notes and pictures)75 miles6:09 mins3,805 ft12.21 mph
Day 810-Sept-15Oxford to Glastonbury (click to see notes and pictures)94 miles6:36 mins4,318 ft14.22 mph
Day 911-Sept-15Glastonbury to Liskeard (click to see notes and pictures)110 miles8:11 mins8,672 ft13.38 mph
Day 1012-Sept-15Liskeard to Land's End (click to see notes and pictures)73 miles6:40 mins6,030 ft10.77 mph
Day 1113-Sept-15Departure from Land's End (click to see notes and pictures)
Day 12-1414 to 16-Sept-15Postscript (Richard) (click to see notes and pictures)
20-Sept-15My next ride - disaster strikes (click to see notes and pictures)
13-Nov-15Mount Hamilton with Richard (click to see notes and pictures)

So that is it. This adventure is over.

Some final stats:

Cycled for 72 hours and 16 minutes over 10 consecutive days.

Covered 956 miles.

Climbed 53,989 feet (about 10 and a 1/4 miles).

Spun the pedals approximately 256,000 times.

Starting weight 84.5 Kg. Ending weight 84.7 Kg = great result.


How do I feel?

Pleased to have completed it.
Pleased to have raised money for the charity that is helping others with this horrible cancer.
Pleased to have been able to complete this strenuous challenge and to have finished without problem.
Pleased to have demonstrated that recovery can be complete - I was as fit as others and have never been this fit in my life.

Life is good.

Click to read an article in the local press.

Click to view a video on local TV on the reception at the hospital.

Thanks for your interest and your support, Simon.


And here is the route map for the whole ride...



Long way.