In a few weeks' time, ex-England rugby skipper and scrummaging powerhouse Lawrence Dallaglio will set off on an epic 3,000km ride between the Six Nations stadiums. Cycling Plus’s Kate Hodgins talks to the big man about rugby, retirement and riding for charity…
So, not long to go until the start date then...
No, we're fast approaching the start of the Six Nations Championship, and the start of the Cycle Slam on 12 February. Rugby is the usual sport for this time of year but we thought we’d come up with a different way of raising funds for some amazing causes by cycling around all the Six Nations venues – nearly 3,000km in total.
We start in
What’s it all about?
It’s about a hard challenge, and raising as much money as possible for some seriously worthwhile, relevant causes. For example, Help for Heroes. With everything that's going on in
The ride will also raise money for Cancer Research; over the 24 days we'll be cycling, 17,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the
How's the fundraising going?
Well, we have seven core riders who are doing the whole thing and, in keeping with the teamwork ethic of
The idea is that Sports Relief will get £500,000 and the other charities will get the other £500,000. There are also a number of other initiatives on the go. For example, the spicy Dallaglio Diablo Pizza is going on sale at Pizza Expresses across the
How can the public help?
Who's cycling with you?
A number of sportsmen and women, including a lot of rugby players – after all it is the Six Nations so I thought I’d call on the help of some of my former colleagues! There's Diego Domínguez in Italy, Raphael Ibanez in France, Keith Wood in Ireland, Kenny Logan in Scotland, Jonathan Davies in Wales and Will Greenwood from England, among others.
But it isn’t just the rugby lot. With it being Sport Relief we have a number of other athletes, such as Lee Dixon, Sir Les Ferdinand, Michael Vaughan, James Cracknell and Sir Ian Botham. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of other celebrities from the world of entertainment too.
What's going to be the hardest part?
Probably the first two legs –
Have any of your skills from rugby been transferable to cycling?
The best one is that I'm very used to pain! And I'm not used to giving up. My rugby career was all about achieving goals and targets, and doing that in a group with a huge sense of fun. That's something I can bring to this. This isn't something I'm doing alone; this isn't a one man crusade.
The strapline of the Dallaglio Foundation has always been Powerful Together, and that's what this is about. We're achieving a pretty satisfying objective through a group, and raising some much-needed funds for some incredibly worthwhile causes.
Speaking of pain, have you suffered any injuries through training?
Not yet – the weather hasn’t been hugely helpful for training though! We haven’t managed to train an enormous amount over the past few weeks. We've put together a great support team to help us, though. I’ve already had about nine operations through rugby so I don’t intend on having any more! Of course, safety is paramount for myself and all the riders. But I’m thinking more about sitting in the saddle for 24 days – I reckon that might be quite painful.
I see from your blog that you were in
Yes, we have Nike on board and they've kindly kitted out all the riders, which is great. They’ve kitted out the likes of Lance Armstrong before, so I’m sure us amateur cyclists will be fine.
From my ride in the
The weather could be a factor as riding in winter conditions is quite different from cycling the
Are there any other things that as a larger gentleman you've found difficult with cycling?
Giant are supporting us on the bike front and clearly they have huge experience and expertise. Their technical support is invaluable to our trip. I’ll be riding their Tour de France bike from last year, a TCR. It’s suited to a larger man so it’s perfect for my stability.
Of course, with the backing from Pizza Express and their Dallaglio Diablo tempting our riders across the UK, this could be the first cycle that we end up heavier when we get back than when we left!
Support Lawrence Dallaglio and his fellow cyclists as they embark on this mammoth ride by donating via www.dallagliocycleslam.com. Net proceeds will be shared equally between Sport Relief and the Dallaglio Foundation.