Trans-America charity ride in mums' memory

Pals take on epic challenge after losing mothers to cancer

Best buddies and rugby team mates Andrew Wyeth and Matt Dowse are undertaking a 3,000-mile bicycle ride across America in around just 12 days this July. 

They are doing it in memory of their mothers who both died of cancer and they hope to raise a massive £100,000 for leading UK blood cancer charity Leukaemia Research, The Royal Marsden Hospital and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The pair are aiming to cycle 200-250 miles a day at an average of 20 miles an hour - twice the distance professionals average during a day’s stage of the Tour de France.  The trip will also entail the small matter of 100,000 feet of ascent.  Starting in San Diego, the route will take Andrew and Matt through the deserts of California, over The Rockies, across the Great Plains, over The Appalachians, and finally to Atlantic City. They are aiming to complete the trip in 12-15 days of cycling, with two rest days built in.

Andrew, a teacher, and Matt, who works in the City, are spending all their free time in training at the moment, cycling wherever and whenever they can. As the summer draws closer and the nights get longer, they hope to ride for 100 miles a day consecutively in preparation. Indeed, they should be used to spectacular challenges by now - they cycled the 1,000-mile journey from Lands End to John O’Groats in eight days during the summer of 2005.

Andrew and Matt’s drive and determination is fuelled by personal tragedy. Gwyneth Wyeth, Andrew’s mum, suffered from myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and died in December 2001, aged 68. Andrew explains, “My mother sacrificed much, as most parents do, so that her children could grow up to enjoy their lives to the full. Leukaemia Research is a cause very close to my heart and I hope that by raising money, I can help future patients achieve a more successful outcome. “  

Matt’s mum, Pippa Dowse, was diagnosed with cancer of the womb in 2002, which she thought she had defeated. “She eventually lost her battle against cancer in May 2005 aged 66, but The Royal Marsden Hospital in London provided not only a great deal of expertise, but also support and compassion during tough times, “ he said.

Andrew, 40, coaches and Matt, 37, plays for National League 3 rugby team RosslynPark, based in South West London. Andrew played for RosslynPark when they were in the top flight of English rugby in the early 1990s. But when an Achilles injury ended his rugby career in 2004, he took up triathlons and this training should be invaluable for the punishing challenge that lies ahead.

Andrew and Matt are in need of one or two additional riders who are capable of covering 200 miles a day at an average of approximately 20mph. If you think you are up to the challenge, email USAc2c08@aol.com and get involved!

Online sport shop Wiggle (www.wiggle.co.uk) is supporting Andrew and Matt by donating all the bicycles and equipment they need for the challenge. They will also be hosting a blog of the pair’s progress. To sponsor Andrew and Matt in their fundraising efforts, visit their websites: www.justgiving.com/usacoast2coast2008 to donate to Leukaemia Research and www.justgiving.com/usac2c2008 to donate to The Royal Marsden.

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