PRIVATE PASSIONS

Published: 30/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5962 Page 36

Gavin Wilson, 37, is non-clinical risk manager for Northampton General Hospital trust and also part of a four-man team attempting to break the world record for the Race Across America cycle ride, which started on 21 June.

The team hopes to raise£10,000 for cardiovascular studies at Northampton General along the way.

'The current record stands at five days, eight hours and we hope to complete the 3,047 mile course, from San Diego to Atlantic City, two hours earlier, ' says Gavin. 'Each team member is an athlete in his own right and has competed at national level, mostly in triathlons (which is how we all met), so I am pretty confident that we can do this, but It is still going to be tough.

'We need to keep up a minimum pace of 24.5 miles per hour in order to do it.

But as It is a relay race, who knows what could happen? The toughest element will be cycling at high altitudes, but luckily we have been able to experience the effects this will have on our body at home thanks to a special machine that sucks some of the oxygen out of a room.

'We are all training hard for the race.

and usually cycle for five hours a day. I was up at 3am this morning cycling for a few hours before work. I do get sleepy come 4pm, but It is definitely worth the effort, as I am at the peak of my health. But It is the fundraising element that makes it really worthwhile.

'We have already raised£30,000 to pay for the team taking part, which includes hiring a 12-strong support crew, including chefs and bottle-washers, but being able to give something back to the hospital will be hugely satisfying. I hope we inspire others to do a similar thing.' To make a donation contact fundraising manager Mike Stone on 01604-634 700.