Jac­qui Robert­son took on a road trip with a dif­fer­ence – and all for a great cause

Jac­qui Robert­son took a road trip with a dif­fer­ence. Yvonne Mcken­zie finds out more.

The People's Friend - - News -

WHEN Jac­qui Robert­son first found out about the “Women v Can­cer” event, she felt com­pelled to take part.

The 250-mile cy­cle from Lon­don to Paris raises funds for three women’s can­cer char­i­ties, in­clud­ing Breast Can­cer Care, a cause close to her heart.

“A good friend of mine is in re­mis­sion after a brave and hard-fought bat­tle against breast can­cer, and it was dev­as­tat­ing watch­ing her go through this,” Jac­qui ex­plains.

“I also worked in Roxburghe House in Dundee, a pal­lia­tive care unit, dur­ing my train­ing as a nurse, and it’s an amaz­ing place full of in­spir­ing peo­ple. Tak­ing on this chal­lenge al­lowed me to do my bit to help out.”

Tack­ling the 250-mile course wasn’t an easy feat.

“Prior to re­cently tak­ing up cy­cling again, the last time I was on a bike it prob­a­bly had sta­bilis­ers on!

“My reignited in­ter­est in cy­cling came about through sus­tain­ing an in­jury at the gym which led to spinal surgery.

“After my re­cov­ery I was wary of ex­er­cise, but thought cy­cling might be a good all-round ac­tiv­ity. Be­fore I knew it I was hooked, and I signed up for Women v Can­cer.

“Through­out the three days of the chal­lenge there were tears, tantrums – mainly when we saw an­other hill! – and a bar­rel-load of laughs.

“The girls I rode with shared per­sonal sto­ries, and we all gelled in a way I never knew was pos­si­ble. Those girls kept me go­ing.

“Cud­dles were dished out when things got tough – and they did get very tough.

“Day one was the Lon­don to Portsmouth leg, which was nearly seventy-five miles. In the first sev­en­teen miles I thought I’d bit­ten off more than I could chew, as it was par­tic­u­larly hilly. I felt ready to quit al­most from the start.

“It didn’t help that on the jour­ney down there the car broke down, mean­ing I didn’t ar­rive at the Lon­don ho­tel for the start­ing point un­til two a.m. on the day of the race, so was tired be­fore I even started.

“I was right at the back, and at one point it was only my­self and one of the group lead­ers. The sup­port staff had been watch­ing me as they drove be­hind, and one asked if I had ever had prob­lems with my spine.

“I couldn’t be­lieve he had picked up on this. He made a few ad­just­ments to the sad­dle height, and what a dif­fer­ence it made.

“It was still tough, but it helped me to con­tinue. I cried when I reached Portsmouth!”

The sec­ond day was a flat­ter ride from Caen to Évreux, cov­er­ing nearly 85 miles.

“The scenery was in­cred­i­ble. One of the first sights was the Pe­ga­sus Bridge.

“It was a beau­ti­ful and sunny ride, but later in the morn­ing I suf­fered pain in the balls of my feet, which got worse as the day wore on. I have never felt pain like it, and ar­riv­ing in Évreux was a huge re­lief.

“The fi­nal leg to Paris cov­ered nearly ninety miles. The scenery was beau­ti­ful, but hilly. As the morn­ing wore on, the pain in my feet in­ten­si­fied – so much so that I was in floods of tears and had to stop.

“Sup­port staff tried ad­just­ing my bike and, thank­fully, it eased the pres­sure off my feet enough for me to carry on.

“In a strange way, this gave me the boost I needed, and I found my­self tak­ing on hills that I would nor­mally fear.

“My sense of achieve­ment es­ca­lated. Each time I pushed through the pain and men­tal bar­ri­ers, I re­minded my­self that I have friends and fam­ily who have fought, or are fight­ing, can­cer.

“An in­cred­i­ble sup­port was read­ing the mes­sages I had from loved ones on Face­book. I don’t think any­one will ever know just how much those mes­sages kept me on the road.

“Ar­riv­ing in Paris was phe­nom­e­nal. We were met with cheers and ap­plause, and I cried when my part­ner Dougie and his son met me at the fin­ish line.

“I’ve raised more than £2,200 by tak­ing part in Women v Can­cer, and money is still com­ing in via my Just­giv­ing page.

“I gen­uinely think that this cy­cle, even with all its ups and downs, has made me a bet­ter per­son.” ■

Jac­qui with her fel­low cy­clists.

Jac­qui still has time for a smile!

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