Landscape designer Chris Beardshaw goes for the Wiggo double
by Rhiannon James
Not content with a gold medal in 2012, Chris Beardshaw is now aiming to emulate Bradley Wiggins’ other success by taking on a gruelling 485-mile cycling race across the Alps next week to raise money for Arthritis Research UK.
The landscape designer, who clinched the top medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year and who suffers from arthritis himself, is taking part in the seven-day Haute Route, described as one of the toughest amateur cycling events in the world.
Starting out from Geneva this Sunday, Beardshaw and his Gloucester-based road cycling team will cover 19 Alpine cols, 21,000 metres of ascent and part of the Tour de France route, before finishing in Nice on the following Saturday.
“I think most people will be very surprised by the high numbers of people that are affected by arthritis in this country. I know from my own diagnosis many years ago that it doesn’t spell the end of being able to enjoy what you love doing. I have learnt to manage my condition and one of the most important ways for me to do so is with regular exercise, my biggest love and passion undoubtedly being road cycling. To take part in the Haute Route and even just to get to the starting line is a huge achievement for me and I am really looking forward to riding,” says Beardshaw.
He has been training intensively for the last year, riding his bike or running for more than an hour each day. By starting at 5am, he even managed to keep to this rigorous schedule during the build of his RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden in May.
If you’d like to help Chris raise funds for Arthritis Research UK there is a just giving page http://www.justgiving.com/ChrisBeardshawHauteRoute or visit his website www.chrisbeardshaw.com