When COVID-19 rained on Corinne’s plans to cycle from Milan to Venice with us in 2020, this Women V Cancer warrior wouldn’t take giving up as an option. Breast Cancer Now, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust still needed support – and Corrine still itched to cycle.
Wasting no time, Corinne and two friends, Linda and Janice, all in their mid-sixties, planned their own Milan to Venice challenge to raise funds for Women V Cancer. They conquered the same distance, raised the same amount as the sponsorship target and even encountered canals. There was just one difference. They cycled in Scotland.
Inspired by their unshakable motivation to cycle and fundraise through the pandemic, we asked Corinne to share her story. Read on to see how they fared riding from Dundee to Inverness.
How it all began
I first found out about Women V Cancer through my friends, Linda and Janice. The Women V Cancer Cycle Milan to Venice challenge had caught their eye and they asked me to join them. We signed up together in November 2019, with sights to take on the challenge in May.
Blissfully ignorant of the pandemic soon to hit, we started training straight away. Janice lives in Forres, Linda lives in Glasgow and me in Aberdeen, so we mostly trained individually, but we managed training weekends together around Glasgow and Forres before the winter.
We cycled along the Forth Canal from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back in freezing conditions. Our training weekend in Forres was quite different with blue skies and very warm.
Fundraising for the challenge
Between our training rides, we busied ourselves raising funds for the three Women V Cancer charities, Ovarian Cancer Action, Breast Cancer Now and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
My fundraising consisted of having afternoon teas, some outside! We hosted a Burns supper for sixteen people and we had a “Bring and buy” garden plant sale (with cake), which proved to be a real boost to funds! Friends and family were very generous, everyone willing to donate to such a great cause!
I have in the past done a few Moonlight Walks in Edinburgh and Fraserburgh, also the Kilt walk, so I’m no stranger to a challenge, but never in Italy! As a team, we desperately wanted to do the Milan to Venice challenge together, but we’re all in our mid-sixties and when it was postponed, we didn’t want to wait.
We agreed that we would continue to ‘train hard and carry on’ in our own way, with the challenge in our own area.
Planning the route
Supported by my husband, I decided to cycle from Dundee to Inverness, as we found it to be the equivalent mileage of Milan to Venice. We had to wait for the lock-down restrictions to lift before we could travel and book accommodation.
This gave us a lot of time to plan our routes. We used Sustran and Ordinance survey maps for routes, trying to keep away from busy roads and traffic. We did our best to avoid hills as well, but sometimes, there was no escaping them.
We had checked out most of the sections as part of our training, especially routes avoiding busy intersections, so we were familiar with the route by the time we set off.
Overall, we cycled through and enjoyed some iconic Scottish views and historic fishing villages along the Moray coast, maybe not as exotic as Milan to Venice as we’d hoped, but we did find the Caledonian Canal at the end! It’s satisfying to say we did this challenge for great charities.
Follow in Corinne's tyre-tracks
Training and fundraising is tough amidst the constant bad and sad news and the lock-down restrictions, but if Corinne could do it, you can. The wind and rain may have been against her, not to mention the Scottish chill and hills, but she and her husband conquered that 213km ride with pride.
In doing so, while keeping up her fantastic fundraising, she raised an incredible £1895, plus gift aid of £441.25, overall totalling £2336.25 for the Women V Cancer charities.
Why not follow in Corinne's tyre-tracks and light up your lock-down with some fundraising and training yourself? For inspiration, you can check out our ten indoor training tips here and our ideas for fundraising during the pandemic here.