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Marathon cyclist owes it all to beetroot juice

PUBLISHED: 10:32 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:55 13 July 2010

Robert Dale who cycled from Blakeney to Biarritz for Big C.

Robert Dale who cycled from Blakeney to Biarritz for Big C.

A charity cyclist biked from Blakeney to Biarritz to raise big bucks for Big C - boosted by bottles of beetroot juice.

Chartered surveyor Robert Dale cycled 764 miles through England and France to raise £1,500 for the Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity, swigging beetroot juice along the way for its stamina-boosting powers.

Sponsor Robert Dale's marathon cycle

A charity cyclist biked from Blakeney to Biarritz to raise big bucks for Big C - boosted by bottles of beetroot juice.

Chartered surveyor Robert Dale cycled 764 miles through England and France to raise £1,500 for the Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity, swigging beetroot juice along the way for its stamina-boosting powers.

The feat of endurance began on August 21 and took eight days, with Mr Dale cycling alone for up to 11 hours a day to reach his destination. He cycled 240 miles from Blakeney to Portsmouth, took a ferry to St Malo, and travelled through Brittany and down the French coast to Biarritz.

He trained for the ride by doing the 45-mile round trip from home in Briningham, near Holt, to work at construction consultants Daniel Connal in Norwich up to three times a week.

Mr Dale, who celebrated his 44th birthday on Wednesday, said: “I always meant to do 100 miles on a weekend but I never quite got round to it, so I was quite worried.”

A month before the ride, Mr Dale, who has been cycling seriously for seven years, read about a study suggesting beetroot juice could boost stamina and endurance, so he began to drink it regularly - half a litre every day.

He said: “I swear by it now. I don't know if it worked but you never know what you would be like without it.”

Mr Dale's wife Emma, a 42-year-old teacher at Beeston Hall, helped with his gruelling schedule by driving ahead of him through France to set up camp and organise food, but he completed most of the cycling entirely alone.

“I quite enjoyed that when you are going long distances it is that perfect isolation in beautiful countryside,” he said. “It's a good escape from the busy world.”

Mr Dale had to constantly adjust his route to account for traffic and local conditions, and he eventually biked 100 miles further than his original estimate.

“I wanted to raise money for a local charity, and I really wanted it to be a cancer charity,” he said. “My mother Jeanne died four years ago after a 20-year battle with cancer.”

Mrs Dale was diagnosed with breast cancer when Mr Dale was 15, and beat the illness twice over the next 18 years. She moved to Sheringham with his father Tony five years ago, but shortly afterwards the cancer returned. This time it spread to her brain and she was given palliative care at Kelling hospital until she died.

“My father still lives in Shering-ham,” said Mr Dale. “Initially he couldn't really understand what I was doing, but when I was speaking to him while it was happening he was very proud with what I had done.

“He said he thought that my mother would have been very proud.”

To sponsor Robert Dale visit www.justgiving.com/robert-dale.

Sponsor Robert Dale's marathon cycle


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