Accounts Assistant Sheila Coad has worked for The Myton Hospices since January 2016 but her relationship with Myton goes back more than 16 years to 2000, when her father-in-law was cared for by Myton. If you’d have told Sheila then that she would show her appreciation and support for Myton by going on to raise thousands of pounds by cycling she wouldn’t have believed you, and now here she is signing up for her fifth Myton Cycle Challenge. We asked Sheila to share her incredible journey.
In 2011 I was at a low point in my life, I was unfit, working long hours and spending too much time on the road, I was really unhappy with my work/life balance.
I saw the Myton Cycle Challenge advertised and in a moment of madness I signed up to do it. Originally I thought “it would be nice to raise some money for Myton as they do so much for local people at such difficult times in their lives” and “how hard can it be to ride a bike?!” Myton holds a special place in my heart, for the fantastic support they gave to my father-in-law (David Coad) and our family back in early 2000.
At the beginning I struggled to ride a mile without collapsing because I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my legs were killing me.
Luckily I have a determined streak and I wasn’t going to be beaten! I completed that original 30 mile ride on my sturdy mountain bike and I was left with such an amazing buzz that I decided this was going to be my way of getting my fitness back.
From there I started to build up my fitness aiming for longer distances (by this time I had a ‘racer’ – people of a certain age will know what I mean!) on a road bike.
In 2015 I decided to do the ‘biggie’ – 80 miles.
Yet again people looked at me like I had lost my mind, at this point, even after losing a bit of weight; I was still what people would describe as a ‘large lady’. The ride itself was a massive challenge, all was going well until 60 miles in and I was beginning to lose my faith in completing it. Such is the atmosphere on these rides that another rider encouraged me all the way home – this mature gentleman was such an inspiration to me.
Cycling is now a very important part of my life.
I have taken part in the Myton Cycle Challenge five times now and only missed last year’s event as I did RideLondon which was on the same day. I have done RideLondon twice and completed two Century rides (100 miles) – one of them was through the night!
My new found fitness has also inspired me to take on other challenges, in 2014 I did the Myton Malawi Challenge and I would thoroughly recommend everyone to do one of these challenges in their lifetime.
I also climbed 1,367 feet at the Horseshoe Pass in Wales. This year as well as the Myton Cycle Challenge I will be doing the Coast to Coast, London to Paris and Birmingham 100 cycle rides.