*Story and photos by Mead Norton
In October, Kelly Shrimpton is taking on an impressive challenge–riding 31 kilometres through Rotorua’s Redwood forest each day in October to help raise money for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer foundation. She is hoping to raise $10,000 in honour of her partner Nick, who died suddenly of Lymphoma at the age of 31. What’s even more impressive is that she is relatively new to mountain biking, only starting to ride seriously a year ago. Her plan to ride almost 1000 kilometres in a month is a big task for even an experienced cyclist.
To help her prepare for the challenge that she has set, she has really started to train seriously. Over the summer months, Kelly was out riding four or five times a week and averaging about 20km a ride. With winter’s lack of daylight, she is spending less time out on the trails and more time on the wind trainer (which she has a love/hate relationship with), but still gets out a few times a week to hit the trails.
One of the hardest things Kelly has found since taking on this challenge has been talking about Nick losing his battle with Lymphoma in 2006. She has wanted to help raise money to support research and people who are affected by this disease for a while, but was not sure how to go about it. June 25 was Nick’s birthday, and his memory really weighed on her this year. To cheer herself up, she left work early to go for a ride in the forest and that is where she came up with idea for the ride.
Something that has really surprised Kelly is the amount of support she has gained from the local mountain bike community. Not only does she have support from local shops and businesses, but lots of people have already volunteered to join her on her October rides to help keep her motivated when the last thing she will want to do is go for another 31km ride.
100% of the donations she receives will go directly to Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand, who are committed to improving the quality of life for patients and their families by providing patient support services, research, information, awareness and advocacy. They do not receive any government funding, relying on voluntary donations.
You can find out more at www.facebook.com/31Ksfor31Days and make a donation at www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/31Ksfor31Days. Anyone keen to come along for a ride in October should keep an eye out on the Facebook page.