“I’ve done some training, but whether it's enough we’ll see… my biggest fear is the cold and riding at night… nothing prepares you for that…”
Boss Dean Ryan hits the road today (Thursday) for an epic charity challenge in aid of a former team-mate - Doddie Weir - and his foundation.
Ryan and ex-team-mates - Carl Hogg (Melrose & Scotland), Duncan Hodge (Watsonians & Scotland) and Craig Joiner (Melrose, Leicester & Scotland) - will cover over 500 miles in 48 hours as part of the ‘Melrose Falcons’ team.
They head off from Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium this morning for a special reason and cause.
“We're bringing the match ball to Cardiff from Edinburgh and as support for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation,” said Ryan.
“They created the Doddie Cup between Wales and Scotland and, as part of fundraising, awareness and support, they decided they'd bring the ball down and create teams to relay it down. Somebody bizarrely said they would do it within 48 hours!
“We'll leave Murrayfield and then, in teams of four, cover over 500 miles in the most effective way we can.
“We’re stopping at several rugby clubs - although I think stop is grab a bit of food and keep moving!
“I'm looking forward to it in a weird way and getting involved in an event which is a fantastic cause and great testimony to a good friend who's been incredibly brave during this period and raised a huge amount of money.”
Doddie Weir revealed in June 2017 he was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease (MND).
The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was established by Doddie and the trustees in response to his frustration at the lack of options given to MND sufferers.
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has so far ploughed £6.5m into MND research in the last four years, with hope that a breakthrough in treatment will be just around the corner, in time for Doddie, and to help the countless future victims of MND.
“I don't think anybody knows quite how they would behave in those situations,” added Ryan.
“To watch how driven he is, in terms of raising awareness and how targeted that money is, while at the same time have the challenges he has to face within his own life and his family. I don't think anybody cannot admire that resolve.”
Using a relay system, the teams of cyclists will aim to cover the distance before kick-off. And when not on the bike they will be aiming to get as much sleep as possible in the support vehicles.
“I’m riding with Duncan Hodge, Craig Joiner and Carl Hogg. Who's the engine? It will be interesting because we were trying to work out how to break up the ride!
“I think it's going to be impossible to get the big fellas on the downhill and the little fellas on the up! I'd imagine Craig's got most potential given his weight and size, but I think it's kind of between myself and Carl Hogg who's bringing up the rear!"
So is it a race? Ryan admits while he wants an element of competition he will wait to see what is in store.
“We had a zoom call last week and I said: ‘how are we working out how we are going to win this?’. That’s without even seeing the opposition,” he smiled.
“We've got to create some sort of competition, but I don't know how much of it will be a race come the end.
“I understand there's 20 teams involved and there's some great names,” he added.
“I know Mike Teague is going from Gloucester, there's a couple of Welsh and Scottish internationals so it's great to see what personalities are on there.
“That's testament to people being prepared to do something for Doddie, which is great. But I might hold the competition until I see what the opposition is like!
“I think we're in Newport around nine o'clock on Saturday, if all goes well, but there's a lot between there and Murrayfield,” he added.
“There is talk of an escort and where we will come back together as a group, so the last but we will do together.
“When we get to Cardiff some will go and do the media presentation and presentation of the ball. I think, by then, I'm looking forward to a few beers and watching the game!
“The biggest challenge will be riding in the cold and at night. Let's hope we can stay together because following a bicycle GPS in the middle of the night is going to be interesting.
“You get a great camaraderie with everybody and everybody's going through that same thing. I’m looking forward to it.
“I hope people can get behind the Melrose Falcons on our justgiving page. They've been fantastic support and we've exceeded what we thought we could raise, and everything goes to the Doddie Foundation which is fantastic.”
You get a great camaraderie with everybody and everybody's going through that same thing... I’m looking forward to it...