11th Dec, 2016

Solihull cycling enthusiasts to cross 'Death Valley' for charity

Shaun Reynolds 14th Nov, 2015 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A CYCLING enthusiast from Solihull is pedalling his way across the United States’ ‘Death Valley’ to raise funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.

Paul Heath, 46, will cover a nearly 400 kilometres in five days – concluding on November 14.

Located in Eastern California, the valley is the hottest and driest area of North America – and also renowned for being home to one of the toughest cycle routes in the world.

An employee at Phoenix Group – which has raised over £280,000 for the Midlands and London’s Air Ambulance charities to date – Paul admitted that saying his challenge will be difficult is a huge understatement.

Paul added: “I’ve been riding my bike for anywhere between 20 to 40 miles four times a week, supplemented with strength and endurance sessions in the gym.

“I’ve also been sitting in a sauna to get use to the hot, dry environment – the difference is that you can escape a sauna if you want – in the Valley you can’t.”

The fundraiser states that the hardest part of his challenge will be on days two and three – which will contain 100miles of cycling and 5,000ft of climbing within the first 25 miles of cycling on both days.

The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity provides advanced trauma teams to critically injured patients.

Having made a visit to London’s Air Ambulance helipad in September – who Paul will also be raising money for – Paul said he felt privileged to have met the folk who dedicate their time to help save lives.

He added: “I didn’t really give too much thought to the small difference my challenge might make before this – here I saw how it will help first hand and now I am in awe.”

A spokesperson on behalf of London’s Air Ambulance and Midlands Air Ambulance Charity said:

“Our partnership with Phoenix Group and the commitment of their staff has been significant in helping us save more lives.

“We are staggered by their support, and on behalf of all of us at both charities, we wish Paul the best of luck on his brave challenge.”

For more information, visit www.deathvalleybear.com