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365

Days to go

570 days
6th July 2019

Mary’s Meals - Dyson Chitdowe

With only two full months left to train for this year’s quad, our training is underway.

My teammate Joe has a big advantage in one of the disciplines and thinks he is quite the Bradley Wiggins… Joe has been steadily training for the gruelling 34-mile cycle since signing up for the quad
last September. Joe has said, ‘I am really looking forward to the cycling element of the quad. Cycling to work every day has not only been a great way to fit more training into my schedule but has also helped me to find a new lovefor the sport.’

I, on the other hand, have had to relearn how to ride a bike! After some failed attempts, scuffed knees and tantrums I am finally on the bike and training.

During this challenge, I was reminded of Dyson Chitdowe from our film Generation Hope. Dyson is our school feeding monitor in Malawi and uses a motorbike to visit the schools. Dyson is an orphan who once ate our meals at school. He is now employed by Mary’s Meals as a motorbike monitor, roaming the district to perform spot checks on the schools. Dyson says that it was Mary’s Meals that made him go to school.

“I am the only member of my family that has done well in life” he says, serious and articulate. “And now I am supportingthe rest of them. My brother is 17 and just starting Year Two; I also support
my sister and her two children. It’s a challenge for me but I love doing it.”

When children asked Dyson about his job he told them how they too must work hard so that they can have a job and ride around on a motorbike. “I’m a role model and I take it very seriously,” he
says. “It’s one of my favourite things about my job. This is our new generation of leaders. They are bound to make things better.”

Dyson has helped me to remember that the challenges I face in preparation for the quadrathlon this July are small incomparison to those faced by many in the countries where we work. Our struggles
in the next few months will not go unnoticed as we help to give 1,230,171 children a route out of poverty.


Mercy Corps: Bikes Connecting Youth in Zaatari Refugee Camp

The last leg of the Quad is when you rely on you bike to get you over that finish line. Other people around the world rely on their bikes as well, but for different kinds of challenges.

Meet Yousef, a Syrian teenager living in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Zaatari is more than a camp; it’s a small city home to 80,000 refugees and spans two square miles. Where few own cars, buses are limited, taxis are too expensive and walking at length in the desert heat is dangerous, having a bike is a lifeline in the camp.

Bikes connect friends and families. People use bikes to commute to work and bikes themselves provide jobs through repair shops. In the Zaatari refugee camp, bikes allow movement and give people a sense of freedom, which can mean so much for those who are far from home and feel trapped in the camp.

Yousef uses his bike - amongst many things - to attend one of Mercy Corps’ youth centres, which serves as an informal school, gym and social centre for the camp’s young residents. Through the sports provided, such as football, weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, and aerobics, he has made friends, released stress and learned the value of positive thinking. For Yousef, these sports activities have given him a sense of hope he had all but lost: he has been inspired to become a sports coach when he grows up.

Your fundraising efforts can support activities such as these, which help young refugees cope with trauma, learn life skills and build healthy relationships. 34 miles on your bike may seem like a lifetime, but your determination can support individuals living in crisis with help that will have a lasting impact.


Bike - Training To Do List

Make sure you focus on these few things and the last 34 miles of the Quad will be a breeze….

1. Train the distance - Obvious one, but make sure you can cycle 34 miles. Training the distance and maybe longer will give you the mental strength of knowing you can do it and keep going to the end of the event.
2. Brick training - In the Quad you transition from kayaking to cycling. If you are in the fortunate position to be able to practice this then do it once a week. If not then try going from a rowing machine to cycling at the gym or from a hill walk into a cycle. You will be cycling on tired legs in the race so practice with 2 activities combined together to replicate this as best you can.
3. Hit the hills - Build that all important leg strength by riding hill repeats. These are tough to do by yourself so team up with your partner for this session. As part of a long cycle ride, find a hill that takes 3-5min to cycle up. Cycle hard uphill and slowly roll back down to recover, repeat 4 times the first time and add on an extra climb each session.
4. Bike fit - Make sure your bike is the right size for you, the saddle and handlebars are adjusted correctly and the seat is comfortable. Bikes are not one-size-fits-all! Take yours along to an expert to get fitted to your body shape and you’ll find training and racing much more enjoyable.
5. Nutrition - Being the last of the 4 Quad disciplines everyone will be running out of steam! Don’t forget to stay hydrated and keep eating your snacks or energy bars and gels. In training, be sure to practice what and how often you will eat on the bike and throughout the race. This will make the difference between enjoying the last few miles or hating every minute!


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