Ian Mitchell with his medal at the Ride 100 London event

Are you sitting comfortably? Spare a thought for Ian Mitchell – he’s in the saddle right now – pedalling his way from London to Barcelona. 

Ian’s gruelling 1,200 mile bike ride challenge begins today (13 August). It will take ten days and all the grit and determination he has.

Since training began Ian has dropped a stone in weight but the pounds have kept piling in – to his fundraising account that is.

We caught up with Ian before he set off to find out more about the ride and why he’s doing it.

What made you want to take on this challenge and raise money for the British Red Cross?

“I recently saw firsthand what an amazing organisation the Red Cross is. My son was on a coach that crashed in Belgium, where tragically one of the drivers was killed. Thankfully, my son and the majority of his school friends escaped with minor injuries.

“The Belgian Red Cross was there to provide emergency support for the teachers and children. When I went to collect him they provided food and drinks for the families as well.

“I was also inspired by my mother, Janet. Before she died she volunteered for many years with the local Red Cross in Maldon, Essex. During her time with the organisation she made many friends. She always spoke about how working with the Red Cross gave her the opportunity to help others in our community, which she enjoyed immensely.”

Ian also works for Guy Carpenter, a company raising over £250,000 to help people in UK emergencies through a partnership between Marsh and McLennan and the British Red Cross.

How much money have you raised so far?

“My original goal was to raise £5,000. However, I have been blown away by the generosity of my friends and family and I have already exceeded that amount. I am well on my way to reaching £7,000.” Visit Ian’s fundraising page.

How are you feeling about the ride?

“I was nervous when I decided to do it. I’ve never attempted anything like this before and I will be cycling on my own. I’m feeling more confident now that I’ve done my final training ride – I’m ready to get on the road.”

In the last seven months Ian’s clocked up 4,000 miles in training. He completed his final training session last week, smashing the Ride London 100 event in four hours and 37 minutes – 45 minutes faster than his previous best.

“My main focus now is on the money I will be raising, the lives that it may save and the people it may help.”

During the ride you’re going to be burning 7,000 calories a day. What does your diet look like?

oats fruits and nuts

“Sadly it’s not all burgers and doughnuts. I’ve been on a strict diet since January.

“For breakfast, porridge, nuts and seeds provide slow-release energy. And in the evenings it’s healthy dinners of brown rice, chicken and fish.

“I’m looking forward to treating myself to a glass of champagne when I get to Barcelona!”