Tech manager among first to complete charity’s 1,000-mile cycling challenge

16 January 2018

A technology company senior manager and keen cyclist has smashed his 1,000-mile challenge raising money for dementia research in honour of his dad who inspired him to take up the sport.

Phil Talbot, from Ludgershall in Buckinghamshire, was inspired to take part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cycling Down Dementia challenge because his father died with Alzheimer’s disease and his mum has been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Phil Talbot

The initiative, which launched at the beginning of November, challenges cyclists to ride either 300 or 1,000 miles before the end of January and raise £150 for pioneering dementia research.

Phil, who is Head of Global Manufacturing & Supply Chain for nanotechnology development company P2i, based at Milton Park in Oxfordshire, was among the first 10 riders to complete the 1,000-mile challenge and he now hopes to reach 2,000 miles before the end of the month.

The 48-year-old is a member of Bicester Millennium Cycling Club and taking part in Cycling Down Dementia is providing excellent training as he prepares for a race season following a long break from competitive cycling.

The challenge and cause are particularly poignant for Phil as his dad, Peter, introduced him to cycling as a teenager and his encouragement helped him reach a high level in the sport, including earning a place in the British junior squad.

He said:

“We did everything together on our bikes. He took me across the country and into Europe and helped me become one of the top junior riders in the country. I owe so much of it to my dad.

“Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly after he retired. It was an extremely difficult time.

“It all a bit hazy now. It was almost like he was fine one day and the next day was just not cognisant of anything. I’m sure there was a reasonable time between that, but looking back it just not clear to me. Maybe mentally I was trying to block it out because I was losing my dad and my best friend.

“I do remember the awful decision my mum had to take that she just couldn’t cope anymore and to put him in a care home.

“It’s seven years since dad passed away and now my mum has dementia. We’re a bit more prepared now, but it’s still very difficult.”

Phil Talbot and dad Peter

Phil quit cycling when he was 19 after he broke his elbow when he was hit by a lorry. He got back into the sport around five years ago but in 2016 had another bad accident, fracturing his pelvis and shoulder. He’s now back to full fitness and is looking forward to competing this year.

He said:

“I’m doing about 200 miles a week for Cycling Down Dementia which is about a 30 per cent increase on my normal training.

“My commute to work is a 52-mile round trip, which is a good distance although it’s tough terrain. I ride to work and then train at various intensities on the way home.

“Cycling Down Dementia has given me that extra motivation to get out on my bike when I might think it’s too cold or too wet to go out.”

Phil has so far raised around £600 to help the charity fund life-changing dementia research. To sponsor him go to https://cycling-down-dementia-the-epic-challenge-1000-miles.everydayhero.com/uk/all-in-a-good-cause-phil-talbot

Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events Manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Congratulations to Phil for completing the 1,000 miles so quickly and we wish him the best of luck in trying to reach 2,000 miles.

“There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this number is set to rise. That is why it’s so important that we work together to end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. The vital funds raised by Phil and the hundreds of people taking part in Cycling Down Dementia will power world-class dementia research projects helping to shape our understanding of the condition and open the door to new treatments.”

For more information about Cycling Down Dementia go to www.cyclingdowndementia.org

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org