Eastbourne Paralymian, Joe Townsend, is to lead a team from Help for Heroes on the World’s toughest cycling challenge.
29-year-old Joe, lost both his legs whilst serving as a 40 Commando Royal Marine in Afghanistan in 2008, when he stood on an improvised explosive device. He spent 14 hours in surgery at Camp Bastion, before being flown home to the UK, where he spent five weeks in a critical care ward.
Now, he is to captain a team of eight wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel will take on one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the epic 3,081 mile Race Across America.
It is the world’s preeminent and longest running endurance cycling race and is considered by many to be the one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events. The riders are using the challenge as a recovery tool, as well as aiming to raise £100,000 for Help for Heroes as a way of giving back to a charity which has supported them since injury.
Starting in Oceanside, California competitors pass through 12 states, covering over 3,081 miles and climb in excess of 170,000 feet before finishing in Annapolis, Maryland. To achieve their seven-day target, the team will need to maintain an average speed of over 18.3 mph covering a minimum of 440 miles a day.
Joe, who competed for Team GB at the Paralympics in Rio 2016, said, “Sport has given me a purpose in life after having my career ripped away from me. It is the reason I get out of bed every morning, it’s my job and it shapes my choices in life. I love a challenge and having completed some of the toughest sporting challenges, I need to keep pushing myself. Post Rio 2016 I wanted to do something for myself because training for a 4 year cycle is incredibly hard, especially to keep motivated psychologically.
“I want another taste of the military humour and camaraderie that cannot be found in civilian life. I need a top up of this every now and again to remind me of how I operate as a person.”
You can sponsor Joe here.