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Cycling marathon... weeks after testicular cancer surgery! 'It turns out that if you're advised to avoid anything strenuous then a 24-hour bike race probably isn't a good idea' - Richard Carter.

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@trinitymirror.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

WHEN Richard Carter was diagnosed with testicular cancer, cycling should have been the furthest thing from his mind.

Doctors dropped the bombshell when he was referred to hospital after a routine checkup on October 3, and they told him he'd be operated on that day.

The Guisborough accountant is a keen cyclist, and had a race set up in Wales a couple of weeks later - but was told in the strictest of terms to rest up for six weeks.

But as members of his race team began to drop out, and keen to get back in the saddle, the 35-year-old bravely battled through the pain barrier to take his place at the velodrome in Newport.

And amazingly, with the wound in his abdomen bleeding and dressings regularly needing to be changed, Richard's team narrowly claimed second place in the race and broke their own distance record in the gruelling 24 hour relay on October 21.

"It was quite painful," said an understated Richard, who lives with wife Kat.

"Obviously on the racing bikes you're quite hunched over and my wound was bleeding.

"Normally there are six people in the team and you're in a relay - we only had four which made it even more difficult. We had to cope with even more fatigue, and we only had an hour between legs so there was no time to sleep."

In an emotional Facebook post after the race, he wrote: "My eyes are still bloodshot sore lumps, it hurts to breathe, none of my muscles work and a wound I have from a recent surgery is very angry. It turns out that if you're advised to avoid anything strenuous then a 24 hour bike race probably isn't a good idea. Still we got through it."

After hoping for an unlikely top 10 finish, the team finished second and broke their Cyclone distance record which they'd earlier set in Manchester.

"I honestly, hand on heart couldn't have ridden any harder. At one point I finished my effort and was clinging on to the fence just shaking, I had NOTHING left to give, I could hardly even get off the bike," Richard continued.

But he said once he realised he was going to compete only two weeks and four days after his operation, Richard's focus was complete.

"I'd been approaching my peak fitness before the event, which made it even more frustrating when I thought I wouldn't be able to race," he continued.

"And it all happened so fast. We got a call to go to the hospital, it was a referral from a routine GP appointment. "I went in at 8am and by about 11am I'd found out I was having an operation that day. It was a shock, but it happened so quickly you don't have time to worry.

"But I'm competitive and I didn't want to be bed-ridden. In fact, I turned down a bed pan and made sure I walked to the toilet on my own - and timed myself, so I could keep breaking my record. I think I was a nightmare patient!" Richard, who coaches at Middlesbrough's velodrome, will now go for further tests to monitor his cancer, and is hoping to get back into training soon for his next cycling event in February.

CAPTION(S):

Richard Carter back home with wife Kat KATIE LUNN

Richard Carter taking part in the gruelling 24-hour relay cycling race just two weeks after a cancer operation CRANKPHOTO.CO.UK

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 30, 2017
Words:585
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