More about me, db

My name is Damian Burgess, I'm 35, originally from Caerphilly near Cardiff but late last year moved to Llandre near Aberystwyth with my wife who is originally from the area. I run my own business Red Squirrel Marketing that help businesses all over Wales with their marketing and design needs, I'm lucky enough to have many clients in Ceredigion too.

I started cycling June 2021, gyms were closed and my local gym then, UFit in Cardiff lent me an indoor bike to stay active during lockdown. When it was time to return the bike I thought I should get myself a bike to keep me active, a friends of mine in South Wales were keen cyclists and family and friends in Aberystwyth were all keen cyclists too so it made sense to finally get a bike of my own.

After a few months of cycling I was hooked, challenging myself to go further or faster each ride, to scout out local climbs like the Rhigos and the Tumble in South Wales or places like Nant Y Moch or Rob Rugs Hill in West Wales. So I wanted to really test myself on a bike and challenge myself to something that would push me and focus my training, I came across pro rider Lachlan Morten and his efforts in the GB Duro, video on my website , and as soon as I saw it I thought that's the challenge for me.

The GB Divide route which is used in the GB Duro spans 2000km with just under 30,000 metres of climbing, it's not a race, just a challenge to finish the route. It is all unsupported so no team car or pre booking accommodation, you can camp each night or stay at a hotel on the off chance there are vacancies or ride through the night. You can stop for food and supplies as much as needed but the route does go off road as well as on road so some segments ride though hills and through rivers for 40km between towns or villages.

I aim to complete the ride in 10 days or so, averaging 200km every day, obviously this is a big push, there may be need of a rest day in the middle or a day where I only completed a small distance. Also the weather will play a huge part too, fingers crossed for a mild and dry July and of course a headwind all the way too.

I have to thank all my sponsors who have helped me so far with this challenge, Watch Obsession in Aberystwyth have sponsored me with a gravel bike for the challenge, Caffi Gruff run by pro cyclist Gruff Lewis is another sponsor as well as many others who have supplied me with equipment or nutrition in the build up to the epic ride. Also a thank you to those who have donated already, it is an ambitious target I want to reach but all the money is going to two worthwhile charities.

I'm doing this challenge to raise money for two amazing charities, British Heart Foundation and Mind Mental Health.

I chose BHF because heart and circulatory disease still kills 1 in 4 in the UK and I know many people who it has affected, helping this charity can hopefully keep hearts beating young and old.

Mind mental health is another charity I have chosen because mental health still isn't spoken about enough, we speak about it more now than we ever have but it is still misunderstood by many. Hopefully raising awareness and money for this charity will also encourage conversation around mental health, your own and the mental health of your friends and family.