Former Dannevirke man, Colin (Wal) Anderson today begins pedalling a gruelling 1000km around the Marlborough Sounds in memory of his mate, the late Martin Beveridge.
A glutton for punishment, veteran enduro cyclist Anderson (66) is six years on from his prostate cancer surgery in 2008 and has just been signed off following heart surgery, but along with 15 others he's geared up to endure two nights and more than two full days in the saddle, including what he knows will be a chilly and windy experience around the back of Queen Charlotte Sound at night.
"The hospital told me they don't want to see me again and the stent is doing what it's supposed to," Anderson told the Dannevirke News.
"So I'm ready to go."
Anderson, a Palmerston North postie, is tackling the 1000km Forrest Grape Ride in Marlborough for his old friend from Dannevirke.
"I've dedicated this ride to Moana and Martin, because of the bloody tragedy of Martin's death from cancer last year," he said. "When I was first diagnosed with cancer myself it was scary ... and now six years on, I'm making the most of all the opportunities I can, raising money for young people with cancer through CanTeen, along the way.
"Yep, you could say I'm back in the fray with a real purpose now Moana and her family have allowed me to dedicate this ride to Martin's memory. It will sure give me an added incentive and motivation through all of the hard spots of the ride I know I'll have to endure.
"I've been lucky I can choose my challenges, those CanTeen members aren't so lucky."
Mrs Beveridge said she was overwhelmed and honoured Anderson wanted to dedicate his ride to her late husband.
"Colin's such an amazing man, he's a machine," she said.
"It's 11 months since Martin passed away, but it's almost as though he's still here with us and he'll be smiling down on us all, including Colin, right now."
Mrs Beveridge said Martin enjoyed taking part in Marlborough's Grape Ride too and she's delighted to have been able to donate towards the cause in support of Anderson.
"As a family we've been supported by friends and the community since Martin's death and although I'd love to be there with Colin, I can't, so contributing to the cause is one way of supporting him."
Anderson said as well as his regular postie round, he's had his training covered with his normal 100km bike rides.
"Training has been a tad mixed because of last year's hold-up [heart surgery] but all is on track now and I reckon to giving this challenge my full attention," he said.
"I took part in a 115km fun ride at Pahiatua last weekend and then rode home to Palmerston North, but I've got to think more of my recovery these days. As the oldie of the field today I'll be giving 30 to 35 years to some of the other riders."
Already more than $1000 has been pledged to Anderson for his 1000km endurance effort - $500 of that from Martin Beveridge Ltd painters.
"I'd love others to get on board and help those young people with cancer by sponsoring my ride," Anderson said.
Go to fundraiseonline.co.nz/1000kmgraperide/
If you live in New Zealand your donation is tax deductible and a receipt will be issued.