Now you may be wondering, “How’s the fundraising going?” Well, I have a multi-pronged strategy. Family and friends were pre-warned at Xmas to expect shameless emails begging for sponsorship early in 2009 and most responded that they would be happy to sponsor me (yet again).
Fundraising locally is much more of a challenge. Not that the French aren’t generous, they are very generous both with their money and their support. But raising funds for an American charity, fronted by a Texan, who’s won the Tour 7 times, is a tough call, even among cycling enthusiasts. Lance is not perceived as being sufficiently “sympa”.
My Livestrong mentor told me she has faced similar uphill battles raising funds in Germany. I’m not sure how Lance can turn this around as falling off his bike and breaking his collarbone into several bits hasn’t done the trick. Methinks he should take a leaf out of Contador’s book. Maybe something “courageaux” at this year’s Tour de France. Lance might like to reflect on the reasons behind M Poulidor’s popularity.
So in France, I am raising funds for the local branch of a national cancer charity, La Ligue Contre Cancer. I have had an excellent response from my club mates who have enthusiastically embraced the cause. I’m now hoping to spread this fervour to other cycling clubs and, indeed, other sporting clubs.
One or two people have wondered whether I might ape the recent efforts of Romain Mesnil (above) to find sponsorship. Frankly, if I looked as good as he does naked, I might be tempted. But I’m a firm believer in “if you’ve got it flaunt it, if not, keep it covered up”. So that’ll be a no then.