A cyclist from a North East Wales-based self-storage company is to tackle a gruelling 186-mile overnight cycle race in Sweden this summer to raise money for a hospice charity.
Nick Powell, from Lock Stock, who have sites in Wrexham, Saltney, Flint and Mold, one of the UK’s largest containerised storage companies, will take on the Vatternrundan – 300 kilometres around the shores of Lake Vattern – in June.
It’s a cause that’s particularly close to the heart of Nick, a director of Lock Stock, because his elder brother, Simon, lost a long battle with cancer at the age of 57 and his mother, Jean, has also had the disease.
He will be raising money for St Kentigern’s Hospice, in St Asaph, in what is the world’s largest recreational cycle ride and Nick, sporting the company’s green and gold Lock Stock colours, will join over 25,000 cyclists on an overnight lap round the huge lake, the fifth largest in Europe.
Nick said: “St Kentigern’s is a local charity that we at Lock Stock have huge support for.
“It is particularly important to us as our family have experienced some hard times due to cancer.
“Our mum survived a battle with cancer but unfortunately our brother, Simon, didn’t. After a long 10-year battle with cancer he died at the age of 57 so we really appreciate the good work being done at St Kentigern’s and any sponsors would be greatly appreciated.”
Nick, from Denbigh, is a director of the family-run company which operates 16 self-storage sites across North and Mid Wales and the borders, from Bangor to Shrewsbury, where Lock Stock have over 2,000 shipping containers for customers.
He warmed up for the trip to Sweden by taking part in the 100-mile Marches Sportive, from Ludlow in Shropshire to Clun, in Powys, and back, and is currently doing up to 200 miles a week in training for the Swedish trip.
He said: “It’s very popular and it’s very well organised. They send you out in groups of 10 to 15 with special electronic markers on your helmet to record your time.
“There are feed stations along the way and you cycle through the night though at that time of the year so far north that means about two to three hours of semi-darkness.
“I did it last year in about 12 hours and it would be good to beat that time and raise some money for St Kentigern’s.
“It’s tough and the best riders can do it in about eight hours but it’s enjoyable too. The scenery is wonderful and the lake is very picturesque and there’s an amazing atmosphere among the riders.”
Nick is often accompanied on his training rides by colleague Stuart Bowker, Lock Stock Operations Manager, who lives in Leadworks, in Chester and has just overseen the opening of Lock Stock’s latest storage park at Flint.
He is also an experienced cyclist and is also stepping up his road work for another special cycle event later this year.
Stuart had been due to ride in Chester’s Ride Above Sportive last year with cycling legend Mark Cavendish, the former world champion and record 26-time Tour De France stage winner.
He said: “I’ve done a lot of cycling, particularly around North Wales, and have done the London to Brighton.
“I was all set to ride in last year’s Mark Cavendish event from Chester in August when I had my bike stolen and had to miss out.
“I’m down to ride in it again this summer and I’m really looking forward to it – and I’m keeping the bike in the spare room.”
Lock Stock are one of Wales’s fastest-growing companies with 16 sites across North and Mid Wales and the Border Counties and also operate a van-hire business, Take Stock, from its three main hubs at Llandudno, Chester and Rhyl – they also sell fireworks at Chester and Llandudno.
They are backing Nick and their in-house designer has even come up with a special kit in their green and gold livery for this and future events.
The company are also planning to sponsor local cyclists, supporting them with equipment, entry fees and charity donations and they are keen to hear from cyclists in North Wales and the Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick added: “Cycling is so popular now and British cycling has had such a boost from the exploits of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas and I’m sure there is plenty of young talent in our area.
“We’d be keen to hear from them and help them and perhaps we could help groom a future Tour De France champion here – we’ve got the mountains for it.”
To support Nick go to https://www.justgiving.com/Nick-Powell-Vatternrundan