James Harvey (Rider)

I’m a breast surgeon at the Nightingale Centre in the University Hospital of South Manchester. My day job is as a breast surgeon and a breast cancer surgeon and forming breast reconstructions for women having mastectomies. I have the pleasure of supporting women and helping them and their families through very difficult times in their lives and giving that support gives me huge pleasure. As part of my job role, I also help Prevent Breast Cancer, which is a charity supporting breast cancer prevention and early diagnosis. It is a small charity that funds quality research that belies the small and local nature of the charity which is imbedded in the Manchester community.

Having said all this, i have had sport in my life and I am incredibly driven. Clearly that drive has driven my choice of job but also driven me to complete extreme sports. I live in the Peaks District so that I could in my evenings do what I love to do and get into the hills and run. I have completed Ultramarathons including the Ultra Tour of Mont Blanc which is a 110 mile race around Mont Blanc with 10,000 metres of climbing. I think what I do in my spare time is normal but others think it is extreme.

Tom got me into cycling in 2016. I hadn’t been on a bike since I was a teenager, well I had ridden a bike once about age 30 when I chose to go cycling around the Newcastle coast with a friend and it was so windy I got blown off my bike. Tom and I cycled from London to Paris with the charity [Prevent Breast Cancer] and then around the Italian Alps in 2017. I adored these trips, they were hugely fun, very social and raised money for charity. However, Tom and I are similar in that we like sport to hurt and to be a challenge so after our Italian Alps cycle we wanted something harder. I think a google search took me to “hardest cycling race on the planet”  and that was Race Across America. It sounded like fun and after very little (no) convincing Tom agreed it was an awesome idea!

We wanted to Race Across America because it will be the biggest physical challenge either of us will undertake. Doing it as a pair means we are also completely reliant on the other ones fitness and mental toughness, we know we have to complete it for the charity to raise important funds. Its also an opportunity to get a group of people together for a social challenge of spending two weeks in each other pockets travelling across America in a couple of cars, and to foster relationships with new partners including corporate supporters.

Like Tom, my training has already begun. I feel the most important of the challenge is regular nutrition, so I’ve already started eating in preparation.