Freedom is a bicycle (FIAB) will be sponsoring Mr Joseph Caruana at the Alive challenge which will be held in Sicily
Freedom is a bicycle (FIAB) will be sponsoring Mr Joseph Caruana at the Alive challenge which will be held in Sicily between 1st and 6th May 2022. €2 from every FIAB purchase (Individual lessons and merchandise) will be donated to a minimum of €300 and hopefully more.
ALIVE Charity Foundation is the first charity foundation to raise funds for medical research in Malta and is also a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that raises funds for Cancer Research and Awareness.
We had a short conversation regarding Mr Joseph Caruana’s Sicily Challenge
We admire your courage and stamina, what was the main trigger to make you participate in such a challenge?
I wish to put my commitment to training to good use and what better way than for a cause that can help society in general. I started to try to live healthier quite late in my life following the demise of my father. But I try to encourage others by the example of my humble endeavours. A friend made me aware that we need to feel grateful for the time we are given on earth. Two years ago, I got inspired into running where I admired people of all stages in life that had the courage to attend running events. One can observe the elite as well as people that would walk it but a common sense of community was present. I would be encouraged to reach the finish line when I was about to dishearten myself. The same applies to cycling events. I am not a competitive person but every event I attend is a big achievement to me.
You will be raising funds for cancer research, what inspired you to choose this cause?
Throughout my life, I met with family members as well as friends/colleagues that succumbed to cancer. I wish to dedicate it to them all. I got touched by the fact that we have very good researchers in Malta who have to continue their work outside our shores due to lack of funds. I was impressed by the courage and enthusiasm of Alive committee members who have individuals that suffered cancer treatment multiple times but still stay positive.
From your personal point of view, what is your greatest achievement so far?
I tried running following a knee injury that I suffered for over 5 years. I was referred to Dr Danica Spiteri Bonello who treated my injury and then offered me a training running program to strengthen my legs. I liked it so much that I could step down without any fear of ache that I continued the running and joined a local club. Then Danica introduced me to Michelle Vella Wood to guide me into the triathlon. I started to learn cycling 8 years ago on my own so I still have so much to learn. I still have fears going downhill besides I fear swimming until now but this will be addressed. After trying my best in a 10km run, Michelle offered me to join Team Greens which was like winning the lottery to me. I deem Team Greens as the best elite cycling team. I am still not physically up to maintain their pace but I try to attend all cycling events where I manage to reach the finish line is a great achievement. But the greatest achievement of all was last year were with Team Elite in Sicily, I managed to cycle up 1000m over 80km and then do the return on a 130km 800m elevation ride.
How do you prepare for such a challenge?
I asked my coach Michelle if I am able to reach 170km per day. I still have my doubts and fears. But being given a solid constructive training schedule gives me confidence. I started to focus well before Christmas so that the Christmas food intake does not dishearten me. I have a weekly program which I try to strictly adhere to and put in my best to it. I start the day with the program of the day so that I am sure to do it and also, I get a push to face the day. If my coach tells me to do an endurance ride of 140 Watts I try to maintain it. It is all about having trust in your coach and believing in the end cause. On a weekly basis, I join a cycling technique session with Freedom is a Bicycle to address deficiencies that I have in handling and posture.
Have you participated in other marathons of the same magnitude?
No. I have always been encouraged by the Alive Team to do it but I always shied away from it. Besides the training, I am afraid of managing to raise the necessary funds. The daily distance I have never covered so far but I will try to do my best like when I did 130km in Sicily or the Qbajjar to Zebbug hill trial race last year.
Will you be a considerable team?
Yes, it is being targeted 30plus participants split in mountain and road bike groups. But all have the same route of 1000km clockwise around Sicily.
How long will this challenge be?
The 1000km distance will be covered in 6 consecutive days from 1st to 6st May. Every 50km there will be a stop and lunch at the 100km mark.
For how long have you been training, and what sort of training is required?
I have been training in cycling since 2020 under the guidance of Michelle. I started training specifically for this event in December 2021.
Do you have to follow a special diet before enrolling in this challenge?
Not specifically. But I try to stick to eating healthy and try to avoid overeating. My heart aches to pass in front of a pastizzi shop but I need to stick to protein instead. I reduced my intake of sweets and drank less. I need to learn how to eat during the event so that I do not run out of fuel. In fact, I read online articles on cycling sites and have also a nutrition talk event forthcoming in Feb.
How can we follow your progress?
Regularly I post my achievements on my Facebook page as public for all to see tagged as Freedom Is a Bicycle. On Strava and Garmin Connect I have my daily schedule recorded.