Earlier this year we added paralympian David Smith to our site. Following health and disability issues David was faced with further problems in late 2014 and faced surgery for a terrible cancerous spinal tumour in the late part of the year.
As David recovered from surgery aided by a high nutrient vegan diet, he planned a challenge that would test anybody – which he has just taken on.
On May 6th David cycled up Mont-Ventoux in France. There are three routes to the summit, and he planned to take on all three.
“It’s 136km and 4300m of climbing, I did it with some mates and the BBC filmed it for a documentary to hopefully go out soon” David told us a few days afterwards. The massive climb – over 4km of vertical gain – started with one of the routes followed by a descent to start again.
The second route included the section where British cyclist Tome Simpson had died during the 1967 Tour de France. “That was so hard and I had to stop a few times as my legs hurt so much” David told us, although he was aware that he had another full climb ahead. This proved to be tough.
“The last 7km were brutal and my body had given up but my mind kept telling me to keep pushing as I was almost there and I thought of all the surgery and rehab over the last 6 months and I emptied the tank with a sprint finish up the steepest part.”
The photo shows David a few minutes after the climb.
Unsurprisingly for someone who believes his nutritional approach enabled him to survive against the odds, David used food to aid him. “I pulled it on Bananas, dates and Vegan bars with lots and lots of water.”
Aside from an amazing challenge for any athlete, it’s important to remember that David was born with a severe club foot which doctors considered amputating. He’s also undergone surgery on a cervical tumour that involved removing three vertebrae and rebuilding the spine. This is all before his recent operation, which the surgeon told him gave him a chance of survival of one in 500. His story really is truly remarkable.
Focussing on other things, David is planning his first World Cup race in Italy within three weeks, and is also aiming for the Rio Paralympics next year. We wish him every success and will be waiting to hear his news as it develops.