FWCC heart and lung transplant super hero Steve Donaldson represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games in Italy. In the road race he came an amazing second overall and first in his age category. He is now a European Champion. The race was twenty kilometres over six laps with a fifty strong field. The glamour of continental road racing began from the off when the cyclists had to help the motorcycle escort find his way around the course, which was fortunately closed to traffic. After the first long straight the peloton began being whittled away as the pace rose to 23 mph. Remember, all competitors had had a heart and/or lung transplant. At the end of the straight a tight left turn saw an Italian rider launch an attack, and rider Donaldson tried to follow but narrowly missed catching his wheel. One of the German team managed to get away as well. Another sharp left turn with sand and pine needles all over the place didn’t help the chase. The bunch then sped through a small chicane which had a metal strip sticking up which had to bunny hopped to avoid puncturing. The chase was on. Donaldson could see the Italian and German breakaway in the distance and was leading the bunch, trying to pull them back and asking for assistance from the remains of the peloton. One lap down, five to go. The finishing straight was littered with obstacles: a tree and its roots caused a bit of hassle, and another tyre shredding metal strip handily positioned on a damp corner. Donaldson continued to drag the bunch along. On the long straight he swung off to see who was with him; just two Italians, four Germans, and Ernesto, his Irish friend. With teammates up the road in the breakaway the Italian and German riders were in no mood to help chase them down, so it was Donaldson and Irish Ernesto towing everyone along. The next two laps saw the breakaway held at about fifteen seconds. By lap four the chasing group had managed to drop one of the Italian riders, mainly after Donaldson’s hard charging spell at the front proved too much. Then the course conditions came to his aid as the second chasing Italian rider hit the metal strip on the finishing straight and punctured. Better still, the German rider in the breakaway was now tiring leaving just a lone Italian in the breakaway. Donaldson asked the Germans to help catch him, which they did on the long straight, and then worked together to try and bring the lone Italian rider back. At the start of the penultimate lap the solo breakaway had forty five seconds on Donaldson’s chase group, which had trouble organising itself into a rhythm. Last lap, still working not very well, the chase group motored along lapping other riders. At this point in the race it was all about how the chase group riders positioned themselves on the last corner and through the chicane. Donaldson managed to follow the third placed rider’s wheel with about four hundred meters to the line. Irish Ernesto led out, then Thomas the German. It was a drag race to the line for second place. Donaldson inched ahead and threw his bike over the line by just 0.08s to secure an amazing second place overall and first in his age category. “I couldn’t have done it without all the help from the guys in FWCC dragging me around all those club runs, but most importantly, I couldn’t have done it without my DONOR. So if you have a spare two minutes and you haven’t done so please think about signing the organ donor register and don’t forget to tell you family.” https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk