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We’ve never done the End-to-End. We thought we probably should

Frequent Bermuda visitor Brian Mills, of Canada, took part in Bermuda sailing races for years, but always kept an envious eye on the annual Catlin End-to-End walk.

He and his wife Judy would see the End-to-End walkers passing by the Bermuda Railway Trail near their accommodations. This year the 66-year-old decided he was finally ready to take part in the annual walk that raises money for local charity by crossing Bermuda from St George’s to Dockyard.

The Mills are from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Mr Mills had a career in finance and administration and was lucky enough to retire at the age of 50. He had always been physically active but due to the demands of his job had slowed down before his retirement. He decided his new found freedom was a perfect opportunity to take up all his old hobbies such as competitive sailing and playing the harmonica.

“Now, in the last three years I am getting back into cycling,” he said. “My fitness level is such that I am confident I can do the distance of the End-to-End walk and I can do it easily. At Christmas I cycled from North Shore Road on Loyal Hill in Devonshire to Dockyard and back. A friend in Bermuda lent me his bicycle and I have been riding up and down.”

Last year he took part in the Central Florida Gran Fondo cycle race, his first in thirty years.

“There were three distance classes, 38 miles, 60 miles and 100 miles,” he said. “I went in the 38 mile class. They had age classes as well. I was in the highest age class — 55 and older. I finished third in my age class and tenth overall out of about 40 racers.”

He thought his previous pedalling over Bermuda hills helped him to easily take on the few Florida hills in the race, which he described as a bit higher and a bit longer than those in Bermuda.

“I did really well on the hills but would lose ground on the flat parts,” he said. “I was really surprised. It made me want to try some more racing. It made me want to do the End-to-End. I know it is not a race but a fun event. I don’t think I will ask anyone for money for the event, but my wife and I will make a personal donation above the entry fee.”

Mr Mills has been sailing lasers in the Bermuda International Invitational Race Week for the last seven years. For the last four years he and his wife have been coming to Bermuda twice a year for a period of a month at a time. In the years they have been coming to Bermuda they have taken part in everything from Bermuda Day to the annual Palm Sunday walk organised by the Bermuda National Trust. They have walked all of the Bermuda Railway Trail at different times.

“But we have never done the End to End,” he said. “We thought we should do that.”

He didn’t see his age as a hang up. He thought he would probably still be taking part in athletic activities when he was 75 or 80 years old.

“When people meet me they often think I am younger than I am,” he said. “I guess that is because I am just a little kid at heart. I had to train for laser racing. That requires a pretty good level of fitness if you want to do well at it. It is a small boat and you have to lean out of the side. Seven years ago I started going to the gym and training for that. I think my fitness level has gradually increased because of my persistence at the gym. With cycling, I am not back to a level was 30 years ago when I first did it, but I can see improvements.

“If you go to the gym and work out without killing yourself four days a week and do a lot of stretching and eating right then that is the key to the success. I am going about it with consistency and persistence. I feel fit and do a lot of things. Unfortunately, aches and pains crop up because your bones and joints are older. I have severe arthritis in my left hip.”

This was one of the reasons he chose to cycle rather than to walk the End to End. He felt that cycling was easier on his joints because in cycling your body weight is on your bottom, not on your legs and feet.

He described his wife as a passionate walker, but said she didn’t plan to take part in the End-to-End as she was a bit concerned about the distance.

Brian Mills at the Central Florida Gran Fondo cycle race last year.

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Published April 08, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 07, 2013 at 10:40 am)

We’ve never done the End-to-End. We thought we probably should

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