PNE fitness coach gets on his bike
Luke Hemmings will swap life on Preston North End's backroom staff for a couple of days of pedal-power next month in aid of a good cause.
The 21-year-old, assistant sports scientist at PNE, is taking part in the Football to Amsterdam Challenge, a 145-mile bike ride.
Hemmings and North End fitness coach Tom Little are joining up with staff from other league clubs to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
Last year, PNE boss Simon Grayson and Deepdale groundsman Pete Ashworth saddled up for the event.
This is the fourth year the ride has been held but the first that there have been two starting points.
Riders will set off from London or Barnsley, with Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena the final destination.
Hemmings told the Evening Post: “Myself and Tom are going from Barnsley’s ground.
“We start on June 3, ride to Hull and take the overnight ferry to Rotterdam.
“On June 4, we continue the ride to Amsterdam.
“I’m really looking forward to it, hopefully we will get a bit of nice weather and I can treat it as a bit of a holiday.
“Before signing up to this, I didn’t really do much cycling.
“My uncle is a keen cyclist and he has been encouraging me, lending me gear.
“I’m loving the riding, I’ve got a mountain bike now.
“During the season, I was training twice a week on my days off.
“I would do a long ride on a Sunday and on a Wednesday.
“Since the season finished, I’ve been getting out four or five times a week to get the mileage into my legs.
“The manager did it last year but he hasn’t thrown any challenges down yet.
“He thought the first leg was the hardest last year, with the land a bit flatter in Holland.
“It is good that I will have Tom with me, he’s a bit of a monster on the bike and keeping up with him will be a challenge.
“We will gee each other along, maybe get a peloton going with us in the middle.
“Tom has a couple of other challenges he is doing in the summer so he might save his legs a bit during this one.
“It will be nice to take in the sights along the way and the important thing is that we are raising money for a good cause.
“Every rider has to raise a minimum of £1,000 and at the moment I’m above the £2,000 mark.”
Hemmings, 21, has been on the PNE staff for three years.
He said: “My role involves the warm-up, keeping the lads fit who are trying to get back into the squad, gym work and the GPS stuff.
“I do work on hydration, sleep quality and fatigue tests.
“Tom heads it all up and I work under him.”
To sponsor Hemmings, go to https://www.justgiving.com/Luke-Hemmings2.
Little can be supported at www.justgiving.com/thomas-little-challanges.