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North Wales Boss Gears Up For A World Class Cycling Challenge

A North Wales company boss transformed his life by taking up cycling at the age of forty. He is in training to take part in one of the world’s toughest two wheel events for the second year running.

Photo of Paul Rutt on bicycle

Paul Rutt

Paul Rutt, 44, has lost six stone since choosing pedal power as a means to get fit. Now he bikes to work and back – a 40 miles round trip – about three times a week. He has twice cycled from London to Paris and on 4th July he is to embark on the famous La Marmotte Sportive in the French Alps, the second time he has entered the mountainous 175 kilometre challenge. He hopes to improve on his timing this year, having achieved the marathon uphill climb in 11 hours 45 minutes last summer.

“This year I want to make it in under ten hours,” said Paul, managing director at b2 business systems, which has offices in Deeside and Bangor. Several fellow staff have been so encouraged by Paul’s achievements that they have also taken up cycling.

The company registered with the Welsh Assembly’s cycle to work scheme a year ago. The scheme offers a contribution to the cost of buying bicycles for people committed to riding to work and back. In all, 24 staff take part in the scheme, and four of Paul’s colleagues, Ian Challinor of Dobshill, Gary Ryan of Northop Hall, Mark Blythe of Shotton and Steve Cowan of Neston, now all cycle to the office regularly. “We definitely feel a lot fitter for it; we’ve noticed a difference in our energy levels as well as losing weight,” said b2 marketing manager, Ian. “But Paul’s achievements have been amazing, a real inspiration.”

Despite owning and running his own office equipment and supplies business, having built up b2 from scratch, Paul admitted to ‘never having done a day’s exercise in his life’ until reaching 40.

“I was 17 stone, ate, smoked and drank what I wanted, generally over-indulged and never did any fitness training. Then as I approached 40 and my wife, Trudie, was expecting our daughter, Evie, I realised life would have to change. I couldn’t go on like this. I wanted to be fit enough to really enjoy life with our baby. That’s when I took up cycling.”

Having built up his fitness level gradually over the last four years Paul, of Trelawnyd, trains for 250 miles a week. He cycles in his spare time and competes in regional races each week. He is a member of his local cycling club VC Melyd, Prestatyn, and has completed numerous rigorous cycle sportives. He had hoped to take part in this year’s annual Gran Fondo Cymru challenge in Snowdonia in May and was deeply saddened when the event had to be cancelled following the death of organiser and veteran cyclist Jonnie Woodall MBE after being struck by a train at a level crossing on the 3rd April 2009. Paul says, “I only met him briefly, but he was so well known and enormously respected in the cycling community. It is a great loss and he will be missed by many

Paul is now aiming to compete in the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Challenge, a 172 km ride through Snowdonia National Park, ascending 3000 metres, on 31st May. He hopes to raise sponsorship money from the event for Ty Gobaith Cymru Hospice, Conwy, the charity which b2 staff have chosen to benefit from their fund-raising activities for the year. Paul is also arranging for b2 to help sponsor fellow Prestatyn rider, professional cyclist Chris Prior, on the forthcoming UCI Tour of Ireland. "I’d like to help him out," says Paul. "We do some training rides together, though he’s at a far higher level than I – it’s usually when he’s doing a recovery ride and I’m going flat out!”

Founded in 1991, b2 is an approved Xerox Premier Partner, Microsoft Gold Partner and has divisions providing IT system design and installation, as well as office supplies. It employs 25 at offices in Parc Menai, Bangor, and Deeside Industrial Park. If you want to know more about Paul and his active and varied life, he can be contacted at 01244 837137 or visit http://www.btwo.com

Photo of Paul Rutt cycling with friends

Paul cycling with friends