The former Scarlets and Wales full back thought he would rope in a few friends and raise “a couple of thousand pounds” for a charity that is very close to his own heart. In the end, up to 130 people joined in the virtual ride and raised an incredible amount of money.
“When I came up with the idea I knew there were a number of charities and hospitals that would be struggling because their normal fund raising events had been cancelled, so I thought it might be a way to raise some money,” said Stoddart.
“I wanted to get a few of my mates involved and see what might be possible. In the end, it just snowballed and we are getting close to £150,000 – it’s incredible.”
Welsh internationals Rhys Webb and Tom James, Welsh signing star Sophie Evans, former Cardiff City player Scott Young and Swansea UFC fighter Brett Johns were some of the big names who backed Stoddart on the month-long, 1,000 mile epic.
“We needed to average 33 miles per day. I went up to 95 miles in one session so I could take a few days off and it was very tough at the start,” he added.
“Once my legs and bottom got used to it I was OK. Now I’m just glad it is all over, although it did get me a few hours to myself every day and away from homeschooling.”
Stoddart’s two young children, five-year-old Oscar and three-year-old Rosa, roared on their dad as he set the pace for the group. Wife, Nichola, ensured he was properly fed and watered over the month.
His 1,000 miles in May would have been the perfect build-up for the ‘Three Canyons’ charity ride he was set to join with Velindre in September, but that has now been postponed due to COVID-19. But he’ll be back on the bike sooner rather than later.
“I’ve done a few charity rides in the past and it is important to me to help where I can. Velindre was where I received treatment for cancer and a number of my family and friends have also benefitted from their expert help,” added Stoddart.
“I’m hoping that when life gets back to normal I can arrange a dinner for all the riders and their partners to thank them for their efforts. They were all remarkable.”
Also on his agenda is planning for the next rugby season in his role as head coach at Championship club Cross Keys. He celebrated seven years at Pandy Park this month and can’t wait to get back into action.
Last season Keys played in the Championship for the first time after relegation. They steadied the ship and now Stoddart is hoping to plot a route back into the Premiership.
“We lost six or seven key players after relegation as the club went through a few problems. That meant we had a bad start to last season, but by Christmas we had improved,” he said.
“We ended in much better shape than we started and everyone is looking forward to getting going again. We will be in a much better place when the new season starts because we will have a settled squad.”