Tomlinson defies pain to complete cycle ride across America

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Six years ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told she had months to live. Yesterday, Jane Tomlinson finally completed her nine-week, 4,200-mile cycle ride across America.

Ms Tomlinson, 42, who has three children, has raised more than £1.25m for cancer charities since being diagnosed. She endured fierce winds and temperatures of more than 100F as she cycled from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to New York. Two days ago, organisers considered calling an early end to the trip after Ms Tomlinson, from Rothwell, Leeds, fell ill.

"I'm just relieved it's over," she said as she was welcomed by her husband, Mike, in New York's Battery Park. "I thought it was going to be a bit of an adventure but it turned out to be a bit of an ordeal. It was very difficult. But it's just good to be here."

Organisers of the trip, Ride Across America, had been unsure whether Ms Tomlinson was well enough to even begin the journey due to her having advanced metastatic breast cancer. Her husband said she had insisted on at least making a start, but that he had struggled with witnessing the pain she was enduring.

"There are at least seven or eight occasions where I asked her to pack it in," he said. "She ignored me like a good wife should, and she's been proved right.

"I'm astonished that she's here. We seem to have lurched from one crisis to another. The weather has not been kind to us and the roads have been tough.

"We knew it was going to be hot going through Nevada and Utah but we never expected a heatwave. That really took its toll and continued to do so throughout the journey because of the extremes that we suffered at the start."

Some of the money Ms Tomlinson raises will go to Leeds General Infirmary, where she continues to work as a radiographer.

Her co-rider, Ryan Bowd, 27, a lecturer at Leeds University, spoke of the inspirational way in which Ms Tomlinson overcame her pain. "Jane was visibly in greater pain than I have ever seen her in all the years I have known her. On the climbs you could hear her purging the pain through muffled grunts and groans.

"I realised that I was watching Jane turn the impossible into the improbable and then reality."