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Bedridden by severe gout and devoted to fast foods, Ollie Seumanufagai decided things had to change.
So in April he packed in his unhealthy lifestyle and jumped on a road bike. Tomorrow, after months of training, he will saddle up for the 160-kilometre Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
Seumanufagai said he was feeling quietly confident of completing the mammoth ride.
"I've done 120km and 130km in training, so the last few kilometres will be on adrenaline."
The 46-year-old Wellingtonian has a severe form of gout which has left him bedridden at times.
"It attacks your feet, your sternum, your hands, everywhere. I had a terrible diet, so a lot of it was self-inflicted. It was corned beef, takeaways and no exercise."
He has since shed 17 kilograms using a combination of exercise and healthy living, and his gout attacks have stopped.
A manager at the Salvation Army Hope Centre in Newtown, he said he wanted to get healthy, both for his wife and seven children, and as an example to the Pacific Island community.
"I want to be around for a long time yet. If I have grandchildren, I want to be active with them, not on the sidelines. I want to be on the other side of the seesaw."
Pacific Islanders were prone to a range of health problems such as gout, heart disease, stroke and obesity, he said. "If I can be an example for one person to make some changes, I'll be happy."
About 9000 cyclists are expected to ride the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
- Fairfax Media