WHILE most people are in bed asleep, Ipswich dad Michael Cooper is covering hundreds of kilometres in preparation for one of the most challenging charity bike rides in the country.
The Sea 2 Summit event, which will raise money for the Redkite charity, will take 60 riders on a mammoth 250km uphill slog from the coastal NSW town of Merimbula, to Australia's highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.
From sea-level to mountain peak, the riders will climb about 5500m in weather conditions that can vary from calm and sunny to windy and sub-zero.
Despite giving it his best shot last year, the Ipswich Cycling Club member was one of about 16 riders unable to complete the punishing course, which involves the transition from road bikes to mountain bikes on the second day to get to the finish line.
Turning to cycling as a way to keep fit after injuring his foot in a motorcycle accident, the Karalee-based rider said he had been training hard for the big day in November.
"I'm on the road by 3.30am and home by 6.30am - I just hop on the bike and go," Mr Cooper said.
"I did the ride last year and unfortunately didn't finish. I got pulled off the track at the 215km mark.
"It is the fundraising side of it that really hooked me.
"It really hits home when you see someone who needs help from Redkite."
Redkite is a national charity which provides support to young people with cancer and their families.
The organisation does not receive government funding, which means it relies entirely on the generosity of normal Australians like Mr Cooper, who raised $7000 through his participation in last year's event.
This year, Mr Cooper will team up with his brother John, from Sydney, in the ride, and he hopes to eclipse the $10,000 milestone.
More than 8000 Australian families at present affected by childhood cancer.
Climb for cancer
The Sea 2 Summit ride will be held on the weekend of November 16
To support Mr Cooper, visit everydayhero.com.au/michael_cooper_2012
For further details or to register, visit redkite.org.au/sea2summit