Pedal power sees Castleford Tigers’ Nathan Massey raise money for cause close to his heart

WHAT do you treat yourself to when you have burned off more than 6,500 calories on an eight- hour bike challenge?

Castleford Tigers' Nathan Massey battles against Toronto Wolfpack on the opening weeklend of the season at Headingley. Picture: Tony Johnson

Castleford Tigers’ Nathan Massey was left with that intriguing decision following his incredible effort on Thursday.

It certainly warrants a free hit and you can imagine the ‘refuelling’ delight.

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However, the answer is not what you might have expected.

Talking to The Yorkshire Post, the long-serving loose forward explained: “The plan was to have fish and chips.

“But, to be fair, I wasn’t too hungry afterwards. I just had a small meal and a couple of beers – and then I was ready for bed!”

Massey had spent most of the day on a watt bike in his garage to try and raise funds for the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract.

Life in lockdown has given people plenty of opportunities to do their bit for charity and the 30-year-old is no different.

Alex Foster raised money earlier this year for the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract by having his long, flowing locks cut off.

His lung-busting efforts helped raise almost £3,000 and, for those who like a statistic, the numbers reached on his individual trek were mightily impressive.

Aside from the aforementioned 6,560 calories, Massey travelled 254.69km – or 158 miles – which is a shade under the equivalent of biking from Castleford to Gloucester (162 miles).

Starting at 8am, he managed an average speed of 31.85 kph and an average power of 143 watts before clocking off from his continuous effort at 4pm.

“I’d done a couple of hours training for it before, so those first two hours, I cruised that,” recalled Massey, who is well-known for being one of the most industrious forwards in Super League.

“The third hour was a bit tougher but, luckily, I got on a Zoom call with all the (Castleford) boys so I had 40 minutes chatting to them.

“I had a bit of head noise up to the fourth hour but got through it and when I got to hour six I was all right again.

“My missus was bobbing in and out with bottles of water all day and Daniel Smith, who lives around the corner, walked down a couple of times to see me.

“To be fair, quite a lot of the boys bobbed around – Fozzie (Alex Foster), Cheyse (Blair), all the local boys like Ogi (Oli Holmes) and Wattsy (Liam Watts) as well and then Pete Mata’utia and Jy Hitchcox along with Smig (Smith) for when I finished.

“It was nice really.”

The Prince of Wales Hospice is the West Yorkshire club’s official charity partner and fellow forward Foster recently chopped his long hair off to help raise funds for them.

Massey – who has played his entire career at Wheldon Road and won the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield – had to do something a bit more taxing for his challenge.

“I’ve not got much to play with in terms of hair so I had no option there!” he said.

“Obviously, all the money raised is for a great cause and me just doing a little thing and being able to raise such a good amount it’s all worth it.

“I’m over the moon with that.”

There is another reason, though, why helping a hospice is important to Leeds-born Massey.

“Last week my Aunty Sandra passed away,” he said.

“She’d been poorly for quite a while and had been in the hospice so it was pretty close to my heart.

“I went to see her on Wednesday for the last time and so it was quite fitting to do what I did on Thursday.

“She was a massive Cas fan as well so I’m sure she’d have been proud of me doing that.”

The last time Castleford stepped out to play was on Sunday March 15 when Massey helped them to a 28-14 win over reigning champions St Helens.

It already seems a long time ago and there is still no end in sight for players, fans and clubs as they look forward to the sport resuming again following the coronavirus outbreak.

Castleford were in good nick at the time of the shutdown being joint-top with Wigan Warriors having won five of their opening seven games.

On life in isolation, Massey said; “I’m not doing too bad. We have a joke with all the lads that every day’s a Sunday.

“We’re just trying to keep spirits up.

“We keep in touch with all the boys, have a Zoom chat every Thursday morning and have regular contact on WhatsApp.

“We just try and stay positive, carry on as we are and hopefully it will be over sooner rather than later.

“We’re all looking forward to that point of getting back.”