Ben Darlington with his wife Laura Meadley. Photo: Melissa Adams
He's conquered Mt Everest and Ben Darlington wants to do it again - this time without oxygen and 38.2 grams of testicle weighing him down.
As they laugh, joke and smile together, you could never tell Canberra cyclist Laura Meadley and her husband are preparing for the biggest fight of their lives.
Meadley will compete in the three-day National Capital Tour starting Friday - three weeks to the day doctors discovered a lump on Darlington's groin.
That lump was diagnosed as testicular cancer. Darlington is only 30.
Meadley was scheduled to race in the Tour of the Murray River event as part of the National Road Series, but pulled out to be by her husband's side.
Within a week of the initial consultation, Darlington had one of his testicles removed in order to stop the cancer spreading.
''Ben was like, 'oh just go, you're race is important', but it was a time you need your family and I knew I would be distracted the whole time,'' Meadley said.
''We worked through it together. Because things were happening so quickly, a lot of things had to get done.
''He had CT scans, he had chest X-rays, his proud moment was going to the sperm bank, all those things you don't think about. I thought it would be all over, but there's a little bit more to go.''
Darlington will meet with his doctor to decide the next course of action.
The options include chemotherapy, radiotherapy or observation, depending on the chance of the cancer recurring.
''It's nice to get diagnosed and get it out,'' he said.
''I don't think it's a real test as such yet, I haven't had chemo or radio. Testicular cancer has a 98 per cent survival rate.''
Last year, Darlington scaled the peak of the fifth tallest mountain in the world, rising the 8850 metres to the top of Mt Everest.
He has already set his sights on returning to Mt Everest next year, albeit with a tougher challenge and minus one former travelling companion.
''I wouldn't mind going back and climbing it again without oxygen,'' he said.
The couple have been together for eight years after having first met through cycling.
Meadley credits the strong support of her teammates on the Suzuki-Bontrager squad with getting her through the difficult time.
Her perspective on life has changed, but it won't lessen her desire for a podium finish in the road race at this weekend's tour around Canberra.
''Nothing beats having your family and friends see what you do,'' she said.
''You sacrifice so much of your life for cycling and you miss out on the good times … to have them there to share the moment makes you realise why you put in all the hard effort.
''I still want to race, but I want to make sure whatever I'm doing I'm still having fun.''