This Summer Selesti MD Ollie Blackmore will be making history; becoming the first person ever to cycle around Vancouver Island solo and unsupported. He’ll be challenging himself to a gruelling ride over 15 consecutive days across some of the toughest terrain that Canada has to throw at him, and all for a good cause, as he will be using this epic undertaking to raise funds for our local cancer charity The Big C.
It all begins on the 22nd June 2014 when he sets out from Swartz Bay and heads for Nanaimo, a ride of 113 miles that will see him climbing 7,000 feet, and that’s just the first day! Following this he will be traversing the whole of Vancouver Island following a planned route long in the making which, as many of the logging trails that appear on maps are actually completely overgrown - think; rainforest - could be considerably more difficult than he may have first envisaged. By the end of it all he will have completed 2,316km, having climbed a total of 151,763ft (that’s five times the height of Everest don’t you know); certainly no jaunt on a CX bike loaded with food and equipment!
That’s even before we get to the local wildlife. The whistle and bell Ollie has packed isn’t for him to be able to act as an emergency referee for any ‘soccer’ games he might come across, it is in fact to scare off any bears whose path he might cross. We’re also doing our best not to dwell on the fact that Vancouver Island has the highest density of cougars found anywhere in the world.
The bell and whistle are just two of the many pieces of nifty kit that he has spent months collecting, and continues to do so! He’ll need every tool in his considerable arsenal of gear and supplies to contend with what Vancouver Island has to offer (throw high winds and rain storms coming straight from the Pacific into the bargain), lugging every one of the over 35 kilos of extra weight (so far) it brings around with him.
You must think that he’s mad, but in fact there’s a lot of work that has gone into planning the trip. The route alone took months to compile, with a little help from the mounties, local park rangers, and even indian tribe communities. He has also secured support from a few big names, helping him to make this daunting challenge a little more manageable. British Airways, TorQ and BeetIT are the main sponsors so far.
Whatever happens, we’re going to be keeping you up to date with Ollie’s progress before, during and (hopefully) after the ride, with everything from information on how he’s fitting lots of kit into one Mary Poppins-esque bag to his extensive training routine. We hope that to some of you out there it might even be an inspiration to do something even more impressive! (if that’s possible)
For all the latest info on the Cycle Challenge Canada, keep your eyes glued to the website or the Facebook page that we (of course) built just for the occasion. Or if you want to offer support, why not get in touch with us today?
Don’t forget you can also text PEDL75 £10 to 70070 to sponsor Ollie today.