Posted by Editoress on 06/20/14
Starting out from the Saanich ferry terminal on the 22nd of June, British cyclist Ollie Blackmore will be undertaking a 15 day world first record attempt as he cycles around the wilds of Vancouver Island completely solo and unsupported to raise $25,000 for the local cancer charity, BC Cancer Foundation. When he arrives at the finishing line in Swartz Bay on July 6th he will have travelled over 2,300 kilometres, climbing more than 151,000 ft - that's five times the height of Everest if you didn't know.
It will be something of a baptism of fire for someone who until now mainly visited Vancouver Island for vacation, as he struggles with both the forests teeming with wildlife like cougars, wolves and bears as well as the often horrendous weather from the Pacific ocean that batters the west coast of the island. He will be doing this while carrying over 35kg of extra weight up hills that reach gradients of nearly 40%. In fact, on many occasions throughout the challenge he will be facing climbs of over 16,000 ft, something that the Tour De France only beats on one of its stages.
For this event he has collected quite an array of equipment to help him both when riding and camping in the wild. This includes things like one of the world's smallest and lightest tents, the Nemo Gogo Elite, and even a bear bell to (hopefully) scare away the odd bear. However, perhaps the most important piece of equipment is the bike itself. With a bespoke design and build by British manufacturer Donhou bikes, his 'gravel raver bike' is a bike like no other, that sports a custom paint job inspired by Canadian culture and history.
He starts the epic challenge on June 22nd, arriving into Swartz Bay from Vancouver via the ferry. He'll head up the coast to Nanaimo, then onto Courtenay, Campbell River, Woss, Port McNeil and Port Hardy. From here, he'll venture into the most northerly part of the island; Cae Scott provincial park and to San Josef Bay/Holberg. It's long ride into Winter Harbour, through to Quatsino and to Coal Harbour. The following days will see him ride through gruelling terrain to get to Port Alice, Zeballos and to Tahsis. From Tahsis to Gold River and onwards to Comox lake. He'll skirt around the edge of Port Alberni heading to Tofino and Ucluelet, then back again down to Bamfield. Bamfield to Port Renfrew and finally through Sooke and into the famous inner harbour in Victoria.
In order to be properly prepared for this epic challenge, Ollie has taken on quite the strenuous fitness regime. As well as visiting the gym regularly and doing 6 rides a week, he'll be taking part in a variety of events that are gruelling enough in of themselves! This includes many 100 mile sportives as well as the Tour of Wessex, the hardest 3 day event in the UK, and the Fred Whitton Challenge, the hardest 1 day event in the UK, both including some pretty hefty climbs throughout.
What with the wildlife he will be encountering, he's also had to undertake some basic survival training to ensure that he knows exactly what to do should the unthinkable happen out in the wilderness of Vancouver Island. After all, he is totally alone, so will be relying on himself for the majority of the trip to make it across the terrain, 80% of which is on logging roads, trails and generally in the wilds of British Columbia.
As he'll be burning an average of 6,500 calories every day (the equivalent to 37 pancakes), he's had to ensure that he gets the right nutrition on the ride and that he is at the right fitness level to do so. The training mentioned above is part of this, but he's also spoken to experts in the UK in the areas of sports science and nutrition to get the best advice prior to this epic challenge.
He's not going through all of this for fun. The main aim of the challenge is to raise money for cancer charities both in Canada and the UK. As well as The Big C, his local cancer organization, he'll be raising $25,000 for The British Columbia Cancer Foundation, who partner with the British Columbia Cancer Agency to deliver province wide support for cancer care and research.
As an ex-smoker, and someone who has been indirectly affected by cancer, Ollie's hope is not only to raise support and awareness to fight the disease, but also to show that there are healthy alternatives to smoking.
All donations towards the challenge are very welcome, so please donate to Ollie today and help support those with cancer in British Columbia or the UK.
For more info about the challenge, visit www.cyclechallengecanada.com or www/facebook.com/cyclechallengecanada
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