Two cyclists are planning to bike the equivalent of the elevation of Mount Everest, raising money and awareness for a disease that hits close to home.
On July 4, Jaime Frederick from Nelson and Brian Marsh, Castlegar resident and Teck Trail Operations employee, will be riding their bikes 8,848 vertical metres, the height of Mount Everest, on the Kootenay Pass. It is all to raise money for Scleroderma, a disease the hardens the skin and the organs, and one that Frederick’s mother suffers with. The Kootenay Pass is the highest all-weather pass in Canada and reaches 1,774 vertical metres, a long ride to the top.
Frederick says he was inspired to do the ride from his mother’s struggle with Scleroderma – a tough illness that has no cure.
“My mother’s strength in battling scleroderma has inspired me to choose only the most difficult endurance challenge I could conceive to raise awareness about this terrible disease,” says Frederick. “Among road cyclists, suffering is almost a mystique. But whatever self-inflicted pain we might experience or mythologize on the bike, it pales in comparison to the suffering of those with scleroderma.”
To reach their goal of biking the same height as the world’s tallest mountain, Frederick and Marsh will be making the ascent on the Kootenay Pass eight times in one day. It is referred to in the cycling world as a double-century, which means biking 200 miles in 24 hours. The cyclists estimate they can finish all eight trips up the pass in 16 hours.
While he isn’t personally affected by Scleroderma, Marsh is supporting his friend and family by attempting the feat.
He is looking forward to the challenge, but doesn’t have any huge expectations.
“(Can it be done?) That remains to be seen,” he said. “I have biked 300 km before, but never so much uphill.”
The riders will set off early on the morning of July 4, to complete the climb and hope to raise at least one dollar for every metre for a total of $8,848 with all money raised going directly to research the disease.
To learn how to donate to the riders, or to learn more about Scleroderma, go to http://www.scleroderma.ca/How-Can-I-Help/Upcoming-Scleroderma-Events.php.
This story will appear in the July 2 edition of West Kootenay Advertiser