Cycling 200 kilometres might seem like a long haul to most, but for Squamish cyclist Ken McDowell taking part in the BC Lung Association's annual Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath - a two day, scenic ride to raise funds in support of lung health - it is the final leg of a journey he started training for months ago.
McDowell said he hits the road come spring every year to make sure his legs and lungs are ready to go the distance.
"Trek is a fantastic event. Most rewarding for me has been watching my wife and daughter cross the finish line. Riding together as a family has been an incredible experience for us."
A recreational ride, the event takes place on Sept.12 and 13 and is designed for cyclists of all levels from the casual rider to the experienced cyclist.
"The Trek weekend is like being on a Caribbean cruise," said McDowell. "The sunshine, food, fun, and entertainment; it's all there. The only difference is you have to paddle the boat."
The meeting place for a year-round family of lung health supporters and advocates, Trek is the BC Lung Association's cornerstone fundraising event. Over the event's 25 year history "Trekkers" - as participants are affectionately known - have raised nearly $4.5 million in support of clean air and lung health. This year's Trek organizers hope to raise an additional $400,000.
"We can't promise every weekend will be great - just this one," said BC Lung Association's Events Coordinator, Marissa Waghorn who, together with her team, is busy organizing Trek's 25th anniversary weekend celebration.
"Initiated by a small group of dedicated volunteers 25 years ago, Trek has grown into so much more than a fundraising event - it's more like an ever expanding family reunion," she said. "It may not be surrounded by the same fanfare as other large charity events - but that's precisely why it's so special. Each and every Trekker has a personal connection to the cause which drove them to ride in the first place - and it's these stories that give the work we do true meaning."
Interested in participating? If so, early registration is encouraged. Each participant must raise a minimum of $425 in donations by Sept. 12. In return, participants travel a fully supported route from start to finish with rest stops, food to fuel their journey, and accommodations. Participants can also earn a range of fundraising incentive prizes including the chance to win a Caribbean vacation for two. The more you raise, the greater the rewards!
For more information or to register call the BC Lung Association at 1.800.665.5864 or visit www.bc.lung.ca.