Two Greater Victoria cyclists are preparing for an epic quest to “Everest” Bear Mountain Parkway.
Ethan Pauly and Jackson Bocksnick plan to cycle the height of Mount Everest in one day to raise funds for KidSport Greater Victoria, a charity that helps youth in financial need to participate in organized sports.
“I think right now everyone is looking for a sense of a community. We wanted to find a way to interact and give back,” said Bocksnick. He noted that the Black Lives Matter movement made him reflect on his time in sports and all the teammates he has had, and realize how few were Indigenous people.
“It was alarming to think how little representation there was, not just at the elite level, but all throughout,” he said. “KidSport was one of the first organizations that came to mind, that works to get underprivileged kids access to sports. And they do outreach to try and get funds specifically for Indigenous youth and new Canadians.”
Bocksnick feels fortunate to have built many meaningful relationships through sport and loves that it brings together people across racial divides.
“Reflecting on these experiences in light of the current social awakening, I have come to realize that I not only had the opportunity to benefit from participation in sport, but I had the privilege of doing so. Sport, which can provide a measurable benefit for social development in youth, should not be another arena where the privilege of access widens the racial economic divide in our society.”
The “Everesting” challenge on the newer section of Bear Mountain Parkway will take place on July 25, weather permitting, between Flint Avenue and the summit – approximately 1.6 kilometres. Bocksnick and Pauly will ride the stretch back and forth 62 times until the elevation climbed in total is equal or more than that of Mount Everest, or 8,848 metres.
“It sounds a little bit crazy, but ‘Everesting’ has been a bit of a trend in the cycling world lately,” Bocksnick said. “We have tossed around the idea to see if we could do it, and now without any races going on we thought we would give it a try. Working with KidSport has helped us build more energy and momentum around the challenge, so we are feeling motivated.”
The riders are members of an elite group called TaG Cycling Race Team, which gives opportunity for cyclists to compete in professional races across North America and abroad.
“It’s going to be a hard event, probably one of the hardest days on a bike I’ve ever had. There are undoubtedly going to be some dark moments, but we both have had some long days riding before so I feel prepared. It has become less about the race, and more about what we can do with it,” said Bocksnick.
He encourages avid cyclists to come out and pedal a few laps with them if they are feeling up to it.
“We want to use our ride to show how sport can bring a community together and should be inclusive to everyone regardless of economic or racial background.”
The challenge begins at 7:30 a.m. with an expected finish time about 5 p.m. For more information or to donate to the fundraiser, please visit kidsportbc.org.