We called them the Banana Boys as they were riding across Canada on their bicycles wearing yellow rain coats. Riding across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto, following is the story of Jordan Gildersleeve, Kevin Shaw, and Ben Frisby, and their Blog post from November, 2013:
We are three life-long friends driven by the chance to battle the Canadian elements for the awareness and benefit of men’s health. Each of us, Jordan Gildersleeve, Kevin Shaw, and Ben Frisby, has personally been affected by men’s cancers, which has motivated us, along with our bond, to do something epic and give back to our community. The Moustache Ride Across Canada’s goal will be to stimulate people to talk about and raise money for men’s health by leveraging the Movember movement and by challenging ourselves to brave the Canadian winter… on bicycles.
We will set out from Vancouver on the morning of October 17th with the objective of reaching Toronto by November 29th, the evening of Toronto’s Movember Gala where thousands of Toronto supporters will come to celebrate another successful year. Along the way, we will be stopping at local news stations, schools, and events, raising awareness and funds for men’s cancers and health issues. We’ve set the audacious goal of raising $100,000 dollars for Movember and the organizations it supports. We will be doing this under the name of “The Moustache Ride Across Canada”.
The Rockies Made Easy – October 27/13
It took us eight days to make our way from Vancouver to Calgary. It felt like two months. So much has happened since our countdown at the Vancouver Convention Centre, but one thing is for certain: this journey has gotten off to an amazing start.
It was as early as Day 2, making our way from Hope to Merrit, that we realized the gravity of the task that we had set out to achieve. Anyone who has driven the Coquihalla will have a sense of what we went through. Within the first 40km we climbed over 1,200 meters in elevation. On a flat road with minimal wind, the three of us can get into a rotation that moves at about 35-40km/hr. Many of the climbs we faced between Hope and Kamloops slowed us to a 7-10 km/hr crawl. Add to that the signature burn of the lactic acid build up that comes along with a big climb and you get a recipe for demoralization.
However, despite the ups and downs (both literal and figurative), the Rockies were truly an exceptional experience; for me especially as I had never been through the Rockies before! (I know, I’m a terrible Canadian). Outside of a few foggy mornings, we had the best weather a trio of novice bikers destined for Toronto could ask for. And when the sun is shining, the looming presence of the Canadian Rockies is impossible to beat. With every turn, came a new and even more stunning view of snow-capped mountains, vast evergreen forests, and meandering rivers and streams. The days were long and the terrain was tough, no doubt, but when you are surrounded by that much beauty, it isn’t hard to let is distract you from the burning quads, tender butt, frozen fingertips, sore lower back, aching neck, numb toes, and chaffed “underside”.
It was in the pursuit of a better vantage point for one of these vistas, that we came across another way to alleviate aches and pains and a huge part of what this ride is all about.
Approximately halfway through our 140km ride between Sicamous and Canyon Hot Springs (~35km past Revelstoke), we came across a small red cabin overlooking a shimmering lake that quickly shot up into massive stoney mountains. Just as we were discussing whether to sneak onto the property to snap a picture a short, stocky woman came out of the cabin. In the spirit of this ride and just going for it, we asked her if we could come down onto her landing and take a few pictures. Not only was she completely ok with the idea, but she encouraged us to go out to her gazebo (where the best pictures could be taken) and stay as long as we liked!
Five minutes after we stripped off a few layers and starting basking in the crisp sunlight on her deckchairs, listening to the water wash lightly up and back along her small shore line, she once again emerged from her cabin and said, “I’m so sorry, but would you guys like a coffee?” We, of course, accepted, not having had a coffee yet on our journey and none of us feeling any need to rush back into our saddles.
When she we returned with three coffees, we had an opportunity to share with her what we were doing and why we were doing it. Not only, was she touched by our endeavour, but Paula had also been very recently impacted by men’s health issues. As it turned out, the cabin that we had come across, had been her father’s for many years. However, after a four-year battle with Parkinson’s, he past away only three months ago. Paula, on the surface, came off as a fairly “tough” lady; however, when speaking about her father her voice began to tremble and her sentences began to shorten. It was incredibly touching, having this person, who we had only met 10 minutes before, open up in such a vulnerable way in front of three young guys with moustaches loitering on her property. But it was those very moustaches – those straggly, sparse, infantile moustaches that made Paula feel like she could talk about how men’s health had impacted her.
At the end of the conversation she open her wallet, pulled out a $50 bill and wish us a sincere “good luck.”
You see, for me, it is not the beautiful views that are going to carry through the remaining 3,600km of this journey across the country, it is the people that we will meet and share our stories with along the way that will alleviate my pains and push me on when going gets tough.
So thank you Paula, for making the Rockies seem easy and thank you for supporting the Moustache Ride Across Canada.
Revelstoke Ski Stories
Tourism Revelstoke shared this story on Twitter, November 29, 2016. Titled ‘A Revelstoke Reunion’, the link below is to an article on Freeskier.com:
Click on the picture to access the full story.