Sixteen year-old Zach Stabb had been looking forward to a meeting with Ironman triathlete Joe Horvat.
The two share a passion for cycling and Horvat was one of Stabb’s inspirations for a six-day bike trip the teen completed in August, riding 600 kilometres from Montreal to Toronto.
“It was a grind for sure,” said Stabb, a senior at the Howard S. Billings Regional High School. “The first day was the hardest.”
The main reason the teen was excited to see Horvat, though, was about a new bike.
“I felt extremely bad for this poor kid who lost his bike,” Horvat told Global News. “I wanted to do something.”
Stabb’s fundraiser was a project for his school which required him to do something that would create change.
“I found out about the Indigenous water crisis and found out that some of these communities up north and all over our country don’t have access to clean water on a daily basis,” Stabb said.
He decided to raise money to support Water First, an organization that helps to address the water problems through education and training in Indigenous communities.
Stabb said he also wanted to bring awareness to the issue, and the bike ride was that fundraiser.
“The fundraiser ended September 28th and I raised $8,080 for Water First,” he smiled.
But one day, a few weeks after he got home, he said he parked the bike he used on the trip at the side of his house one night.
“Thinking it was out of eye view from the street,” he explained, “but apparently it wasn’t. So someone came in at night and took it and that’s pretty much it.”
Horvat said he heard about the theft five days ago and the news upset him, because he has done the ride multiple times for other fundraisers and as part of his training.
“I knew exactly what he had gone through to do that ride,” he explained, “and to have that bad luck happen, I just wanted to do something.”
The two are now talking about doing the same trip next year.
“This time from west to east, so from Toronto to Montreal in two days this time,” said Stabb, “and in a few years, I hope to do Halifax to Vancouver.”
He said he plans to continue raising money with his father, who accompanied him on his ride, to help solve the water crisis in Indigenous communities.
“They don’t have water so how can we really help,” Stabb said. “Maybe at a very local level maybe me and Zach can work on one particular problem.”