Montreal cyclist Henri Do is embarking on a journey of a lifetime, competing in the TransCanada Bike Race, the longest solo cycling competition in the world.
The ultracycling race will span 12,500 kilometres, beginning in the mountainous terrain of Whitehorse, Yukon, and crossing all 10 provinces and six time zones before finishing in St. John’s, N.L.
Do, an avid cyclist, has participated in ultracycling races before, but nothing at this scale.
On top of this major first, Do plans on tackling the gargantuan task in less than 40 days — and all by himself, without any outside support or road teams by his side.
“Essentially, it will be the biggest thing I’ll be doing in my life,” Do said. “I only have two months of vacation, so I have got to be back at the office by Aug. 1.”
The 35-year-old business intelligence analyst for Desjardins said he is completely committed to this journey, with only a one-way ticket to travel to Yukon and his customized road bike to get back.
Food, supplies, clothes and camping gear — all of his equipment for the trip will be carried on his back as he traverses the country.
Do said the race rules allow him to use public services, hotels and grocery stores, but he is not allowed to get outside assistance for any of the issues that may arise during the trip.
“The most important part in all of this is to adapt yourself and be flexible with yourself just to learn as you go. There is a solution to all the stuff you encounter,” he said.
According to Do, the first segment in rural Western Canada will be the most challenging, with shotty cellular service and large distances between common rest stops.
“There is no cell service. It’s going to be hard for me to research where I can find food,” Do said.
“There is also a lot of wildlife, a lot of grizzly bears, moose and other things on the road that I am not used to in Quebec. That’s the toughest part, I think,” Do said.
Do said he plans on tackling the daunting task in segments, riding close to 400 kilometres a day at an average speed of close to 25 km/h.
The entire trip, Do said, will be documented daily on his Instagram with videos and pictures of the breathtaking scenery and countryside.
Followers of the TransCanada race will be able to tag along with an up-to-the-minute GPS tracking system.
The race officially kicks off June 12 in Whitehorse.
A self-proclaimed ice cream lover, Do said the trip will include a couple of sweet frosty pit stops at ice cream shops across the country.
“Of course, it will be a crime if I don’t have one in each province,” Do said.
“What better way to discover the country than on two wheels.”