A Montreal man has become the first person to complete the TransCanada Bike Race, the longest and, according to many, the hardest self-supporting solo cycling race in the world.
Henri Do, 35, left the Yukon on June 12, and just after midnight Friday morning, he made it across the country to the eastern tip of Cape Spear, N.L.
The race spanned 12,500 km, starting in the mountainous terrain of Whitehorse, then crossed all 10 provinces before finishing in St. John’s.
“It’s bittersweet,” he told Global News in Newfoundland on Friday, hours after finishing his 60-day ride.
Do said he faced a lot of challenges, weather-wise, as well as mechanical challenges that he said he didn’t expect. “But regardless of all of that, it’s been an amazing ride and an amazing adventure. There’s been a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but that’s the adventure.”
He said a lot of the experience was about problem solving and to just persevere through. “You keep on going.”
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The 35-year-old business intelligence analyst who works with Desjardins has participated in ultracycling races before, but nothing of this magnitude.
He cycled across the country without a road team, which means he was completely alone carrying his equipment on his back: supplies, food, clothes and camping gear.
The race rules allow him to use public services, like hotels and grocery stores. “I camped as much as I could when the weather permitted, and survived off truck stop and gas station meals — lots of fast food.”
Do, who grew up in Brossard on Montreal’s South Shore and now lives in Villeray, said he set out to do this ride to see the country.
“It’s hard to choose which stretch was my favourite. Every province is so different, but I’d have to say northern B.C. — the glaciers, the mountains, the wildlife.”
He said his second favourite would have to be the Gaspe peninsula, which he has cycled through before, but this time he said he saw northern lights for the first time.
As for what kept him mentally and emotionally grounded throughout the grueling trek, he credits his virtual social connections.
“Documenting and sharing my journey, the highs and the lows and seeing people invested.”