Champion duathlete begins ride for Parkinson’s

Victoria's John Crouch began a very long bike ride for a very worthy cause on Tuesday. On what he's dubbed "John's Ride for Parkinson's," the 70-year-old set off from Whitehorse on a solo, unsupported ride to Victoria to raise money for the Parkinson Society British Columbia.

Victoria’s John Crouch began a very long bike ride for a very worthy cause on Tuesday.

On what he’s dubbed “John’s Ride for Parkinson’s,” the 70-year-old set off from Whitehorse on a solo, unsupported ride to Victoria to raise money for the Parkinson Society British Columbia.

Crouch collected over $7,000 before the very first pedal stroke of the 2,350-kilometre journey that he expects the take in about 3.5 weeks.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never been in this part of the world before,” said Crouch.

“When I was young, I had the notion that I would ride from the Yukon to the Yucatan (Peninsula), so Whitehorse was going to be my starting point.

“I’m completely self-supporting. I’ll be camping a lot of the time, motels when I get too sticky, so I can get a good shower. I’ll probably want to check in with the Tour de France.”

Crouch’s inspiration for the trip comes from close to home. His 40-year-old nephew has been suffering from the neurological disorder for more than a decade.

“I’ve seen the ravages of the disease on his body and also his spirit,” said Crouch. “We’d always go hiking together in England … and he’s a good soccer player. I wouldn’t say he can’t do any of that, but his ability to do that is diminished.”

No ordinary senior citizen, Crouch is a world champion athlete who won his age division at the World Endurance Duathlon Championship in Holland 10 years ago. He has also won national championships in duathlon, a sport similar to triathlon minus the swimming, as well as long-course triathlons.

“I’ll take a day off, probably in Smithers,” said Crouch, who last year completed a 1,500-kilometre trip in Washington state. “It depends on how my body is holding up. I’m a competitive athlete and I keep in great shape all year, so I’m not expecting to have any difficulties, but one never knows.

“People are asking if I’m taking a GPS – why would I want a GPS?” he added. “I have two left turns and two right turns and then I’m in Nanaimo.”

To donate, click on John’s Ride for Parkinson’s at www.parkinson.bc.ca/events. You can also follow his progress on a Facebook page under the same name.

“There’s no cure as of yet for Parkinson’s, and it’s a progressive disease of the neurological system, so if I can raise a little bit of money – in five weeks I’ve raised just over $7,000, and that’s just my friends – it’s absolutely amazing to me,” said Crouch.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com