Cyclist Vincent Nadon is riding from Victoria to Montreal to raise funds for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. (Provided)

Chronic disease no obstacle for B.C. ultra-cyclist heading across Canada

Cross-Canada ride raises funds for Crohn’s disease

Endurance athletes often have steep hills to climb, particularly if they attempt a cross-Canada trek. For ultra-cyclist Vincent Nadon, hills are not his only obstacle.

On Wednesday, Nadon will set off from Victoria International Airport on a month-long, 5,600-kilometre ride across Canada to raise money and awareness for Crohn’s disease, an illness which he also lives with.

Nadon defines ultra-cycling as any trip at least 250 km in length done in under 24 hours. He learned of the sport through his friends he met in Belgium, and when he saw the photos he wanted to be one himself. To date, the longest ride he’s done is the Ultra Challenge in Quebec, which was 1,060 kilometres over three days. He says he slept only three or four hours for the entire duration of the race.

At first, the cross-country ride was because his friends gave him a challenge.

“I was living in Belgium for two years, and cycling culture is a huge thing,” said Nadon. “My friends were like, “Once you go back, you have to cross your own country!”

While in Belgium, Nadon was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He saw blood in his stool, which Nadon said was the first sign something was wrong. He felt more and more pain, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 26 (he is 30 now).

Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease that affects the intestines. The main symptoms are cramps and bleeding, but people with the disease cannot absorb nutrients normally, which in Nadon’s case affects his athletic performance and recovery time. It also can result in urgent bathroom trips, and increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

Nadon said there are many misconceptions about Crohn’s disease. He says because it is mostly invisible, people can underestimate its effects. He said people have suggested his symptoms are due to a gluten or a lactose allergy, and he has to correct them.

The treatment can also be expensive. Nadon had been living without symptoms for two and a half years after a lot of trial and error in his treatment to find something his body responded to. But last September, his symptoms returned. Nadon recently switched to a new, intravenous treatment that lasts two months but cost $8,000 for the first dose and $4,800 for each subsequent dose. He says he is very lucky the manufacturer agreed to provide it without charge, because his Quebec provincial health plan does not cover it.

“Can you imagine if someone with the disease is not covered? Within a year, this person could go easily bankrupt,” said Nadon. “Once you find the right medication and it starts working, you’re like, ‘OK, this is how I should feel!’”

His Victoria to Montreal route is not the most direct. It has many hills, but also many beautiful vistas. He’s included places he’s always wanted to visit, like Drumheller and Lake Louise. He is traveling solo, and taking camping gear and water with him. He says it is partly for training, and partly a vacation, in addition to a fundraising opportunity.

“I planned it around the nice routes, not just filling the void between Victoria and Montreal.”

To follow him on his journey, follow his Facebook page at facebook.com/ACrohns.VNadon.

Just Posted

2017 fire babies pose for photo one year later

23 babies and their moms gathered for a photo shoot at the Williams Lake Fire Department

Mount Polley Mine ordered to pay lost wages to 26 laid off employees

The decision comes at a time when mine employees have been on strike for the past seven weeks

Column: protected areas – how much is enough?

Columnist Jim Hilton says attitudes need to change

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Mennonite volunteers help wildfire victims rebuild homes

Volunteers sometimes come for a week at a time

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

Most Read