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

Cooler temps today, but no rain in forecast until August

Environment Canada does not have good news when it comes to fighting fires in the Central Okanagan.

Updated: Evacuation order downgraded to alert for properties near Peachland

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

Fire command centre relocating from Penticton to West Kelowna

Firefighting resources to be concentrated out of temporary camp

Lake Country firefighters lend a hand to combat 1,000 hectare blaze

The Mount Eneas wildfire remains out of control south of Peachland

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Summerland campfire ban issued

Ban took effect at noon on Friday to reduce wildfire risk

Ban imposed on vehicle access to Kalamoir Regional Park

Precaution taken due to high fire hazard

Power affected by wildfire

Approximately 244 B.C. Hydro customers west of Summerland affected by the power outages

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Summerland Stomp cancelled

Wildfires in area lead to cancellation of event at Summerland Rodeo Grounds

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Tigers complete series sweep

Vernon grounds Kamloops 12-9 for Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League playoff title

Most Read