Vernon’s Peter Byrnes rides in the Canadian Great Cycle Challenge to combat children’s cancer. (Photo Submitted)

Vernon’s Byrnes conquers cancer cycle

Raises cash to combat children’s disease

A stormy night last week forced him to spend 90 minutes indoors on a wind trainer. He used a headlamp to cover 40 kilometres on the Rail Trail from his home near Vernon Golf & Country Club to Oyama. His longest trek was a 111-kilometre jaunt to the Shuswap and back.

Peter Brynes is done. The 51-year-old Highland Elementary School Grade 5 teacher cycled 1,003.9 kilometres in June, raising almost $2,100 for the Canadian Great Cycle Challenge.

“I finished in the morning on the magical day, the 30th,” laughed Byrnes. “I did a 28-k loop out around Lavington. I went for a ride the next day too.”

RELATED: Vernon’s Byrnes cycling for cancer

According to the Great Cycle Challenge website, as of Wednesday’s dinner hour, a total of 18,240 riders covered 2.3 million kilometres and raised close to $3.9 million to combat childhood cancer.

“Donations are still open until the 27th so they should crack four (million) by the time it’s done,” said Byrnes, who will compete in the World Sprint Triathlon in his native Australia in September with buddy Mark Wehner of Armstrong.

“The journey physically, geographically and emotionally has been incredible,” wrote Byrnes on his Facebook page. “Logistically, if I rode 33 km every day, 1,000 km would be easy. But just like the kids fighting cancer, there were good days and bad days. Some days, I would plan to ride 40, 60 or 80 km after work, and I would come home and sleep.

“I was rained out, flatted out, and worn out. But other days, the support of friends and family lifted me and I had wings. People shared their hearts and stories. Cancer has touched my life and the lives of so many. The ride after 30 days is over for me but the battle against cancer for kids will continue. Many will lose the battle but the number of stories of children winning the battle is on the rise. Thanks for being part of the cure.”

Byrnes, a Vernon father of two, spun and swim in the Kal RATS Sprint Triathlon two weeks ago at Kin Beach.

He said a pop up on Facebook invited him to ride in support of conquering children’s cancer. He lost three close relatives in the last two years to cancer so he understood the pain, uncertainty and heartbreak associated with the disease.

More than 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and it’s the biggest killer of children from disease in Canada. Statistics show 27 children in Canada are diagnosed with cancer every week.

You may donate by visiting: https://greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/PeterByrnes

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