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

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on Vedder River in Chilliwack

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating down river is inherently dangerous

Habitat for Humanity says it owes no money to former CEO

Upper Fraser Valley branch responds to wrongful dismissal lawsuit

City hall taps out on decade-long resistance to MMA in Chilliwack

Official sanctioning under B.C. Athletic Commissioner helped change minds

Affordable housing for seniors eyed for former Paramount site

City of Chilliwack to partner with Chilliwack Community Services

Chilliwack Progress picks up three national newspaper awards

Progress part of strong Black Press showing at CCNA awards

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

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

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

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

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

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

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

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Most Read