Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/7/2010 (4108 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg police are in hot pursuit of a male speeding away on a bicycle.
No, this isn’t the plot of another TV crime drama. It was a description of a recent fundraising event that took a group of Winnipeg cyclist halfway across Canada, traveling west to east, in a five-day stretch.
The Hot Pursuit 2010 cross-country cycling race starred Winnipegger Arvid Loewen, a renowned ultra-marathon cyclist, who was pursued, by among others, Team Winnipeg Police and Team CMU.
The twist was that Loewen — who pedaled away from White Rock, B.C. at 7 a.m. on July 17 — left the west coast 24 hours before the team of cops and 27 hours before the group from the Tuxedo-based Canadian Mennonite University.
In total, the riders covered approximately 2,330 km during the course of the round-the-clock race back to Winnipeg.
The idea of the challenge was for the two pursuit teams to overtake Loewen, a 53-year-old former Palliser furniture executive. Loewen was racing to raise money for the Mully Children’s Family — an NGO based in Kenya, Africa that provides care and resources for children, including orphanages.
The five-member CMU contingent — featuring faculty members Chris Huebner and John Brubacher, as well as Kevin Kilbrei and alumni Craig Penner and Jon Guenter — raced from Vancouver to Winnipeg to raise funds for international student financial support, while Team Winnipeg Police rode on behalf of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
In Calgary, Team GoGo, including eighty-year-old Shirley Polson, joined the Winnipeg teams in the race on July 18. The women named their team after the Zulu word for grandmother.
"I wanted to create a public platform for multiple charities that can benefit," said Loewen, who was speaking from B.C. shortly after arriving after a "peaceful drive" from his North Kildonan home.
In 2006, when Loewen and his wife, Ruth, visited Kenya, the trip had a profound impact on him — and his career path.
"When a little Kenyan girl jumped in my arms, she really jumped in my heart. Eventually, I resigned my job, which was a very good high level executive position, and dedicated my life to this cause," Loewen said, who has been training for 30 hours a week for the past few months.
He added that the Mully Children’s Family was especially close to his heart because "it’s about 45% self-sustaining.
This cause is very personal to me. I see it as my responsibility," Loewen said.
So, considering Loewen’s age and experience, is he fit and fast enough to win the race?
"It’s a handicapped race, like a British-style fox hunt. I’m the fox and they’re the hounds. To win, I will need to beat my personal best for this course by 12 hours, so it will be tough," Loewen said, adding he expects to get only 90 minutes of sleep each night.
"At the end of the day, the weather has so much to do with it."
At press time, the riders were expected to arrive back in Winnipeg at the Manitoba legislature on July 21 between 4 and 10 p.m.
For more information, visit www.cmu.ca.
Simon Fuller is the reporter/photographer for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.