100 Days Across Canada - benefiting Prostate Cancer Research
Juan Manuel Alonso & Luis NasimDonate in Support of Juan Manuel Alonso & Luis Nasim
Juan Manuel Alonso
In 2014 I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, a disorder that causes severe dizziness, vertigo and ringing in the ears. I never imagined that my retirement would be impeded by a condition that could limit or prevent me from doing activities I loved.
One day, frustrated by the lack of success with both the medication I was taking and the various physical therapies, I headed out on my bike for a long ride. For a reason that even my doctors could not explain, I did not experience any symptoms associated with my disease. This is how I came to realize that cycling would allow me to regain some control and balance in my life.
In 2016, my good friend Luis proposed that we cycle around the Gaspé region in Québec. Feeling fearless and determined that I could achieve this, we organized a 14 day trip that would take us through 1000 kilometers of roads while carrying 50 pounds of gear each on our touring bikes. What a spectacular experience - both because Luis and I make a great team, and also because I did not suffer one vertigo attack during the trip.
Following this success, we set our sights on sometime bigger and greater. After all, what are two cycling aficionados to do in retirement if not cycle through Canada? We anticipated that it would take us approximately 100 days to complete this journey. We realized that this is a long time away from home, a significant commitment, but a worthy adventure. In addition to doing this for ourselves, we also wanted this journey to have a greater purpose. We both have friends and relatives who have been affected by illness and more specifically by prostate cancer and in researching this cause further, my wife and I approached Dr. Simon Tanguay, Urologist in chief at the MUHC hospital who has been following me since my own prostate cancer scare several years ago.
Luis and I are looking forward to this incredible adventure that will no doubt be challenging but also incredibly rewarding. It is with the unwavering support of our friends and families that we are feeling ready and confident, and more importantly, our motivation now comes from knowing that Canadian men and their families will benefit from the funds raised through this initiative.
From an early age, I always enjoyed cycling and spent a good part of my youth riding my bike throughout the streets of Buenos Aires where I was born. Moving to Montreal and adulthood brought about typical life changes and responsibilities including family life, work and other activities of which cycling was not a part of.
As I got older, I liked the idea of being able to practice a healthy cardiovascular activity without the harsh impact on the body that other sports can cause. Cycling was the ticket, and it was a way to reconnect with a sport that I had so much enjoyed in my younger years. This is how I got into road biking, which I combined with my love of camping and the outdoors.
Eight years ago, while on a trip to South America, I hooked up with four high school friends to complete a one week self-supported crossing of the Andes on mountain bikes. This was truly an eye opener for me. Bike touring provided exercise, a sense of adventure, a great way to see the land and close camaraderie when accompanied by like-minded friends.
In 2016, my good friend Manny and I set out to do another self-supported cycling trip; this time, a loop of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, one thousand kilometres in two weeks’ time. The tour was a huge success and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves throughout the adventure. On a high after a great finishing day, and while enjoying a celebratory dinner, I proposed to Manny that we undertake a more serious tour in the near future —crossing Canada by bike! His response was immediate and affirmative. Being able to cycle across our beautiful country from Victoria to St. John’s, and to meet fellow Canadians along the way became a great motivator.
During our Gaspé trip we discovered that there was a synergy between us. We were definitely bike-touring compatible in terms of our individual strengths and in being able to support one another when needed. And so, the planning for “One Hundred Days across Canada” began. With both of us being newly retired 60 year olds and with our families’ blessing, we had the time, support and the drive to tackle this project. Once the decision to cycle across Canada was sealed, Manny mentioned that he felt strongly about getting something extra from our adventure. He suggested that we raise funds for a worthy cause close to his heart, and the fight against prostate cancer was something we could both support. In fact, both Manny and I have family members and friends affected by prostate cancer and/or prostate related issues.
This adventure provides me with an opportunity to, in a small way, fight a disease that affects so many men and their families, and it positively adds to the motivating factor to complete our trek.
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Juan Manuel Alonso & Luis Nasim