On Saturday morning before dawn, Tristen Chernove will take off from Fernie, B.C., on a bike and it could be sometime before he gets off it.
A 2016 triple Paralympic medallist and silver medal winner at the para-cycling track world championships in February, Chernove is no stranger to the world of elite cycling — but this particular route is a far cry from the tracks he usually rides.
The Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year have been postponed due to COVID-19, so Chernove, a Cranbrook resident, is going to tackle a challenge a little closer to home known as the BC Epic 1000.
It’s a 1,066 kilometre route that runs mostly along the Trans Canada Trail, from Fernie through the back trails of the Kootenays and Okanagan to Merritt. According to Chernove, the fastest time the route has been ridden before is three days, 15 hours and 22 minutes.
“It’s great if I set a super fast time but it’s about safely completing a route and it’s more about the awareness campaign and the fundraising that is motivating me, not owning a record,” said Chernove Friday on The Early Edition.
Watch Tristen Chernove, 45, speak with the CBC’s Scott Russell about the BC Epic 1000:
Chernove, who was diagnosed in 2009 with Charcot-Marie Tooth, a degenerative but non-life threatening disease that affects his lower legs, is using the ride to raise money via donations for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada.
It is a foundation that he says has benefited him greatly as an athlete and the funds will go toward creating access to sport for more Canadians with a disability.
According to Chernove, Charcot-Marie-Tooth affects his peripheral nervous system meaning he has very little use of his legs below the knees and his lower arms and hands are also impacted.
When cycling, he says his body has adapted to use his core, glutes and quads to do the heavy work.
“I’m glad I found cycling. I’ve been competitive in many sports but for me, cycling certainly highlights my ability, not my disability.”
Chernove said he is as mentally prepared for the BC Epic 1000 as he can be, but it will be terrain he is not used to riding.
The route includes riding gravel forestry roads, mountain bike trails and possibly some washed out roads after a rather wet spring and early summer.
If things go smoothly, Chernove said he may try and sneak the occasional two or three hour sleep along the route, but that he plans to follow a set schedule to try and accomplish a record time.
“I’m probably just gonna have to power through,” said the athlete.
To hear the complete interview with Tristen Chernove on The Early Edition before setting out on his ride, tap here.