Just over three days of gruelling cycling through B.C.’s Interior has earned para-cyclist Tristen Chernove a new record.
Chernove completed the BC Epic 1,000 on Tuesday — 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. The route includes gravel forestry roads, mountain bike trails and paved roads.
According to Chernove, the previous record for the route was three days, 15 hours and 22 minutes. He said he beat that record by about eight and a half hours.
“It’s great to be finished,” he told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
“I had my first sleep in several days and a long one at that. So I’m feeling pretty good actually.”
Chernove pulled into Merritt just before noon on Tuesday.
He posted updates on Facebook along the way, sharing both the highs and the lows of the adventure.
“I’m not feeling great this morning,” he said on the second day, after only a few hours of sleep.
“I’m hoping that now that the sun is up I can … find some energy and hopefully get a bit more positive spin going because it’s been slow, rough going and I’m hurting.”
He used strategies from mental strength coaches at Cycling Canada, such as asking himself if negative thoughts were helping him accomplish his goal, and if not, finding more productive, positive thoughts.
In 2009, Chernove was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a degenerative but non-life threatening disease that affects his lower legs. He says it 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.
After discovering para-cycling, he became a triple Paralympic medallist in 2016 and won silver at the para-cycling track world championships in February.
Aside from setting a new record, he also raised more than $30,000 for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada to help other para-athletes access equipment and training needed to participate in sport.
“I am super happy and probably will try to continue doing something like this,” Chernove said.
“Any other athletes with a disability out there … I would challenge you to think of things that matter for you and to get out there and raise some money as well. It’s a great feeling.”