by EVAN MATTHEWS
Seventy-two-year-old Vernon Pawloske gave it everything he had, but an ambitious ride was cut short this year.
A heavy headwind and consistent air movement every pedal along the way made completion of this year’s trek next to impossible, he says.
“I feel a little bit bad about not accomplishing what I said I was going to… But I’m glad I did it,” says Pawloske.
“Headwind stops you dead in your tracks. You’re fighting and fighting, and any cyclist will tell you that… I still had energy,” he says.
Pawloske’s original plan was cycle more than 400 KM from his house east of McBride to the McBride library to the Jasper library, on to the Valemount library and then back to McBride to raise money for the McBride library..
Pawloske started his trek at his home outside McBride, rode to the McBride library, and then to the Jasper Library where his friend Kris Larsen had a reception for him. Pawloske ended up biking halfway back to Mount Robson, he says, before abandoning the trek.
In addition to poor weather, Pawloske says he also caught a “bit of a bug” in the days leading up to his journey.
“I had a fever and such, but just went for it anyway,” says Pawloske. “Things didn’t pan out.”
Nobody went with him, as Pawloske says he was solo on his trek.
“It was beautiful, I could hear all the birds chirping,” he says.
His friends Pastor Stewart Reimer from the EV Free Church and Kris Larsen came to find him, whether on bike or by car, at different points along the way.
Two years ago Pawloske raised money for the library by cycling and hiking 200 KM from McBride to Adolphus Lake in Mt. Robson Park and back, which took him 21 hours. He raised more than $7,000 for the library, which was needed to help move into a larger location on Main St. The library has since secured the new space and plans to move in following renovations.
“The Library means a lot to me, and is an asset to McBride and is a very busy place,” Pawloske told the Goat before his 2015 trek.
Pawloske cancelled the McBride-Jasper trek last year after concerns from library members about his well-being. The McBride Library said they would rather not have their name attached to such a grueling trip.
The biggest challenge, Pawloske noted before this year’s trek, would be sitting on a bicycle seat for that long. He brought a wide seat and extra foam to help him stay comfortable.
“It wasn’t my calves or my thighs, it was my rear end,” Pawloske confirmed to The Goat as his source of pain.
Pledges can still be given to anyone on the library board or at the library.
— with Goat files