A tetrad of grandfathers cycling across Canada raising funds and awareness for clean drinking water in Africa will wrap up their three-day journey across southwestern Saskatchewan later today.
Rob Montgomery, Timo Itkonen, Mike Woodard and Gabe Reynolds began their "Sea 2 Sea 2 Sea" 65-day trek on July 26 in Dawson City, Yukon as they dipped their bike tires in the Yukon River with aspirations of amassing enough money to fund the drilling of 65 wells in Africa.
"The core passion is that we can make a difference," Woodard said is the driving force behind the 9,974-kilometre ride. "There's so many things in the world around you, you do feel overwhelmed with but we know if we get out of bed and on the road, we do two things, we want to raise money but we also want to raise awareness."
They pulled into Gull Lake in the early evening portion of Saturday knocking down a 165-kilometre jaunt from Suffield, Alberta putting them at just over 40 per cent of their cross-country excursion complete reaching the 4,022-kilometre mark.
"I don't think I've ever seen so many cows in my life," Woodard said regarding southwestern Saskatchewan. "Just the rolling hills and the grain fields, what an incredible and important agricultural hub of Canada. As you ride through you think of the incredible impact that this region has. And the oil wells and gas, it makes me feel like this is taken for granted, this is such an important part of Canada."
Sunday's during the expedition have been rest days, however, that's a bit misleading as they attended a trio of churches in Swift Current, the East Side Church of God, the Community Baptist Church, and the Church of the Open Bible yesterday.
"We meet such great people along the way that help and actually motivate us," the 66-year-old said. "If we're going along and not connecting with people it's just tougher."
To help make the installation of wells a reality with the dough they'll accumulate, so far they've brought in $198,000 (23 wells paid for), they joined forces with the Global Aid Network.
"Sixty-five is significant because it's our average age and it's about the same number of days we will be on the road, so it's kind of a well for every day," he said. "A well transforms a village, it changes their health, it gives women more time to invest in other productive activities because the average distance a woman has to go is five kilometres to find water. The tragic thing is that the water they're carrying, actually brings back many times, death."
The quartet of bikers is expected to be back on the road early today and rack up 227 kilometres before the day's end as they reach Moose Jaw.
To follow their travel, learn more about the cause, or help them reach the $552,000 goal, you can click here.