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Rally’s Britton to ride 300 miles along Vancouver Island for mental health fundraiser

Rally Cycling's Rob Britton will embark on a 300-mile ride across Vancouver Island to raise funds for the WIRTH Foundation, which benefits mental health.

Rob Britton will tackle the longest bike ride of his life on the longest day of 2020.

Britton, Rally Cycling’s GC rider, plans to ride the length of Vancouver Island, from Victoria to Port Hardy, on Saturday. He’s calling his ride the UpIslander.

According to Britton’s Strava route, the ride will encompass 504 total kilometers of riding (314 miles) and 4,650 meters of elevation gain (15,266). He is completing the journey with his training buddy, Taylor Little, and the two will be self supported during the trip.

“We’ll be hitting Tim Horton’s along the way and praying there’s no line outside,” Britton told VeloNews. “That’s just about the most Canadian way to do a trip like this.”

Britton (right) and Little will ride 500 kilometers. Photo: Rob Britton

The route traverses the eastern coast of the island and goes through Nanaimo, Courtenay, and Campbell River, before turning inland to complete the route to Port Hardy. The entire route is on paved roads, however Britton and Little are riding their gravel bicycles during the challenge.

“We’re going to do a bikepacking tour on gravel on the backend to get home,” Britton said.

Britton and Little are using the massive ride to collect donations for the WIRTH Foundation, a group that provides free mental health counseling sessions to those who cannot afford it. The foundation raises funds through the sale of hats and charitable donations, and was founded to commemorate the life of Jakob Wirth, who died by suicide in 2014.

Their ride also corresponds with the Parallels challenge, a global event put on by bike packing brand Apidura that challenges cyclists to complete the greatest point-to-point distance possible in 24 hours on the upcoming Summer solstice.

Britton and Little plan to depart Victoria at sunrise on Saturday, which is approximately 4:30 a.m. Pacific time.

“It seems like the invent your own endurance challenge thing has become the new replacement for bike racing, which is cool,” Britton said. “Let’s push ourselves in a competitive sense, raise money for good, and do it from an endurance point-of-view. It’s neat to see where your bike can take you.”