July 25 was already scheduled to be a great day of fundraising. One former University of Victoria Vikes cross country runner wanted to get in on the fun and ride for a good cause as well.

Inspired by the inaugural Shim’s Ride, Jackson Bocksnick will be attempting his own ride on the same day the rowers roll into town to finish off their fundraising ride.

“I was reading about the Shim’s Ride and I thought it was really cool. It really exemplifies what sport can do for people,” said Bocksnick, who is currently enrolled in the UVic Faculty of Law. “We wanted to replicate their ride, put our own spin on it and find an issue that resonates with us.”

Similar to the three rowers in the Shim’s Ride, Bocksnick used cycling as a cross-training program to build his endurance away from cross country. Now riding for the TaG Cycling Team, Bocksnick and his TaG teammate Ethan Pauly will ride up and down Bear Mountain.

Their mission follows a new trend in the cycling world: Everesting. Riders pick their desired hill and ride it until you achieve the same vertical distance equivalent to summiting Mount Everest – 8,848 metres.

“We’ve never tried anything like this before. I think it is one of those things you do once and then that’s enough,” said Bocksnick, 27.

The ride up the south side of Bear Mountain is 1.7-kilometres long. Each lap they do, they gain 143m of elevation. Bocksnick predicts the ride up to take seven minutes, with the cruise down lasting about two minutes. The duo plan to have their first lap of the mountain take place at 7:30 a.m.

The two riders have calculated that it should take 62 trips up and down the mountain (roughly nine hours and 200km) to achieve their desired vertical mileage. They are aiming to accomplish their ride around the same time the Shim’s Ride is wrapping up, so they can meet one another and ride into town.

Pauly and Bocksnick aren’t doing this just for kicks. They have a donation page established where supporters can donate to KidSport.

“We are well aware of the social movement that is going on around the world right now and we wanted to do a small part to help out,” said Bocksnick, a product of Lethbridge, Alta. “It took this movement for us to realize how underrepresented the Indigenous and other visible minorities were in our teams growing up and that we would like to see this change for the future. KidSport has allowed us to specifically try and promote increased diversity in youth sport by earmarking any of the funds raised for Indigenous and newcomers to Canada. It’s not a solution, but we hope that getting a more representative population involved in youth sport will contribute to overcoming the racial divide.”
Bocksnick ran for the Vikes from 2010-15 and came back for one final fall season in 2018. He was a key member of the Vikes teams that placed second in 2014 and third in 2011 at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships. Bocksnick won three conference team banners during the Vikes second dynastic run in 2011, 2012 and 2014. He also earned First Team Canada West All-Star honours in 2011 and earned a Second Team selection in 2014.

His deep background in running, his work with his current team and the current global pandemic have left Bocksnick feeling pretty good more than a week out from the big ride.

“We certainly have a lot of training time on our hands these days and there is no shortage on hills around town,” said Bocksnick.

Supporters are encouraged to come watch, cheer on and ride a few laps on July 25. The challenging ride is worth it, as it provides a great view to the water and along with the satisfaction of helping out a great cause.

“Even if we have a small impact, it’s still a positive step moving forward, making our ride a successful one,” said Bocksnick.

Follow the duo’s story through their Instagram channels @jacksonbocksnick, @ethan.pauly and on KidSport Victoria’s page @kidsportvictoria.