Spin for a Veteran 2019 – Sweating Buckets for a Good Cause
By Lt Tom Clackson
On 01 June 2019, LdSH(RC) sent a contingent to Calgary, AB to take part in the 3rd annual Spin for a Veteran cardio challenge. Hosted by our long-standing community partner Canadian Pacific Railway, this event is designed to raise funds for the Homes for Heroes Foundation, with the aim to build small communities in the Calgary area to provide homeless Veterans with a place to live, and get back on their feet.
Despite the fact the Strathcona spin team had just redeployed from 8 weeks in the Wainwright training area, we were ready to put our feet to the pedals and fundraise for a good cause. The CP Rail headquarters was quite the sight to behold. Bringing our usual flair on the road, LdSH(RC) sent the Historical Vehicle Troop lead by MCpl “Sully” Sullivan in the Sherman Tank ‘Catherine’, and the Ceremonial Mounted Troop lead by Capt Erik “Gino” Giajnorio. To match our pageantry, CP Rail brought in the bouncy castle, food trucks, and a plethora of sponsor booths.
Generously housing the Strathcona team in the executive suites, the cyclists lounged in ample comfort between shifts, while the team Captain Lt Tom “My Knees are Clicking” Clackson spent the weekend in a vintage 1927 luxury rail car.
The event began at 2:00 PM on 01 June 19, and as soon as we started pedaling, the team knew that we were in a rough ride. With heavy hitters from CP Rail, ATCO, Calgary Police, and competitors from KOCR, 41 Svc Bn, and the HMCS Tecumseh, we had our work cut out for us. Sgt Nick “Hill Climb” Norman suggested we use more aggressive tactics to gain the lead, which had Tpr Jason “Terminator” Barrett and Cpl Spencer “Vegan Power” Kelly powering the team through hours of agony. Not to be psychologically defeated by an apparently cyborg-driven CP Rail Veteran team, Cpl’s Ryan Stone and Cole Foster ran their engines on energy drinks and nicotine, using any means necessary to push the physical limits of their bodies and gain more distance.
For the next torturous 24 hours, the Strathcona’s maintained a grueling pace, determined to beat all other Canadian military competitors at the event. When the dust settled at 2 PM the next day, LdSH(RC) had brought in a respectable 4th place overall, following in behind CP Rail, British Army Veterans, and ATCO. More importantly, Homes for Heroes fundraised over $500,000 during the event to be used for project development. Mission accomplished.
Tired, sore, and euphoric from a combination of sleep deprivation and caffeine, the Strathcona team was both proud and exhausted. Paying our respects to our hosts at CP Rail and departing the HQ building, the team vowed to return again for next year’s competition, and test our mettle once again.