HMCS Fredericton team prepare for charity bike ride

Members of the HMCS Fredericton ‘Sailor for Wishes’ team train with a spin class at the Shearwater gym. Photo by Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper

Members of the HMCS Fredericton ‘Sailor for Wishes’ team train with a spin class at the Shearwater gym. Photo by Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

Over the past nine years, crews from HMCS Fredericton have raised nearly $500,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation New Brunswick chapter through the ship’s annual Bike for Wishes fundraiser.

It’s become an important source of funds for the organization, as well as a great morale booster for the Royal Canadian Navy sailors who take part each year. Now, as the weather starts to warm up, they’re ready to do it once again.

This year, Fredericton has renamed its signature fundraiser, now known as Sailor for Wishes, but the intent remains the same – to cycle 1,000 kilometres across the province of New Brunswick, stopping at numerous communities along the way to raise much-needed funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

For the event’s tenth anniversary, the crew hopes to top last years’ fundraising total.

“This year, our goal is to raise about $100,000, which would work out to be about 10 wishes granted for kids,” said Lt(N) Ian Daniels, lead organizer for the 2018 Sailor for Wishes team.

The team will split up into two groups of 10, each biking a different route across the province, with stops at communities including Bathurst, Miramichi, Caraquet, Campbellton, Moncton, Sussex, Oromocto, Saint John and more. Fundraisers are held at each spot at grocery stores or other local businesses, and members will also meet with Children’s Wish foundation representatives, including Wish recipients and their families, along the way.

While most of the team members enjoy cycling on their own time, they also began training together in early April in preparation for the long-distance rides in August, with Personnel Support Program’s Joel Waterfield leading training sessions on stationary bikes at the Shearwater gym. He said the focus for training has been on short, intense intervals. 

“This is so they can be developing the power and strength they need for long distances, rather than the endurance training they’ll be doing on their own time.”

As August gets closer, the sessions will get more difficult, with longer bursts of sustained effort and shorter rest periods.

“We’ll keep progressively adding to it, trying to tailor the classes for what the team needs,” Waterfield added.

The fundraiser officially kicks off Aug. 6; the team will make their way through the province, and wrap up in the ship’s namesake city on Aug. 11, with closing ceremonies taking place at Officers’ Square in downtown Fredericton.

Stay tuned for more information on how to support the team as August approaches.

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