Arvid Loewen successfully finished his extreme cycling event at Bird's Hill Park this past weekend, which is helping feed kids in Kenya and give them hope through Jesus Christ.
"The event went very much as planned, or hoped for," says Loewen. "It was fairly decent weather so I can't complain about that. I started off very consistent. I was off the bike for very little time but I got in trouble overnight because it got very cold, about 8 degrees. I started to really shake and couldn't get rid of the shivers so I had to stop and get in the car to warm up for 20 minutes just to get my body temperature back up again."
In 2009, Loewen gave himself a goal to see how far and long he could cycle in one continuous time, only stopping for under 60 minutes total. Back then, he cycled 711 km before stopping.
On Saturday, Loewen started cycling an 11 km loop, beginning at 7:00 a.m. at Bird's Hill Provincial Park, just outside Winnipeg. At 9:00 p.m. after cycling for 14 hours, he had only stopped for a total of seven minutes.
The ride was for a cause near and dear to Loewen's heart; raising money for Mully Children's Family (MCF) in Kenya, which essentially helps feed starving children while sharing the good news of the gospel.
Many people got on board to support Loewen during this extreme cycling event in the week leading up to the event. On Monday, Loewen had people that committed to donating $112/km. By the time he was done the event, Loewen's supporters committed $168/km.
"I'm very grateful for all the people who stopped by and said hi, and there was lots of it. We had organized our whole family and they have been incredible. The grandkids come out and the 'Go grandpa go,' never gets old."
On Sunday afternoon, Loewen finished his ride after being on his bike for 30 hours and 37 minutes, taking only 56 minutes of off-bike time. At 65 years old, he beat his previous record of 711 km cycled in 2009 and completed 725 km before getting off the bike, sore and tired.
The total amount raised just from cycling came to $121,800 for MCF. This doesn't include other online donations that came in separately.
"Somehow people caught the vision a little more than I expected so that was very cool."
Coming to the end of his ride, knowing he beat his previous target, Loewen's grandkids held up a toilet paper finish line for him to ride through.
"Our grandkids are now at an age where they fully get what we're doing," says Loewen. "This is a blessed situation that we are in."
Loewen says he's grateful for the support he's received over the past 18 years as a cycling philanthropist, including from many people he doesn't know or has never met. His wife Ruth is always at the events as the lead of the support crew.
"For us, it's become a bit of a ministry platform because we know we are reaching all kinds of different areas of life. I just want to say thank you to all these people who continue to come back and show interest in this old guy."
The Ups and Downs
"The focus here was not so much on speed but on staying on the bike and being very efficient on that. Back in 2009, the focus was to do it at a higher speed."
In training for this event, Loewen's longest training ride was 150 km on his bike. This means he cycled almost five times that amount in one day for this fundraiser. He also had a few people join him, cycling for shorter periods of time.
"I didn't really train as hard as I should have. I knew I would suffer but I also knew that I had enough memory from the past and that it's okay to go through that kind of effort for a short period of time. Overall, compared to other ones, this was a short event even though it was significantly intense."
Loewen says after he finished riding on Sunday he could barely walk. One day later, alongside sleep, he is feeling much better already.