Daniel Either is a Victoria resident who has spent his life as an athlete.
By 2012 he had run the Boston Marathon five times and had competed in marathons across Canada, in Chicago, New York, and even Kenya. In the prime of health, he felt that he should try to do something for his running coach, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Either got a group together for a fundraising ride to raise funds for MS.
It was about the same time Either suffered a stroke, and during his recovery he was also diagnosed with MS.
Now, at 51 years old, Either still runs, although not as competitively as in the past. These days he is involved in fundraising as the chair of this year’s Scotiabank MS Bike tour, dubbed the Cowichan Valley Grape Escape.
“This is such a great event…letting us celebrate life and the beauty around us. We meet people and it’s a life affirming experience for everyone,” said Either.
The Grape Escape is a two-day event that sees about 500 participants set out from a home base at Shawnigan Lake School on Saturday, July 21. The course takes them on a tour of wineries, farms, and artisans before returning to Rider Village for an evening of festivities.
The next day riders head out to explore another region of Cowichan Valley before returning for the closing ceremonies.
Either stressed one need not be an athlete or even a frequent cyclist to take part in the event.
“We get people out who, I’m certain, don’t ride more than this one event every year. This isn’t a race,” said Either.
To ensure that no one is overwhelmed by the ride, organizers have designated three course lengths. On the first day participants can choose to ride either 47, 73 or 103 kilometres, and on the second day the course lengths are 13, 33 or 57 km. Each of the courses provides riders with a different set of stops, but even the shortest route represents a day chock full of fascination and great food and wine.
Either explained research is giving hope to those suffering from MS. It’s zeroing in on the cause of the disease, potential triggers and ways in which the nerve damage that accompanies the disease might be repaired or managed.
“It’s a nasty disease, and although I’m doing alright at the moment, I could wake up tomorrow morning and not be able to get out of bed…that’s the way this disease works,” said Either.
For more information on how to participate visit msbike.ca.