Fred and Joe Meissner shouldn’t have any problem digging deep for motivation to train for an 80-kilometre bike race in September.
The father-son duo have formed a cycling team to raise funds for their granddaughter and niece Kate Meissner, and her charity Kate’s Kause, which is building an all-accessible playground in Elmira’s Gibson Park.
“We’re hoping to get 25 riders on our team and they’re going to be asked to raise a minimum donation and then go and do the ride,” said Joe. “We’ll donate all those proceeds to Kate’s Kause.”
Headed by Kelly Meissner, the charity is named after her young daughter Kate, who was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome about two years ago. Angelman Syndrome is a neurological disease affecting about one in 15,000 people, characterized by a severe global developmental delay. People with AS, or “Angels” as they are sometimes called, can have little or no verbal skills, poor gross and fine motor skills, and possible seizure and sleep disorders.
Each rider on the team will be expected to raise a minimum of $150 through fundraising or a donation, and they will be participating at the Centurion bike race in Blue Mountain from Sept. 14-16 as part of the Kate’s Kause team. Riders can participate in any of the 40-, 80- or 160-km routes, and thus far they’ve already gotten about 20 people to express interest in joining the team.
“We’re pushing for the end of May for a commitment,” said Fred.
If the team does reach the “magic number of 25,” Joe said, they will be allowed to have a Kate’s Kause information booth at the three-day event, which would go a long way in promoting their cause even more.
The one thing they are looking hard to find more of, though, are corporate sponsors to help offset the cost of the team jerseys. Sponsors will have their logo printed on the jerseys, but the order must be sent away in June in time for the ride in September.
Both men have a background in cycling; Joe was a mountain biker during high school and post-secondary school and recently took up road cycling, and Fred has cycled for years, but they both know the Centurion will pose a challenge for them.
They rode the course last fall to test it out, and admitted the 80-km route – which includes an overall climb of about 1,000 metres – will be tough. That is why they are encouraging team members to train this summer and they are organizing training sessions as well.
“If I’m doing this, anyone should be able to get through it,” Fred said.
While the basic playground structure is paid for and construction is slated to begin this spring, there are still additional components that Kate’s Kause want to add to it, which is where this money will go.
“There’s a sensory wall that they’re still trying to raise money for,” explained Fred.
While they say that this year has been more about getting the word out to possible participants and corporate sponsors, they hope to make it an annual fundraiser for the cause and have even bigger plans ahead.
“We’ve always talked about cycling across Canada, and that’s a few years down the road when we have enough time,” said Joe.
For more information on the Kate’s Kause cycling team, email email@example.com or visit their website, http://kateskausecycling.weebly.com/. For more information on the Centurion ride visit http://centurioncycling.com/canada/.