STELLARTON – One challenge has led a Pictou County resident to try another one.
Ahmed Nassrat says he’s considered training for an Ironman Triathlon after recently completing a bike tour of parts of Europe that combined the experience of long-distance cycling with raising funds on behalf of MS research.
“I set a goal two years ago to go do an Ironman Triathlon by age 30,” he said. “That would be my biggest challenge to go after.”
Nassrat returned to work at the Sobeys Inc. head office in Stellarton on December 14.
His cycling goal this fall was to cycle from the Atlantic Ocean to Constanta, Romania on the Black Sea. He had to reduce his distance travelled to 3,100 kilometres because he was unable to travel as far each day and it was getting darker in the late afternoon and colder than he thought it would be in the late fall in Europe.
“I didn’t factor that into my plan,” he said. “In October, it got darker at around 7 p.m. and in December it was dark at 4 p.m. I planned to ride 100 kilometres a day and ended up doing 75 kilometres a day. It means I fell two or three weeks short of my goal.”
Nassrat exceeded his other goal, which was to raise $1 per kilometre for MS research. The total he raised was $3,500.
“I’m very satisfied how the fund-raising went,” he said. “People were following me on Facebook and Instagram and emails from my office. It was great.”
Peter Gorski, a friend of Nassrat’s from B.C. joined him for part of his journey in Germany.
“We ended up doing 10 hours on our bikes that day,” he said.
Most of the bike trail Nassrat travelled on featured light traffic and was mainly flat. An exception was several days of pedalling between Switzerland and Germany.
“The trail system was awesome, with about 90 per cent of it asphalt,” he said. “You only encountered cars when you entered villages and then you were back on bike roads. You can only dream of that here.”
Despite not reaching the Black Sea, Nassrat passed through 10 countries and six national capitals – Paris, France; Berlin, Germany; Vienna, Austria, Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary and Belgrade, Serbia.
Nassrat’s nine-speed bike held up well. He had the bike’s chain and brakes repaired in Budapest.
“The tires were fine,” he said. “I never had a flat.”
Nassrat ate well and still lost weight.
“I had to keep eating and still lost 20 pounds; I wanted to experience different foods,” he said. “It’s just about having the energy to keep going.”
Ahmed Nassrat is fully equipped for his travels with a helmet camera. (Submitted photo)