Make your own free website on
About Dr.Andries Botha About the Man: Road conditions and weather Road & weather:
Botha's travel route Travel Route Dr. Botha in the news In The News
Town of Grimshaw Mile 0 Grimshaw Back to home page Botha Home Pg
More great Links

Dr.Botha's Extreme Cycling Challenge


Press Releases FOR 1997****

Dr Andries Botha, of Grimshaw Alberta, has begun a cross Canada
bicycle trip. Dr Botha's objectives are:
from the May 21, 1997 issue of the Mile Zero News......

Botha's Extreme Challenge 1997
Coast to Coast in 20 days

by Sharon Reichert
Mile Zero News Reporter

Dr. Andries botha, one of Grimshaw, Alberta's three doctors, is planning to achieve a personal dream and put the PEace Country on the map by cycling coast to coast, more than 7,000 km, in 20 days this summer. His journey begins June 21, 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia and takes him through Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces to St. John's, Newfoundland, on or about July 10.

Botha was born and raised in South Africa and first came to Canada when he was invited by a friend to practice Sport's Medicine in Inuvik, North West Territories. Botha had never heard of Inuvik but he agreed to go there for a short time. He stayed there three years and has been in Canada ever since. He said that the summers, with their constant sunlight, were more difficult than you might think. People would come to him for treatment at all hours of the night and no one ever wanted to sleep. In the winter he said it is just the opposite, people forget to get up. The winters don't get too much colder than here but the cold spells last longer, according to Botha.

After his time up north, Botha lived in Edson for two years. It was there that he met John Bright who has become a close friend and will be accompanying Botha in the motor home as he rides across Canada.

Botha found Grimshaw very welcoming when he moved here, even though the only person he knew was Dr. Wouter Dehaeck, another of Grimshaw's doctors. Dehaeck and Dr. Francois Klassen, Grimshaw's third doctor, are also from South Africa. Keeping doctors in rural, northern communities has proved to be difficult but Grimshaw is fortunate to have three doctors who have been settled here for awhile now.

Botha noted the differences in climate among the places he's lived and said that a person can adapt to anything, it's a matter of attitude. Having been in Canada for several years now, he isn't sure he could ever live in south Africa again. "You can't belong two places," he said, adding that when you leave a place everything changes, including you.

Over the years, Botha has run more than 40 marathons, including nine 90 km races, he has cycled across South Africa, across the USA in 34 days without assistance, from Seattle to Los Angeles and the 500 km from Grimshaw to Edmonton last year as a fund raiser for fitness equipment for the hospital. Once he also cycled 180 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk on an ice road in -25 degrees Celsius temperatures in a single day. This year(1997) he was the Grimshaw Huskies Hockey Club team doctor. He was also the team doctor for the South African team at the 100 km World Championship road run in Japan in 1994 and Holland in 1996/97.

All of his past bike trips have been leading up to this year's Extreme Challenge of crossing Canada in 20 days. Making this trip will fulfill a personal dream for the doctor and he also wants to use the trip to promote fitness and health style changes to prevent and fight alcohol, drug and cigarette abuse in society. His other goal is to put the Peace Country, and specifically Grimshaw, on the map, to increase awareness of our region in the rest of Canada.

To make the trip in 20 days, Botha will have to ride an average of 350 km a day, that's twelve on the bike plus breaks. He plans to start at 5 a.m. and ride for an hour or so before breakfast then continue on throughout the day, taking breaks every two or three hours to rest and eat, and stop at about 9 p.m. In order to keep up the tremendous pace, Botha will need to take in 8-10,000 a day. On his ride to Edmonton he said he didn't lose any weight because a person's body adapts to the stress of the long ride by hording energy to protect itself. To fight this tendency, Botha will be eating Access BArs which increase energy by helping the body to break down fat.

Botha is really appreciative of his friend Bright for agreeing to drive the motor home. Besides driving, Bright will be preparing all the food, washing Botha's clothes, taking care of any business or paperwork along the way and planning the route. Bright will stay in contact with Botha as he rides through some kind of radio device. Bright will also be the one who motivates Botha when he down and encourages him to get back on the bike for another day. Botha knows how hard it will be for Bright to give up his job and family for month and that there will be times when his friend is bored, just sitting in the motor home waiting. Botha will also have to fight boredom as he pedals his way through the prairie or on long stretches of highway. He said it's is a tought thing to stay focused and keep to an optimum pace where you are spending too much energy or slowing down too much. He knows that if he loses focus or concentration he could be injured by a fall or by passing vehicles.

Botha is not worried about travelling through the mountains or all the other hills he will ahve to face, he is more concerned with injuries, wind, traffic and semi trucks that can blow you right off the road as they pass by.

Botha's training included riding 50 km before work and 80 to 100 km after work everyday for months. When the weather didn't cooperate, he trained indoors on a stationary bike.

Promoting healthy lifestyles in very important to Botha. He knows how difficult it is to motivate people to change and that they get discouraged very quickly when they don't see results. The new Lifestyle for Health program at the Grimshaw Berwyn and District Hospital was designed to help people who want to make those changes. He said that society's way of dealing with fitness and health is to provide a quick fix or a pill and it doesn't work. He said a person has to believe in him or herself, set goals and change his or her metal attitude. He also talked about preventing people from ever starting to use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. He said that once they start, only ten per cent of people ever quit permanently.

Botha figures the trip across Canada will cost about $15,000, including as much $2,500 just for gas for the motor home. He is hoping that donations will cover most of his costs and has talked to a sport shop in Edson about providing him with a bike at cost. He will also need to ahve extra tires, an extra bike and lots of extra clothing along. Botha plans to meet with the mayors of Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John's either during or after his trip. Bright will be providing updates to CFRN TV, 'YL Country Radio and the Mile Zero News as they make their way across the country. To make his sponsors feel more like they are a part of his trip, Botha is offering the chance for donors to guess his finishing time and win two tickets to Las Vegas courtesy of Canadian Airlines.

from the June 18th, 1997 issue of the Mile Zero News.....

Dr. Botha off today!!

Dr. Botha's trip begins TODAY at the Peace River Airport with an enthusiastic Peace Country sendoff! Get yourself down to the airport at 1 p.m. today to wish our bike-riding doctor well on his impending 7,000 km journey across Canada. Botha is still trying to raise the rest of his support money - he is only about halfway there - so if you've been meaning to help out, this will be a good opportunity! Botha will be in Edmonton for a couple of days and will have a send off there as well before making his way to Vancouver for the start of his Coast to Coast Can-cycle Challenge. Watch for weekly updates on his progress in the MZN.

    1. To promote fitness and health style change to prevent and fight alcohol, drug and cigarette abuse in Society.
    2. To promote and make people in the rest of Canada aware of the Peace Region.
    3. To achieve a personal dream.

Dr. Botha left Vancouver on Saturday June 21, 1997. He is planning on travelling the 7000 Km distance in 20 days. This means an average of 350 Km per day.

Travel Reports *****
    Day 1 -

    He was not able to start his ride until Monday morning because of extreme heavy rains in Vancouver.

    On Monday morning he dipped his Bike wheel in English Bay and began his ride. The first day he bicycled 270 km with an average of 30 km per hour. He had one flat tire but other than that all went well. He spent the night near Merritt, BC.

    Day 3 -

    Doctor Botha cycled from Merritt to near Sicamous yesterday traveling 240 km , very hot weather, no rain.

    He reported that there were heavy head winds and mostly uphill. all is well and he is probably looking forward to the time when it will be down hill with tail winds.

    They have CB's with them and are monitoring chanel 19.

    Day 4:-

    Today Dr. Botha traveled from Golden, B.C. to Calgary for a total of 270 km. He reports that he is feeling very fit and is planning on leaving at 4 AM tomorrow morning.

    Day ???
    Subject: Hi

    Dear Mr. Nystrom, I have an update about my father for you. He spent the night in Moosejaw last night and had planned to go about cycling this morning as usual. However at the moment severe weather and storms has forced him to stop. The motor home will stay in Moosejaw, as will he, for the entire day and night. They will not count today for it is impossible for him to cycle, especially safely, under such severe conditions. Note that he will not gain any time nor will the motor home move to another town.

    Speaking with him on the phone this morning at seven, he has reported that he is feeling quite good, yet disappointed at the momentary setback.
    Natasha Botha

    Day 7:

    Dear Mr. Nystrom,

    My father is now cycling again. He is by the Manitoba border at the present time. The severe weather has not yet totally passed. The wind is from the front. As you can imagine, he is having a difficult time where the weather is concerned. As for personal well-being he is feeling well and is in good spirits. My grandfather, John E. Cowley, (My mother's father) has flown in from South Africa to be with him and to help out where he can. He will be a major source of support for my dad.

    Talk to you again soon,

    Natasha Botha

    Day 8:

    Hi Mr. Nystrom!
    Things are going well with my father. The wind is coming from the west which is in his favour. By 8:45 AM he had already cycled 106 km. I am not sure of his exact location. He reports that he is feeling good and I have noticed that he has a very positive outlook on how this trip will end.

    I'll report more as it comes in,

    Natasha Botha


    Latest update re Extreme Challenge
    Date: Sat. 05 Jul 1997

    Today Dr. Botha is expected to pass through Thunder Bay, Ont. His progress was somewhat impeded by head winds and two flat tires

    Other than that all is going well.

    Day ???
    Dear Mr. Nystrom,
    I am sorry about not giving you very much information these last few days. Just a second ago I found out that one e-mail I sent you about my father's progress didn't go through and was sent back. The information I am receiving is rather sketchy and limited.

    My dad is feeling postive. His knee still is not doing all that well but it has improved somewhat. He is not sure if he will cycle tomorrow due to his knee injury.

    We will keep you posted, as we too, are very interested in his progress.

    Natasha Botha

    I am very sorry to have to report to you that Dr. Botha had to discontinue his Coast to Coast cycle ride, because of excruciating pain in one of his knees.

    He is very disappointed, but says he is already planning another attempt next year starting at Vancouver.

    He wishes to thank every one who has supported him on his venture, all the help has been greatly appreciated.

    His wife Cezanne with their two children Natasha and Arno will join The Doctor and Mrs Botha's father Mr John E. Cowley in Ottawa. They are planning on taking a bit of a holiday before returning to Grimshaw later this month.

    Roy Nystrom

    Messages for the Doctor *****


    Just a note to wish all the best (sunshine and tailwinds!) to Dr. Botha. Being an ex-Albertan (Grande Prairie), I can't help but feel a bit of patriotic pride as I follow Dr. Botha's trek across the continent. If he needs a place to stay or anything as he comes through Montréal, I would be happy to accommodate. (Please note, however, that I may not be in the city during our "construction holiday": July 12- 27.)

    Wade Eide, architect,
    4576, avenue Marcil
    Montréal H4A 3A1
    514-486-7987 514-875-0972
    Atelier BRAQ:


    Very sorry to learn that Dr. Botha has had to bring his trek to an early close.

    I wish him a speedy recovery and all the best for next year's attempt.


    I'm sorry to hear Dr. Botha has had to call off his trip. He was riding an excellent pace and was doing very well. I wish him luck next year.

    Regards, Norm Hover


    >From: dave walker
    >To: "''" >Subject: RE: Extreme Challenge >Date: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 10:07:10 -0400 >Return-Path:

    >This is quite a challenge Dr. Botha has undertaken. I applaud his cause. >I'd be interested in the specifics of his bicycle and gear he is using for the trip.

    >On the website it looks like a GT frame in the picture. Is he using this >some bike for his Extreme Challenge?


EMAIL TO:Webmaster/Grimshaw

About advertising
on this page

Sign My Guestbook Guestbook by GuestWorld View My Guestbook