Scattered showers on Saturday morning were just enough to settle the dust along the route for Eden Foundation's 20h Head for the Hills cycling event.
"We are just super surprised, super amazed, and super grateful and thankful to everybody," said Eden Foundation Events Coordinator, Agatha Fehr. "We live in a very generous community, generous area and they get it. They get mental health, they get the needs that we need in this community and they're willing to step up to the plate to support, and that's evident again this year."
As of Saturday, more than $100,000 had been raised through the 2022 edition of Head for the Hills, with more expected to be added to the total. The event raises funds for various programs and projects for Eden Health Care Services.
James Friesen is a regular participant in Head for the Hills and was also a founding member of the event twenty years ago. Friesen said it gives him a great sense of pride to see something that started out with thirty participants in its first year now attracting over 200 riders and bringing in significant funds for Eden.
"Every year the thing that blows me away is the conversations I have with people along the route and the reasons they come to this ride. So either personal mental health challenges, or a family member...so it's been an incredible twenty years of stories and fundraising, and the funds make a huge difference for the organization."
Jonathan Kleinsasser is a long-time participant, and at over 80 years old, he's the oldest regular Head for the Hills bike rider. Kleinsasser has also had triple bypass surgery and has had a number of other surgeries so for extra stability while riding, he rides a unique Trico bike for stability. He said, "safety to me means a lot more than a fast ride."
"This is not really a race, this is an important function where we encourage each other to raise funds for a worthwhile cause," said Kleinsasser. "And what means a lot to me, is the number of young people that take part here, and it must come from some older people that they see, right?"
202 cyclists registered to participate in this year's event in comparison to the 30 riders that took part in the inaugural Head for the Hills 20 years ago.