Thank you to the Brandon Sun, CTV News Winnipeg (article /video), the Neepawa Banner & Press, and the Minnedosa Tribune for reporting during the lead up to this special event. Thanks to Global News Winnipeg, CTV News Winnipeg, the Neepawa Banner & Press, the Brandon Sun, and the Minnedosa Tribune for their post-ride reporting.
THANK YOU to the hundreds of people who contributed toward Ride Like Ole. We have formally closed this donation page and replaced it with the words of gratitude below, but contributions can still be made to the Squirrel Hills Trail Park here.
On August 21, 2021, Richard Dupuis, Dave Ternier, Paul Archbutt and Tim Frykoda, Board members of Valley Life Recreation Inc. (VLR), along with friend Kevin Earl, and Rob & Leigh Heie, parents of the late Ole Heie, embarked on a 172 km single-day mountain bike ride in Ole’s name.
Ride Like Ole | Some Words of Appreciation
On August 21st, seven mountain bike riders, an incredible support team, and additional riders along the defined route took part in Ride Like Ole, an event that significantly impacted the lives of thousands of people.
With these words, we’d like to bring you all an update on Ride Like Ole and share some incredibly important words of gratitude. Many hands spent many hours making this ride happen so please join us in giving them the thanks they deserve.
Thanks to Leigh’s parents Gwen and Randy Usick, Leigh’s sister Kim Spiess, and their entire team that provided support along the ride from the 4:30 am Minnedosa departure to the very end of the ride nearly 16 hours later. The people that collectively made up the massive support team that Gwen, Randy and Kim pulled together were remarkable and they made the arrival at every check stop an exciting moment and each departure was full of encouragement for the next leg of the journey.
A big thanks to a couple of special early morning drivers: Chris Robin who drove some of our riders from Wasagaming to Inglis and Randy’s brother Mark who drove some of the team from Minnedosa.
Nutrien Ag Solutions was also an incredible supporter by not only supplying the lunch and post-ride meal for the team but also providing the primary support vehicle and trailer.
A&L Cycle generously lent us an extra bike for Leigh while Ian Pinette supplied one of our backup bikes. Specialized feed bags that aided the cyclists in carrying their food and gear were created by Highway19.
We were also overjoyed to learn of the additional Ride Like Ole events that took place in BC, Alberta, Quebec and in Nova Scotia. Riding on the same day with others who were riding in Ole’s name was extremely heart-warming.
And of course without you, this ride wouldn’t have become what it was.
Thank you to every person who liked, commented, left words of encouragement, donated, and shared Ole’s story. Thank you for helping spread the story of Ole Heie far and wide not only across the country but around the world.
We are also incredibly moved by the over 300 donors who pledged nearly $30,000 to the Squirrel Hills Trail Park in Ole’s name. Thank you for supporting Ride Like Ole and telling us through that support, that you want to see Ole’s name and legacy become a part of our coming trail park. As a small expression of our gratitude, we’ll be reaching out to every one of you in the coming weeks with a complementary Ride Like Ole decal gift.
Finally, words can not express our sincere appreciation for Leigh and Rob and the trust they placed in our organization to create something so special in the name of their son Ole. When they expressed a desire to participate in riding it with us here in Manitoba, an even greater motivation took hold to ensure Ride Like Ole would become all that it could be.
An event like this does not take away the pain and sadness felt by Rob, Leigh, Ava, their family and so many others, but we hope in some small way, Ride Like Ole created a space for some healing in each of us.
We don’t yet know how Ole will be honoured in the Squirrel Hills Trail Park, but in collaboration with Ole’s family, trail park designer Alex Man and the VLR Board, a plan will be created that everyone can be proud of. When we have more to share, we certainly will.
We know it has been said time and time again but thank you. You made something very special become so much more than we imagined possible and we just can’t express our appreciation enough.
Just as Leigh rode Ole’s bike over the finish line precisely one month ago, followed by Rob, Ava and the rest of the team…remember to ride, run, hike and live like Ole.
Ride Like Ole ride began at the historic elevators of Inglis, Manitoba and stretched across Riding Mountain National Park, ultimately coming to completion at the park’s historic site of Eastgate. Ole’s sister Ava, along with some other friends and family, joined for the second half of the ride.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~ Steve Prefontaine
About Ole Heie
Ole Heie, an aspiring 12-year-old elite athlete was suddenly taken from us on July 10, 2021 while out for a run.
Ole’s passion and drive became apparent at the age of 2 years when he put on his first set of cross country skis and he seemed a natural right from the start. He fell – a lot – and just got right back up with a face full of snow and a beaming smile and kept on going. He was a lifelong member of the Camrose Ski Club & Jr. Vikings. A driven and dedicated athlete, Ole quickly became well known in the Nordic and running communities and recently crushed some pretty impressive goals. He reached 1000 KM in his first 54 days of the last ski season, made national news with his single day 100 KM ski and completed his first 50 KM ultra marathon with an 1800 metre elevation gain this spring. Ole’s smile, adventurous passion and positive spirit was infectious to all who had the honour of knowing him.
Ole and his family have strong ties to the Minnedosa area as his Mom, Leigh, daughter of Randy & Gwen Usick, was born and raised here. The family could often be found enjoying the number of trails throughout the community, including the Squirrel Hills Recreation Area which Ole simply loved. Cross country skiing, biathlon, running, swimming, mountain biking and road cycling became important passions and talents that Ole choose to pursue, gaining endless skills and friendships along the way.
Although usually the first to finish a race, his success never went to his head. Ole thrived off of being humble and treated everyone equal, no matter what their level. This little Legend had a heart of Gold and was always looking out for others. He viewed his competitors as future teammates and would usually be found enthusiastically cheering the last racer across the finish line – no matter the weather or who it was. He had a natural way of creating energy that motivated those around him and a determination to wish others well. He was a living example of love and a true gift of inspiration. To Ole, sport wasn’t just racing, it was for seeing friends, pushing oneself, celebrating gains, encouraging each other, sharing hope, helping each other through his kind gentleness, his caring attitude and shear passion for his beloved sport in enjoying every single moment. Ole shared his philosophy and passion as a proud brand ambassador for Salomon Athletics Company and was also a gifted musician and conscientious student who lived life to its fullest.
Ole had his heart set on one day becoming an Olympian. By the presence of the flag bearer from the Korean Olympics and former and present Olympians at his Celebration of Life, it appears as though he was already a part of Team Canada!
On behalf of the Heie and Usick family and Valley Life Recreation, thank you for letting Ole’s story into your life. We hope he inspires you every day, like he does us and so many others whose lives he touched.