In three to five years, Matt Devine was told he would likely have a major medical event like a heart attack or stroke—and it would likely end his life. A horrible statistic for anyone, but Devine was only in his 30s.

The Edmonton native found himself on a dark path. Overweight and addicted to drinking, he was unrecognizable to his former self. 

In his youth, Devine played baseball, soccer and hockey. He became involved in martial arts and even considered pursuing the sport professionally after high school. However, upon entering high school, he found himself drawn toward the party scene. Although he had a relatively normal upbringing in many senses, Devine’s father was an alcoholic, and he says that the exposure at such a young age drove his own addiction.

Sports became a smaller and smaller part of his life, to the point he eventually chose to abandon his athletic endeavours completely and follow his partying side to university, where he would be kicked out not once but twice because of his drinking.

“What once was fun was becoming a bit of an embarrassment,” says Devine, who watched as all his friends graduated, leaving him behind to become the older student. He put effort into his schooling, determined to graduate. And he did, this time balancing school work while continuing heavy drinking.

Shortly after graduating, Devine was offered a job in Grand Prairie. For the first time, he was making good money. He was making new friends. However, Grand Prairie was a party town.

“The job itself promoted the drinking and the partying,” he says. “It’s there that I ballooned 40, 50, 60 pounds, eventually hitting that 100-pound marker.”

After contracting chickenpox, a visit to the doctor put things into perspective. Devine’s blood pressure was too high. He was on the verge of having a stroke and immediate medical attention was needed.

A few visits later came the ultimate sobering truth—Devine’s first rock bottom. He was almost certainly going to have a heart attack or stroke within the next three to five years. He was at a high risk of developing cancer and diabetes.

“That’s when I said, ‘Okay, time to change,’” says Devine, who connected with a friend in the sporting industry and began working out.

The weight came off, but it wasn’t the end of his inner battle.

“I had two rock bottoms. One was the doctor saying, ‘You’re going to die,’ and the other was this slow implosion of my career.”

Now in his 40s, with a successful career, a wife and great friends, Devine was mentally crashing. He began to gain a reputation in his industry for walking out on jobs. To finish things off, he let his unfavourable feelings and opinions be known during a business meeting—a moment he equates to career suicide.

Lost and unfulfilled, Devine told his wife that he thought he was suffering from depression. “The grey was so heavy; it was like some days I couldn’t even breathe.” 

He made the decision to talk to a psychologist who helped him see that happiness is a combination of accomplishments, purpose and relationships. He had great accomplishments in his life; he had many positive relationships. But there was one thing he was missing.

“I didn’t have a purpose anymore. I just felt empty.”

That is when he decided he was going to run 300 kilometres from Jasper, Alta. to Canmore, Alta. The journey, equivalent to running seven marathons in seven days, raised $60,000 for a local children’s charity.

The experience had an incredibly positive impact on Devine’s life, and in training, promoting and executing his run, he found purpose. He found healing. It was a feeling he knew he could take further.

Now at 56, Devine has embarked on his most extreme adventure yet. On May 20, he clipped his feet into his Trek bike in Halifax, N.S., beginning a 13,000-kilometre journey across Canada, up into the territories, finishing in Edmonton—a journey that will take him three months to complete.

This time, Devine is riding for the charity You Can Ride 2, which offers children with disabilities the opportunity to experience the freedom of movement by reducing barriers to riding bikes. The program allows children whose diagnoses would otherwise make it difficult to ride a bike to borrow an adaptive bicycle fitted to their needs.

Devine began his ride with one of his sponsors, Darcy Haggith by his side, and his wife Nicole trailing in the support vehicle. By day 13, he had to face the open road by himself. Hot, humid, sun-scorched days followed him through much of his early ride through Quebec and Ontario. Getting lost and hitting roadblocks were a normal, albeit frustrating, part of his first few weeks on the back of the bike.

In the past few weeks, he has battled strong winds, smoky skies and semi-trucks. Each day Devine has pushed his body to its limit. Sunburnt, sore and cramped, there were days his spirits fell, and it took all he had to push one pedal at a time, propelling him towards his purpose—raising money for those kids.

“I feel so isolated, and a lot of the time I do worry people don’t care,” says Devine, explaining that his mental health is one of the biggest challenges he’s battling on the open road. “I struggle some days trying to stay positive and committed to the process. I not only want to help the charity, but I am trying to improve and fix my flaws. Some days I just feel like I am failing.”

He also added that it is difficult knowing that for more than 100 days, he is in the grind. Ride, stop, check-in, charity admin, eat, sleep, repeat.

But each day he clears more kilometres, and on July 12, he reached Mile Zero in Victoria, B.C., officially completing his coast-to-coast ride.

“When I saw the mile zero marker and the Terry Fox statue, I was overcome with emotion and pure exhaustion,” writes Devine on an Instagram post. “I have now ridden almost 7000 kilometres with only three rest days.”

And what’s more—he’s only half done. After hitting Mile Zero, Devine turned his bike north to continue his ride into Yukon and North West Territories before coming back down to Alberta where he will complete his journey in Edmonton on August 27.

The journey will continue to be a challenge, with elevation and isolation in the northern parts of Canada acting as the biggest physical challenges.

Despite the physical and mental challenges, with his purpose held in the back of his mind, Devine refuses to give in. In fact, he’s already talking about what is next.

To follow Devine’s journey or to donate, visit

Photography by Trudie Lee

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Read This Story in Our 2023 Summer Outdoor & Travel Issue
Featuring Alison Jackson, Canadian cyclist and only North American male or female to win the famed Paris Roubaix. Travel the country’s most stunning hot spots by campervan. Become a better trail running by improving your ascents and descents—plus, train outdoors with Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers. Enjoy plant-based summer recipes and so much more.