06/22/2014 03:30 EDT | Updated 08/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Bike crash halts Arctic to Antarctic Alzheimer's trip

A biking accident has landed a Toronto man in hospital just several hundred kilometres into a cycling odyssey that was supposed to take him from the top to bottom of the Americas.

Sixty-two-year-old Henry La Croix left Inuvik, N.W.T., last Wednesday with plans to complete an unsupported, self-financed trip to Ushuaia, Argentina.

Three days into the trip, a worker with the N.W.T. Department of Highways found him unconscious on the Dempster Highway.

“I don’t remember anything after heading down a steep hill at about 50 kilometres an hour, trying to find the smooth parts of the gravel, and being unsuccessful,” La Croix said from his hospital bed.

La Croix was taken to the health centre in nearby Fort McPherson, and later on back to the regional centre of Inuvik, where he remains in hospital.

The accident left him with a broken collarbone, some broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.

With an estimated six to eight weeks before his bones heal, La Croix said it’s too late in the year to start his trip again.

Instead, he’ll remain in hospital in Inuvik for about a week before flying home, and he’s not sure whether he’ll be back to complete the trip next year.

“Who knows how those will all come together?” he said. “I’m not getting any younger.”

La Croix had planned to travel about 100 kilometres a day for about seven months to complete the journey.

His goal was to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s research, after his sister-in-law, Janet, was diagnosed with the disease six years ago.  

La Croix said he's happy he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.