After six months of training

Tour de Rock riders leave Port Hardy Sunday — will be in Parksville Qualicum Beach on Thursday

The two local RCMP members who are part of the tour this year estimate they have put in 3,500 km of training rides

After six months of training and fundraising, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team has travelled up Island and by the end of today (Sept. 23) they will already have cycled more than 230 km from Port Hardy to Campbell River.

“We’ve been training hard — they never let things get easier,” said Oceanside RCMP Const. Jordan Reid before embarking on the two-week odyssey.

He said that while they did similar distances throughout the extensive training period, their trainers kept pushing them faster and harder, cutting their originally-painful cycle up Observatory Hill in Victoria down dramatically to a handful of minutes, for example.

Reid also spoke about how trainers lengthened some of their training rides.

“Our very first ride was 20 km and the other day we did 145 km,” he said, adding that the entire team of 24 law enforcement, media and guest riders have progressed as a group, but there has been a dramatic change in some, including one rider from Victoria who’d never ridden a bike before and is now comfortable on long treks at high speeds.

“That was (the trainer’s) goal, to get us as comfortable on our bikes as possible,” said teammate, fellow Oceanside Const. George Minshull.

“The last thing on our mind, should be struggling up a hill, it’s about getting into the communities and getting the message out,” Minshull said of the Black Press-sponsored, Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser.

He estimated they have ridden about 3,500 km in training and both local riders said it has already been an amazing trip.

“It’s been hard, but tons of fun,” Reid said. “We’ve met a whole lot of good people and Camp Goodtimes was a great experience,” he said of their trip to Maple Ridge, to one of the ride’s major benefactors, where children with cancer get to have a normal summer camp experience.

“It’s a pretty cool place, a real special place that not a lot of people get to visit,” Minshull agreed.

Both riders said they are already nearing their fundraising goals, and hope the funds keep coming throughout the tour, with last year’s team raising around $1.2 million for pediatric cancer.

The Island effort is one of just four similar epic rides around B.C. every fall, including the Tour de Coast, Tour de North and Tour de Valley.

Both local riders thanked the community and encourage people to come out and support the good cause as they ride through town this Thursday and Friday.

The team is scheduled to arrive at Qualicum Beach Town Square around 11:45 a.m., Sept. 25 and head on to various events around the area including school stops, a meet and greet at Thrifty Foods Thursday after lunch and the big beer and burger fundraiser at the Quality Inn Bayside at 6 p.m.

There are still $20 tickets available for the evening event, which will include a fun and touching time with the riders and local cancer survivors and supporters.

Tickets are available at the Bayside, Parksville Chrysler, Parksville Chamber or any member of the Rotary Club of Parksville.

Visit www.tourderock.ca for more information.

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