The Tour de Rock has raised over $22 million and is now in its 20th year. Dean Stoltz has more.
In their red and blue jersey’s with the ever-present police escort, the team is unmistakable as it moves down the island through communities large and small.
On Wednesday, the 24 riders and support crew rolled into the Comox Valley from Campbell River but not before being warmly greeted by students at Miracle Beach Elementary School.
“That song they sang for us was pretty amazing,” said Const. Virginia Bessette of the Campbell River RCMP. “It’s been so great, especially riding into Campbell River and seeing all the support we get, even the smaller communities.”
Bessette says she’s motivated every day on every hill by her junior rider.
“I think of my junior rider who’s a little girl, she’s eight who has battled cancer but luckily right now is cancer-free, but yeah, I definitely think of things like that.” said Bessette.
Two decades after it began in 1998, the riders continue the fall tradition of cycling 1,000 kilometres for two weeks from the North Island to Victoria, all in the name of raising money for childhood cancers.
“It’s the 20th year. It’s amazing the amount of money they’ve raised over the years, over $22 million” said rider Corporal Dirk Finkensiep of the Comox Valley RCMP. “We’re a small part of that, we get to peddle our bikes and go home at the end of the day, that’s what we’re working for for these kids, to be able to go home at the end of the day.”
“I lost two grandparents to cancer within about six months, both on my mom’s side and then meet my junior rider,” said 19 Wing Comox military police officer Marc Yeon. “We all have been touched by cancer, it affects us but then getting that bond with your junior rider and seeing what it’s done to them and what stuff like the Tour de Rock has done for them, you can’t put it into words.”
The team made several more stops across the Comox Valley Wednesday and had its Red Serge dinner in Courtenay.
The team will ride from Courtenay to Qualicum Beach on Thursday.