Rick Geddes and his fellow Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock teammates are ramping up both their training and their fundraising.
“It’s been a real juggling act,” said Geddes, who is fire chief and emergency services manager for the District of Ucluelet. He grew up in the Alberni Valley, and people in Port Alberni are embracing him as “their” Tour de Rock rider this year.
Geddes practices all over Vancouver Island with fellow teammates. Recently riders tackled Strathcona Parkway all the way up to Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
“It was such a challenge to ride all the way up but so rewarding,” he said. Geddes was doubly rewarded when he spotted his junior rider Ryker Dodding from Port Alberni and Ryker’s mother, Matraca Dodding, who had made the trip to the top of Mount Washington as a surprise just to cheer him on. Ryker, 7, is representing his late sister Natalia, who died of leukemia on May 24, 2020 a few months shy of her second birthday. This is Ryker’s second Tour de Rock as a junior rider.
Geddes is preparing for a pair of fundraisers: Time to Wine About Cancer at Heartwood Kitchen in Ucluelet on Aug. 26, and the second annual Alberni Auto Group show and shine on Aug. 27.
Time to Wine About Cancer is a B.C. wine tasting, food and garden party that will be held at Heartwood Kitchen, 1682 Peninsula Rd. in Ucluelet. Tickets are $75 each and available by contacting Geddes at email@example.com. Proceeds will support pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes.
The Alberni Auto Group Show and Shine will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Alberni Toyota and Alberni Chrysler. The show will include cars, motorcycles and trucks; people’s choice and other awards will be handed out, as well as prizes. Members of the Kinsmen will hold a barbecue and there will be vendors on site. The Port Alberni Fire Department will be on site as well with a misting station if the day is hot.
Geddes is hoping junior rider Ryker will be at the show and shine too.
Alberni Auto Group has stepped up as a “big sponsor” for the Tour de Rock and particularly Geddes’ efforts, he said gratefully. “They’re making a donation for every vehicle they sell up until the tour, then Beaver Creek Home Center will match that total. It’s huge,” he said.
“They’re also going to feed the team when we come into town Sept. 30.”
Geddes has raised more than $15,000 so far and hopes to surpass $20,000 by the time the tour wraps.
The 25th anniversary Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock kicks off Sept. 24 in Port Alice and will wrap up Oct. 7 in Victoria. The team will arrive in Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 30, and will be in Ucluelet on Saturday, Oct. 1 and Tofino/ Nanaimo on Sunday, Oct. 2.
In Port Alberni, the team will roll into Alberni Toyota around 11:30 a.m. depending on how their ride over the Hump goes. They will make an appearance at the Johnston Road Co-op as well.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 will hold a fundraising pasta dinner while hosting the team Friday night. Tickets for the pasta dinner on Sept. 30 will be $25 and available at the Br. 293 Legion near Victoria Quay during business hours.