When the 21 riders in the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock rounded the final turn on the Highway 4 Hump coming into Port Alberni, they were greeted with the flashing lights and red serge from a full contingent of Port Alberni RCMP members cheering them on.
Riders continued on to Walmart, where members of the public as well as a trio of junior riders past and present greeted them.
Riders also stopped at the Johnston Road Co-op, École Alberni Elementary, AW Neill School and the Royal Bank before a rest at the Best Western Barclay Hotel, then to Boston Pizza for the family carnival and pizza dinner.
Hump day, as the trip into Port Alberni is called, marked the midway point of the 1,000-kilometre Tour de Rock. The trip began Sept. 19 in Port Alice and riders experienced some of the wettest weather since they began training, support member Kyle Slavin said.
“Through seven months of training they had amazing weather. For them to have some pretty intense weather for their first few days of riding hardened them,” said Slavin, who was a Black Press media rider in 2012.
Outside of Sayward support members were called into action when they responded to a one-car accident as they were refueling cavalcade motorcycles at the end of the day.
Pamela Harris’s boyfriend Dane Nicholson, also a police officer (a rookie with Saanich Police), met up with the team in Parksville and continued out to the West Coast before having to return home for work.
“It’s pretty incredible to see it all come together,” said Nicholson, who supported Harris. “She’s been training for seven months.”
Harris cycled the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay between Yukon Territory and Alaska, and “did another couple of hundred kilometres in the Rockies in June for her grandmother’s birthday,” Nicholson said.
Saturday morning before the team departed for the West Coast, former junior rider and cancer survivor Kayla Aolick held a brief memorial for the late Mike Lawless a Saanich Police sergeant who was the tour’s biggest motivator on Hump day.
The team will ride into Victoria on Friday, Oct. 2 for the finale.