Tour de Rock riders are welcomed by Ecole Alberni Elementary students during a pit stop at the school on Friday

Tour de Rock riders are welcomed by Ecole Alberni Elementary students during a pit stop at the school on Friday

Tour de Rock riders roll into Alberni

The team cycled into Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 30, receiving many warm welcomes along the way.

  • Oct. 4, 2016 11:00 a.m.



Tour de Rock riders cycled into Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 30, receiving many warm welcomes along the way.

“Typical Port Alberni. This place is just an awesome place,” Said RCMP Cpl. Brady Mathison, the Port Alberni detachment’s Tour de Rock rider. “We started off at the top of the hump and came down in the fog, but by the time we had done our first venue the fog had lifted at Boston Pizza and it was a gorgeous day.”

Each day is full, Mathison said, from when the riders wake up between 5 and 6 a.m. to when they go to bed around 10 p.m.

On Friday, the team made pit stops throughout the Valley including schools, businesses, the RCMP detachment and dinner courtesy of the Tseshaht First Nation.

“A big part are the people that come out and support. If they weren’t there we wouldn’t be riding,” Mathison said. “Tremendous support from the community.”

Community support has been a trend throughout the course of the team’s travels with even small communities making big contributions.

“When we were in Sayward, we have a town of 500 people of an outlying area of 1,000, they raised over $9,000 for Tour de Rock. That’s unheard of,” Mathison said.  “You just realize how many people really do care about the children and the family that are going through cancer.”

Mathison said so far the trip has been “fantastic.”

“It’s more than you ever expected. You can’t appreciate it unless you do it…just to be involved in all aspects of it, it’s a mind blowing experience,” he said.

With more than seven months of training, Mathison said the riders have been well prepared for the journey.

He said with so much time spent preparing for the tour, families will often have to make sacrifices.

“A lot of the sacrifices the family has to make, the spouses have to make. They’re the ones that are not getting to experience this but they’re making the sacrifice while we’re away. They’re adjusting their family life during the training. We’re working our shifts and then coming home and doing a training ride for three hours,” Mathison said.

(Story continues below)

Sgt. Donovan Tait, of the Nanaimo RCMP, who grew up in Port Alberni, agrees with his teammate that balancing family life and the demands of Tour training has been the most difficult part of the experience.

“I’ve got three kids and my wife’s a police officer so juggling that, I found that challenging,” Tait said. “Part of the tour is the commitment you have to it.”

“It consumes your summer for sure. RCMP basic training is six months long from start to finish and now we’re seven months and probably when everything is done… eight months commitment to a team.”

Keeping the team on their feet is a whole behind-the-scenes crew of mechanics, medics and volunteers to support the riders during the tour.

“We’re the window dressing, we’re what people see but there’s a whole machine of organizers and planners that are behind all of this that are just fantastic,” Tait said.

Understanding completely how the tour supports people affected by cancer, is special guest rider, Mena Westhaver whose son, Jack, was diagnosed with cancer before his sixth birthday.

“I’ve been involved in the tour for seven years because Jack’s been a junior rider, so I kind of got to see the tour unfold in front of me,” Westhaver said.  “Jack would look at this group of people and it would give him hope, it would give him a feeling of being together as opposed to being isolated. He also knew that Tour de Rock fueled the Camp Good Times that he went to—another place where he could just put cancer aside.”

The riders continued west to Tofino and Ucluelet on Saturday and then began their trip back up Island on Sunday.

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

This photo shows Franklin River Camp "B" circa 1940. Logging was started in the Franklin River area by Bloedel, Stewart & Welch in 1934. This is one of 42 photos of the Franklin River area, donated together in an album put together by the donor's husband, Stanley Young. Young worked as a highrigger in the Franklin River area from 1939-46. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN10830 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Logging along Franklin River

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns gives a thumbs up to active transportation during a presentation of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce's Bike SEAT program at McLean Mill National Historic site in Port Alberni on April 16, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
QUINN’S QUIPS: MP Gord Johns takes victory ride for cycling strategy

Johns gained a reputation as the bicycle-riding MP during his first year

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read