He’s hurting, cold, and wet but if you’re a Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock rider then you’re supposed to be right now, Black Press rider Chris Bush said.
Bush – whom fellow teammate Tom Gill calls ‘The Bushman’ – and his 22 teammates arrived in Port Alberni on Friday just after noon.
“It’s been a huge emotional roller coaster but I feel good – tired – but good,” Bush said.
The peloton rode from Parksville and endured a long, hard ride over the Hump into Alberni.
The riders are all dealing with fatigue, wear and tear and a cold virus that is making its rounds among them. But they are not dealing with deflated spirits, Bush said.
“The pace is challenging and it’s hard to take care of yourself but everyone is pulling together,” he said. “This is a bigger challenge than anything else.”
The ride is taking a physical toll on Bush now, something training prepared him for. “It hurts but you can get through to the other side,” he said.
He didn’t know if he’d make it through the tour but the pain of a ride pales in comparison to the pain cancer patients feel.
“There’s no rehearsal or preparation when you get cancer, you just go into it cold turkey,” said Bush, whose mother died of cancer in 1990.
The highlight of the tour so far was the 140 kilometre ride to Sayward in the ride’s opening leg.
Bush was feeling beat up, cold and tired until he saw his name and others in the distance.
“The kids had riders names on wooden boards that they nailed to telephone poles along the way,” Bush said. “It was a huge spark and lift up.”
With one week to go Bush said it’s a lot of miles to log before the end but that ultimately there’s an end.
The shift from rural to urban environments as the tour makes it way to its endpoint is an adjustment. “We’re going from the middle of nowhere to cities where we’ll have more stops to make,” Bush said. “It’ll be more challenging than on the highway.”
Covering the tour is one thing but actually riding in it and discovering what its all about is another. “You have to experience life inside it to really understand what it’s about,” Bush said. “You don’t get how it changes you until you’re in it.”
Bush’s understanding of the tour has changed since he started it, but his body has changed as well. Bush has lost 25 pounds and his cholesterol and triglycerides – once high – have lowered as well. “I feel like I’m 30 and I’m 53.”
Bush doesn’t know if he’ll buy his bike – which riders have the option to do – after he’s finished the tour. “I’m angry at it because it hurt in training,” Bush said. “I would have said no a month ago but I might do it for sentimental value now.”