Officer cherishes Tour de Rock opportunity

Vancouver Island RCMP officers get just one opportunity to do the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock bike ride. This year, it’s Cst. Ian Wetzel-Eden’s turn.

"It’s a bit of a legacy," said Wetzel-Eden, who has spent the last seven years with the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment. "Every member gets just one chance. We’ve never had a shortage of members who want to do it."

Wetzel-Eden has had family members deal with cancer, but a big part of the reason he wanted to do the Tour de Rock is in honour of the son he and his wife lost to a miscarriage in 2012. They were fortunate, he said, that they didn’t have to suffer through a child’s illness.

"In our minds, we considered that our one child who was going to be our sick child," he explained. "We were spared from that. I want to take the pain of loss and turn it into something good."

Wetzel-Eden and his wife, who celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this year, have four other children between the ages of two and eight.

Training for the big ride this fall started in earnest March 1 with three sessions a week. Wetzel-Eden and the other South Island riders get together every Sunday for a long ride, on Tuesday to practice hills, and on Thursday to work on speed and recovery time.

They ride between 150 and 250 km a week, a big difference from what Wetzel-Eden has done in the past.

"I commuted four to six kilometres to work for a while, but that’s the extent of my bike riding since I graduated high school," he said.

In addition to the health benefits, Wetzel-Eden is enjoying training with what he calls "a fantastic group of people."

"We’re learning to work as a team instead of a group of individuals," he said.

The 21 Tour de Rock riders will set out from Port Hardy on Sept. 19. The group will stop in Duncan on Sept. 29 and Mill Bay on Sept. 30, and it all comes to an end in Victoria on Oct. 3 Since 1997, the Cops for CancerTour de Rock has raised more than $20 million on Vancouver Island for Camp Goodtimes and pediatric cancer research.

Wetzel-Eden will have several events to promote the ride and raise funds between now and September. To keep track, check out "Tour de Rock Ian" on Facebook, or email wetourderock2015@gmail.com