Powered by grit, determination, and the clapping hands of hundreds upon hundreds of schoolchildren, the members of the 2019 Tour de Rock bike team powered their way through the Cowichan Valley Tuesday, on Day 11 of their the 14-day Island-wide ride.
The first responders and support crew began the day in Chemainus and by mid morning they were at Lake Cowichan School for a visit and an early lunch.
At 11:40 a.m., the riders were greeted by the cheers of the staff, students, and parents at Palsson Elementary in Lake Cowichan.
Together they did the Camp Goodtimes Cheer: “How do we feel!? We feel, awesome, awesome, very awesome! Wooh!” and before long the bike wheels were rolling off again to the next stop.
After a quick visit to Purica, the 2019 Tour de Rock team made stops at Tansor, Drinkwater, Queen Margaret’s and Maple Bay schools before one of the day’s longer community stops — Beverly Corners — where there was a party going on hosted by Coast Capital and Thrifty Foods.
Donations were received there from the Beverly Corners Show N’ Shine group, Cowichan Fish and Game, Coast Capital, and more. Heads were shaved, hot dogs were consumed and the pipers piped.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Const. Dayne Lyons is riding with the team this year and his watch was on shift as the cyclists arrived at Beverly Corners.
“I do want to give a special shout out to all the members from the North Cowichan detachment that came out to support me today… I’m very happy that they could cheer us all on today,” Lyons told the crowd before giving a special acknowledgment to guest rider Simon Douthwaite.
“He’s not a first responder…He’s the reason why we’re doing this event. He’s the reason why that we roll around the entire Island raising money for kids with cancer,” Lyons said. “Simon is the father of two beautiful young little girls and they are junior riders for the Tour de Rock, one of which is a cancer survivor. It’s for Simon and for kids like his that we are doing this event, to raise money to make sure that parents like him with kids like his don’t have to go through what they do.”
The riders then attended an event at Shawnigan Lake school before a special community dinner at the Eagles Hall in Duncan ended their busy day.
The following day saw the team leave the Cowichan Valley after stops at École Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake School, George Bonner Elementary, Thrifty Foods in Mill Bay Centre.
The Tour de Rock team is riding their bicycles more than 1,000 kilometres from tip to tip of Vancouver Island, all in two weeks, to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research and to help send kids to camp.