TYSON WHITNEY PHOTOS Tour De Rock rode into Port Hardy today at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate with local residents before leaving for Port McNeill at 12:30 p.m.

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

The Cops for Cancer Tour De Rock team rode into Port Hardy in style on Sunday afternoon, with Port Hardy RCMP Cst. Benjamin Leah leading the way.

“The ride into Port Hardy was gorgeous — some of the views, I’ve never seen them like that,” Leah said after stopping for lunch with his team at 11:30 a.m. outside of the Chamber of Commerce.

Leah has been living in Port Hardy since October 2016, and the town was actually his very first posting as an RCMP officer.

He noted in a previous interview that he had always been interested in riding for Tour De Rock when he was volunteering down island in Victoria, adding that this could possibly be the only opportunity he might get to make the ride during his career.

When asked how the training for the ride went, Leah said it was intense and “tough at times — some of the rides we had to do, some of the hill rides were the hardest parts, they really push you on the training to make sure you are in the best shape possible for the whole tour so you do the best for the kids as possible.”

Leah started getting ready for the ride back in March, with the trainers pushing the riders to complete 50-70 kilometres each time they went out, averaging 25 kilometres an hour.

The Tour De Rock team stayed overnight in Port Alice before riding into Port Hardy on Sunday, and Leah said he thoroughly enjoyed visiting and going to the annual fundraiser the village puts on every year. “It was amazing — there was some very funny moments, some very tearful moments, and it was a great fundraiser overall.”

He added the Port Alice fundraiser raised over $6,000, which definitely helped him hit his overall goal of $15,000, which means he will be able to send 10 kids to Camp Good Times.

Leah and the Tour De Rock team went and visited Camp Good Times earlier this year, which he said really put everything into a new perspective for him. “It was very heart wrenching to see — these kids have so much going on in their lives it puts your issues and problems into a whole new light. You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through … they’re tougher than most adults I know.”

Leah went to a big fundraiser dinner Sunday night in Port McNeill with the Tour De Rock team at the Royal Canadian Legion, and then left for Woss and Sayward on Monday, which is about a 140 kilometre ride, the longest part of the trip.

Leah fundraised all summer at events like the Cops for Cancer golf tournament at the Seven Hills Golf and Country Club and the Rumble on the Runway drag races in Port McNeill.

The Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour De Rock event is a two-week 1,000-kilometre bike ride that police officers and media complete to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

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