The 2012 Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley ride is getting closer, and the 25 law enforcement personnel on the team are getting ready for the gruelling nine-day ride.
On July 21, the riders headed out from Langley, through Abbotsford and Mission for their longest team training ride so far, at more than 120 kilometers.
It would be painful for some riders, noted team captain Steve Dickinson. But everyone will keep going.
"Remember why we're doing this, and push through it for the kids," Dickinson said.
A fourth-year participant in the Tour de Valley, Dickinson is pleased with the sizeable team and donations that are a little ahead of where they were this time last year.
The money raised by the four Cops for Cancer bike rides goes towards research and support for childhood cancer patients.
All spring and summer, the RCMP and municipal police officers, along with Corrections Canada staff, border guards, and sheriffs from the court system, train and raise as much money as possible. Each team member is expected to raise about $5,000, and some will more than triple that amount.
The team recently visited one of their key reasons for riding, Camp Goodtimes in Maple Ridge.
"The camp visit is always a big event for us," Dickinson said. "For the new riders especially, it's their time to see the impact of what we're doing."
Camp Goodtimes is a recreational retreat for hundreds of B.C. and Yukon children living with cancer.
Started by the Canadian Cancer Society 27 years ago, the camp has grown in size and include programs for the children and their families.
For the returning riders, seeing that growth is part of the impact, as is the energy and joy of the kids who attend the camp.
Camp Goodtimes has doctors and nurses on hand, and facilities that make it possible to host children who are in cancer treatment or recovery. No other camp in B.C. has that capability.
"It's a big thing to see, and to feel," Dickinson said.
Much of the money from the annual Cops for Cancer rides will go towards programs that keep the camp operating.
With the home stretch of fundraising and riding coming up, Dickinson is glad to see that there is a lot of enthusiasm for both aspects from the new riders in particular.
Some riders, including Dickinson, are so revved up that they did two big rides back to back.
After July 21st's lengthy ride, they turned around and joined one of the team's sponsors, Applewood Kia, in the Fraser Valley GranFondo July 22.
That meant adding another 80 to 160 kilometres to the 120-plus from July 21.
Donations to the team as a whole or to the individual riders can be made at www.copsforcancerbc.ca/tourdevalley.
The tour runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 this year, and riders will cover between 800 and 900 kilometres from Delta to the Fraser Canyon. The farthest point east they'll hit is tiny Boston Bar, east of Yale.
In the next few weeks, the riders will be out and about, hosting pub nights, pole sits, and other community fundraisers for the cause.
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