The countdown is on for Sandra Boyd, the Tri-Port’s Tour de Rock rider, to embark on the two-week 1,000-kilometre bike ride that police officers and media complete to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
“My guts are starting to turn a little bit, but I’m not so much nervous as I am anxious,” said Boyd, who was presented with her official Tour de Rock jersey in a special ceremony on Sept. 8 in Victoria.
“I’m excited for the other riders to come here because 90 per cent of them haven’t been up here and I can’t wait to show off my area,” she added.
Boyd’s junior rider is Duncan Janse, who’s older brother Myles was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago, and was the junior rider for the two previous Tour de Rock rides.
Myles said the most memorable moment from previous years was riding in the police car from Port Hardy to Port McNeill to cheer on his Tour de Rock rider Const. Brent Shemilt.“It’s for a good cause – it sends kids to Camp Good Times,” said Myles.
“The Janse family have been incredibly motivational and their parents Hans and Vicki have been instrumental with fundraising,” said Boyd, adding “they keep you going because you watch this family and they are just appreciating every fricken day.”
“I fundraised with a hot dog stand and I went in the car behind her when she was training,” said Duncan, who has also shaved his head every year in support of his brother.
Although last year the Janse family traveled down to Victoria for the finale, they won’t be there to see Sandra complete the ride on Oct. 6 this year, as the Children’s Wish Foundation is sending the family on a trip to Iceland.
“It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go,” said Myles. Vickie added, “we are going to tour the North and West Coast, trying to find the northern lights and look at the ancient history.”
The Tour de Rock riders will begin the tour in Boyd’s hometown of Port Alice on Sept. 23 and ride into Port Hardy and Port McNeill the next day, where they will be escorted by the fire department, RCMP, and ambulance.
“They are going to change the route this year so they are going to come to our parade route instead of Highway 19,” said Boyd, explaining “we can relate more to that as Port Hardy folks, because that’s our parade route and now the riders are going to be looking forward to seeing all the signs people put up to welcome them.”
Boyd has been training for quite a few months and has ridden “pretty much every section of this island,” despite barely knowing how to ride a bicycle when she first started training.
She said the training process has been difficult, especially the Mount Washington ride which took her over two hours to ride up and only 13 minutes to descend.
“It was one of the most brutal things I’ve gone through in my life,” she said, adding “but nothing I’ve gone through even compares to what the kids go through.”
Boyd said this experience has also taught her a lot about herself. “It’s not just physical, it’s mental – you learn a lot about your character and how you handle things,” she said, adding “things people have said about my personality I’ve had to go back and say ‘you know you’re right!’”
“Sandra is great, she has been full of energy – she just doesn’t stop,” said Vicki.
Although Boyd is busy gearing up for the start of Tour, she still has a few fundraising events before the ride, including a night out with the Crash Palace Cowboys at the Kwa’lilas Hotel on Sept. 16 and a kids pajama party at the Thunderbird Mall on Sept. 23, which includes a movie and magic show.
“I wanted to do something kid orientated to just focus on them and have some fun and whatever we raise we raise – because it’s all about the kids,” said Boyd.
She has already met her personal goal of raising $10,000 and is halfway to the Tri-Port goal of raising $30,000. Boyd said she is impressed with all of the support she has received from every community in the Tri-Port.
“I have gotten a ton of support. Everytime I’ve gone in and asked for something, nobody has ever said no,” said Boyd.
Raffle tickets in support of Tour de Rock are also available at the North Island Gazette and the Coast 1240 AM offices.
Contact Sandra Boyd at 250-230-0572 for more information.
– Hanna Petersen article