The grizzled veterans who serve as support crew for the riders of the Tour de Rock have seen it all before. But perhaps the best measure of the North Island’s influence on the Cops for Cancer fund-raising ride can be seen in the faces of the riders themselves, many of whom visited our communities for the first time last weekend.
In more than one case, those faces were streaked with tears.
Sure, the cynic might chalk it up to a release of emotion after finally hitting the road after nearly a year of grueling training. The crass might chalk it up to saddle sores.
But the 22 law enforcement and media riders seemed almost shell-shocked when they walked into the packed, steamy Canadian Legion Hall in Port Alice Saturday night to a standing ovation.
As the launching point for the annual ride, started in 1998 to benefit childhood cancer victims and research, the North Island is uniquely positioned to leave a first impression on the riders before they embark on their 1,000-kilometre jaunt to Victoria.
Port Alice certainly left its mark, with a dinner and auction of 82 donated items that drew more than $13,500. This, from a community of 800.
Port Hardy and Port McNeill did their share as well, with head shaves and other activies raising thousands more. The riders’ last act before hitting the highway south was to swing by Sunset Elementary School and collect another $1,000 raised by its students.
Now that’s what we call leaving an impression. Well done, as usual, folks.