- BC Games
Tour de Rock riders roll into Cowichan on Tuesday
It was only his fourth day on the Tour de Rock ride when the News Leader Pictorial caught up to Cowichan’s incoming chief of police.
But the personal stories he is hearing have already had a huge effect on former Lake Cowichan cop, and current Victoria RCMP Cops for Cancer rider, Ray Carfantan.
“They sure do leave an impression and I guess we do on them as well,” said the 50-year-old, who takes over as new inspector for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment on Oct. 21.
“We’ve been by a few schools, and had some cheque presentations, and even played some volleyball,” Carfantan said from his hotel room in Campbell River, looking over Quadra Island. “We’ve met lots of folks already with unique personal stories and personal motivation.”
Fellow north island rider Jennifer Faerber representing Vista Radio couldn’t have agreed more.
“Rolling into Campbell River was very special for me, as I’m into home territory,” she wrote on the Tour’s blog page. “The best part was pulling up to Discovery Passage Elementary — our first school stop in Campbell River — where my junior rider Joe Howie was waiting for us. Like me, Joe had cancer when he was a kid. He finished chemo in May of 2010 and will soon be turning 17.
“Joe got to ride up front in the police car that clears the way for our bikes. He got to laugh at us all as we tackled a hill immediately after enjoying Dick’s Fish and Chips for lunch.”
The crew’s lunch stop also tugged a few heart strings for Carfantan, after learning the owner, Dick’s wife Cathy couldn’t be there because she’s currently battling cancer.
“She’d been recently diagnosed and wasn’t there because she’s undergoing treatment,” Carfantan said.
“The team will certainly be thinking of Dick and his sweetie (as he called her) as we continue our journey down-Island,” wrote Faerber. “We’ll do a hill for Cathy, who is now battling cancer.”
The 16th Tour de Rock kicked off in Port Alice Saturday, when the team of 21 riders (16 Vancouver Island police officers, four members of the media and one special guest) began their 1,100-kilometre, two-week trek.
A south Cowichan resident, Carfantan was a member of the Lake Cowichan detachment from 1999 until 2005. It was during those years that he learned of the Tour de Rock.
They roll through Cowichan Oct. 1.
“I’m really looking forward to the Cowichan stop,” said Carfantan. “There’s a blow-up picture at Mr. Mike’s of the crew of us waiting there for us.”
So far, the riding hasn’t been too tough for Carfantan.
“The first day it poured,” he said. “Then there was a few days of steady rain, but because the people are so upbeat and excited it sure helps.”
A few of his fellow crew members have already taken a spill, likely because of the wet conditions, but Carfantan was happy to report no major injuries.
“The riders were on their feet fairly quickly,” he said.
The Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer crew makes several stops in the Warm Land, including a Breakfast With the Riders at the Chemainus Seniors Centre from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Then, besides stops at various local schools, the crew’s main event is at the Beverly Corners mall, from 12 to 4 p.m. featuring the Town Crier, Dragon Divas, a 50/50 draw, music, good grub, games including the Price is Right, and of course head shaves and cheque presentations. That evening, the riders take part in a Red Serge dinner at Mr. Mike’s, which also includes a silent and live auction, and steak dinner. South Cowichan is the destination Wednesday morning.
“The dinner at Mr. Mike’s is a real favourite with the riders. They especially like the casualness of it,” said Cowichan coordinator Jan O’Neill. “Cam Drew will be the emcee and auctioneer and he always is entertaining. Mr. Mikes puts on a great dinner.”