RCMP Cpl. Terry Crawford will represent Nanaimo on the 2022 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team, which will be the first full team to ride the Island since the event was scaled back in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock photo)

RCMP Cpl. Terry Crawford will represent Nanaimo on the 2022 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team, which will be the first full team to ride the Island since the event was scaled back in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock photo)

Nanaimo RCMP corporal named to Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team

Event returning to its usual format this year for 25th-anniversary ride

The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock will have a full team heading out on the road again this year.

Representing Nanaimo on this year’s team is Cpl. Terry Crawford, one of two RCMP officers on the 21-member team.

Tour de Rock 2022 is the first tour since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in which a full team of riders will cycle the tour’s traditional 1,100-kilometre route from Port Alice to Victoria. It’s also Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock’s 25th anniversary.

The tour is an annual two-week-long event when law enforcement and emergency services personnel cycle the length and breadth of the Island to raise money for childhood cancer research and support Canadian Cancer Society services. A major focus of the fundraiser is Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp in Maple Ridge that the society runs for children with cancer and their families.

Crawford, 48, is a 15-year RCMP veteran who came to Nanaimo from the Lower Mainland in 2017. He said he took up the challenge because he was inspired by children he’s seen who are “living with and battling with cancer.” Crawford’s grandmother died of cancer and his mother is a cancer survivor.

“I like to ride anyway. I’m an avid cyclist and to do something that I like to do for such a good cause, it’s a no-brainer,” Crawford said. “On personal note, I had the opportunity to be a bone marrow stem cell donor for a person with cancer, so I got to go through that process. You go to the cancer clinic in Vancouver and you see people going through the treatments, so I feel like if the research Cops for Cancer contributes to helping, even just a little bit, that’s so worth it.”

He said children with cancer today have better outcomes regarding the side effects of radiation and a better quality of life once they’ve gone through treatments compared to patients from even five to 10 years ago.

RELATED: Tour de Rock reborn as team of riders unveiled

Tour de Rock training is demanding, even for an avid road cyclist and mountain biker. Among the toughest aspects of training for Crawford has been the cold, wet weather on Vancouver Island throughout the spring. The physically and mentally toughest day, so far, for Crawford was a training ride through Nanoose – a physically challenging route under good conditions – when there were strong winds, rain, sleet and near-freezing temperatures. Crawford got so chilled he could barely shift gears because he couldn’t feel his hands and feet.

“Our weather has been horrible, so we’ve been cycling in hail, winds, rain, all types of miserable conditions, but what’s amazing is everybody’s attitudes are so great because they’re there for the right reasons,” he said. “It’s a good group here training in the north [Island] and we’re getting along great, so that makes the training rides actually pretty fun and I look forward to them.”

Wet, cold weather also contributes to extra wear and tear on bicycle components at a time when supply chain issues are making it hard to get replacement parts.

Team members might be spread across the north Island, but still make it to evening and weekend training rides. Crawford said two trainees drive to Nanaimo twice a week from Ucluelet and Tofino for two-hour-long evening training rides.

“Some of these guys are just really committed,” Crawford said. “For me, I’m pretty central so I feel pretty lucky.”

Crawford said there have been some emotional moments, especially when hearing stories from parents whose children battled cancer, such as Simon Douthwaite, who represented Nanaimo on the tour in 2019 and is a tour coordinator this year.

READ ALSO: Father of child cancer survivor brings parent’s perspective to Tour de Rock

“He was sharing his story about his girl and it’s hard to keep the emotions away just hearing [him] talking about his feelings when his kid is on chemo and … your kid’s hair starts falling out and you’re just listening to his voice. It’s hard not to get emotional,” Crawford said.

Crawford said he’s most looking forward to the day riders in training spend with kids at Camp Goodtimes.

“That week is a rest week where they can feel normal and they’re around other kids who have the same experience or similar experiences … If you are in this struggle for your life for a year or two years or however many years, and you can look forward to that one week where you can take your foot off the gas and just have fun – you can’t put a price on that,” he said.

Crawford also rode the Tour de Coast when he was stationed in Richmond.

“I do have a bit of an inside scoop on the tour, but having said that, the Tour de Rock is a super different animal than the Tour de Coast,” he said. “The culture’s different. The dynamics are different. One thing that struck me is how the people on Vancouver Island love the Tour de Rock. It really has a sense of belonging to the folks on the Island.”

This year’s tour runs Sept. 24-Oct. 7. To make donations or learn more about the team and the event, visit www.tourderock.ca.



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RCMP Cpl. Terry Crawford receives his Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock training uniform during a team announcement ceremony earlier in May. (Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock photo)

RCMP Cpl. Terry Crawford receives his Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock training uniform during a team announcement ceremony earlier in May. (Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock photo)