Hilary Eastmure got her first taste of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock when she came to the Island in 2013.
Eastmure, 26, works for 91.7 Coast FM and was inspired by 2013 team member Jennifer Faerber and the loss of a close friend to cancer.
“It sounded like such an amazing adventure and huge commitment, I immediately thought, ‘I’m going to do that one day,’ the moment I learned about it,” Eastmure said.
Eastmure was a mountain biker. Her father owned a bike store in Ontario. She finds cycling on this level challenging and fun.
“It’s really incredible to see how far we’ve come,” Eastmure said. “When our Mount Washington ride was cancelled due to rain last weekend it was a bit of a downer and then they said we’re going to ride 70 kilometres. My friend’s like, ‘You can ride 70 kilometres with your eyes closed.’ I would never have been able to say that before.”
Being the 2015 Tour de Rock team’s sole media rider is challenging professionally, too.
“It’s because you are one of the team – and I really don’t feel any different – but then it’s hard to pull back and try to cover it from a media perspective,” she said.
Const. Mihai Ilioi is with Nanaimo RCMP’s property crimes unit.
Ilioi, 39, is originally from Romania and came to Canada in 2003 and Nanaimo in 2010, the same year he was introduced to the Tour de Rock.
“I was at the gala when the tour got to Nanaimo,” Ilioi said. “I was helping and I saw all the emotions, the huge support the tour got and I said that this in a couple of years is something I would like to do.”
This year he decided it was now or never.
“When I hit that wall and it’s hard to keep going, I’m thinking about my family and friends that I’ve lost and my junior riders and that keeps me going.”
Ilioi’s job means he often has to train on his own. He tackled Mount Washington on his own in early July, which was the toughest part of his training so far.
“It’s mind over body, but it’s fun at the same time,” he said. “I gained so much from that ride I encourage everyone to do it.”