Nanaimo broadcast journalist Hilary Eastmure said she has gotten to know a side of police officers reporters rarely get to see on the job. Preparing for the 2015 Tour de Rock

Nanaimo broadcast journalist Hilary Eastmure said she has gotten to know a side of police officers reporters rarely get to see on the job. Preparing for the 2015 Tour de Rock

Nanaimo Tour de Rock riders ready for gruelling trek

NANAIMO – Nanaimo Radio personality and RCMP constable on the road from Port Alice with the 2015 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team.

The tough physical training is over and the emotional journey has begun for the 21 riders on the 2015 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team.

The team rode out of Port Alice on Sunday and will stop at dozens of schools and fundraising events along its 1,100-kilometre journey to fight childhood cancer.

Hilary Eastmure, of 91.7 Coast FM, this year’s sole media rider, and RCMP Const. Mihai Ilioi, are Nanaimo’s riders on the team.

“I almost don’t want it to start because I don’t want it to end, but I’m also very excited to meet the people along the way who make the tour so special,” Eastmure said.

She expects an emotional roller coaster, meeting child cancer patients, supporters and those who’ve lost loved ones to cancer, listening to their stories and connecting with them.

The experiences from training and fundraising have given her a greater appreciation for life, friends, family and community and the support she has received so far.

“I’ve just met so many incredible people,” Eastmure said. “My teammates, the 20 police officers and military police and auxiliary constables, they are amazing people. Sometimes you don’t see that aspect when you’re working with the police as a reporter, but then you get into something like this and they all have just huge hearts.”

Ilioi said preparing for the tour has been one of the busiest periods of his life and said he is looking forward to absorbing every experience on the tour.

“I know it’s going to be hard,” Ilioi said. “I’m not worried about rain or something like that. We are trained and we’re going to do good, but with everything going on, I just want to sink into it and be part of what tour really means for this two weeks.”

Ilioi approached the training as an athletic challenge to see what his physical limits are, but he also knows he will face emotional challenges riders can’t train for.

“I know I’m a grown man and a policeman too and I’ve been trained to restrain my emotions, but at the same time you’re just a human being like everyone else … it is what it is,” he said.

The team arrives in Nanaimo for a Red Serge dinner at the Coast Bastion Inn Sunday (Sept. 27).

Eastmure will donate her hair to raise money to fight childhood cancer when the team is in Nanaimo for a family fun event at Maffeo Sutton Park Monday (Sept. 28).

To learn more about the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, the team and scheduled events, please visit the tour website at www.tourderock.ca.