COLUMN: Solo cycle soaks Tour de Rock rider

Reporter's Viewpoint

Tour de Rock riders are issued these little bead necklaces, similar to those children with cancer are given. The children get a coloured bead with each treatment and the colour represents the type of treatment.

Riders get a bead for each ride, crash, minor injury, ride in rain, flat tire or a 100-kilometre ride.

I get showing solidarity with the kids through the beads, but have difficulty making the comparison between a ride in the rain and a child braving cancer treatments.

Besides, on each necklace, the rider’s name is spelled out in lettered beads bordered by little red hearts. Like, I’m a guy. Skull beads instead of hearts perhaps?

We ride three days a week. Tuesday is ‘hill night’ or ‘hell night’. Thursday is ‘speed night’ and Sunday is ‘time in the saddle day’ when we do rides of 100 km. They all hurt.

On nights we can’t make the training rides, we have to make them up on our own.

I had to make up a hill night ride on Wednesday, so I picked a route from my place in North Oyster around Cedar Road and up Extension and Nanaimo River roads out to Gogo’s sawmill on South Forks Road, which offered about 12 km of fairly steady climbing from the bottom of Extension Road. Total round trip was about 45 km.

It was wet out so I took out my heavy Norco hybrid I named Norco del Porko. It has fenders, plus its extra weight adds more grunt to the ride, its bigger tires can take punishment, and its disc brakes work no matter how wet they are.

I barely left my driveway when the skies unleashed hell. Blinded drivers stopped in the middle of Cedar Road. One woman saw me and I swear she thought, “Holy cow, there’s cattle with flashing lights on the road!”

The rain pummeled down so hard it nearly flushed out my contact lenses from behind my sunglasses, filled my shoes in seconds and sloshed out the tops. Yeah, so much for the fenders.

Moments later the rain backed off to just shy of Biblical proportions. I wasn’t cold yet and couldn’t get any wetter, so I pedalled on.

The route passed through areas on Nanaimo River Road where you know darned well there’s bear and cougar around because over the years people have been farming sheep up there. So in stretches with no houses, thoughts of cougars waiting to pounce from woods spurred me up the hills. I wished the team was with me. I thought they would have liked the route and they’d make good cougar decoys.

The route up to Gogo’s mill was good for the first 27 km of the ride. I stopped to water up, adjust Norco del Porko’s front brake, wrung out my clothes and gloves as best I could and headed back down.

It was getting late, so I booked straight out on Nanaimo River Road past WildPlay and took the highway back to Cedar Road and my place, arriving home literally sloshing wet and darn cold. My wife brought me some dry clothes, so I could change in the laundry room and not track water all over the house and I sat down to warm up with a glass of wine.

And, yes, I want my rain bead after that little sojourn.

The Tour de Rock riders, me included, are raising money to fight childhood cancer. My goal is to raise $25,000. Anyone who would like to contribute can do so online by visiting Click on the Vancouver Island Region tab, then click on Support a Rider and select a name to go to that rider’s donation page. Riders representing Nanaimo are myself and RCMP Const. Sandi Holman.

Your donations and support of our efforts are much appreciated.