Cpl. Norm Smith, 46, head of Nanaimo RCMP’s Traffic Services division was forced to make the decision to leave the team in August.
What knocked him out of the saddle was a severe case of bursitis in his right hip that he had battled for weeks, fighting through the pain and controlling it with pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Just when it looked like he was winning the battle, a minor accident between several riders on a training ride to Jordan River dealt the final blow. Attempting to avoid the riders who fell in front of him, Smith over-stressed the already inflamed joint when he tried to unclip from his bike pedals.
“It actually started showing up on one of our hill nights when we did 17 different hills on the one practice and when I got home I was like, I’m sore. I’m really, really getting sore,” Smith said.
The pain came with a stern warning from his doctor: continue and risk doing damage you can’t recover from.
After nearly six months of unwavering dedication to his training and fundraising, being forced to drop out was heartbreaking.
“I was really, really disappointed, to say it politely,” Smith said. “I put almost 3,000 km of practice in and I went not being able to ride a bike to riding fairly good. Like I was telling my wife, ‘The mind is willing and wanted to do it, but the body couldn’t do it any more.’ But the outlook of having so much damage done to my hip, it was an easy decision to have to stop.”
This will also be the first time since 2006 Smith will not be on Tour de Rock motorcycle escort duty because being on the team meant someone had to take his place on the escort.
“Unfortunately all those positions were taken and I’m no going to bump somebody out just because,” he said.
Smith set a personal fundraising goal of $50,000 and has dedicated his efforts to supporting and organizing fundraising events in Nanaimo while the riders tour the Island.