The Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley riders got handed a lemon, and made lemonade.
This year’s Tour de Valley, which involved law enforcement officers from Delta to the Fraser Valley riding to raise money for cancer research and patient support, raised more than $260,000, said Morgan Nixon, a rider from Langley City.
That was despite the fact that after months of training, fundraising, and preparation, the ride had to turn into a largely “virtual” tour for its Sept. 21-25 run.
“It was definitely disappointing, because everyone was so excited,” said Nixon, a corrections officer.
Normally a nine-day event that sees riders cover more than 800 kilometers from Tsawwassen to Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon, the ride had already been shrunk to a five-day event after it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would not allow for the riders to make the many school and business visits that are the hallmark of the tour.
Nor could the group ride together, spaced out or not.
Instead, riders were encouraged to head out on their own, or in small groups, to complete the miles they would have done together in a normal year.
Nixon, who had never ridden a road bike before signing up for tour, joined a few small groups of fellow rider,s and headed out to every community they were scheduled to visit over the five days.
They made “virtual stops” at schools and sponsoring businesses, taking distanced pictures of the four to six riders who could head out together as part of the same social bubbles.
They also stopped at the homes of the honourary riders, children who are in treatment for cancer or who are past survivors. The Cops for Cancer charity rides are specifically aimed at research into childhood cancers, and also provide financial support for young cancer patients, including for a special summer camp in Maple Ridge called Camp Goodtimes.
“Everybody still got some of the experience,” Nixon said.
When she signed up for the Tour de Valley in January, Nixon thought it would be a good cause and a challenge.
But it wasn’t what she’d expected.
However, having a taste of a tour over five days last week has fired her up.
“I 100 per cent want to do it again!” Nixon said.
“It would be amazing to see it when it’s normal again.”
The Tour de Valley 2020 team raised $260,000 #Forthekids A big thank you to all the riders, sponsors, volunteers, law enforcement agencies & donors! Together we're a force-for-life in the face of cancer & we're making a difference for many children and families #CopsforCancer pic.twitter.com/jvDwwfsoS8
— tourdevalley (@tourdevalley) September 30, 2020