Tour de Rock riders

Tour de Rock riders

New extremes for cancer fundraiser in Victoria

Tour de Rock members plan 24-hour ride around UVic’s Ring Road in July

Kevin Nunn is no stranger to pushing himself to the extreme, all for the sake of improving the lives of kids with cancer.

The 50-year-old civilian quartermaster for the Saanich Police Department raised more than $45,000 in 2011 and 2012 by pushing his body to its limits – a run from Duncan to Saanich, and walking a half-marathon pulling a BMW Mini – to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock.

This year Nunn was named to the 2013 Tour de Rock team, and he and three of his fellow riders have decided to take their fundraising efforts another step further.

“To keep the extreme going, I think a 24-hour bike ride is, again, well out there,” Nunn said. He, along with Saanich cops Lisa Bruschetta and Doug Franklin, and Oak Bay reserve constable Aubrey Blackhall, will ride nonstop around the University of Victoria’s Ring Road for 24 hours in July.

“The motivation (when riding for so long) is just thinking about the kids. Think about the 24 hours that they’ve got to stay up when they can’t sleep because they’re in so much pain from their chemotherapy treatment,” Nunn said.

Blackhall, 20, says he’s using his grandma, who passed away from cancer, and young niece as motivation. While his two-and-a-half-year-old niece isn’t battling cancer, he knows it’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate.

“This is my insurance policy if she ever does happen to get stricken with cancer. I’d like to know that I fought for her even before she needed it,” Blackhall said.

The day-long ride will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 26 and end at 1 p.m. the following the day.

Nunn says the public is being invited to come out and ride alongside the Tour de Rock team members.

“We’re wanting people to come and join us and cycle with us. If you do a lap, we’d like a donation of $5. If you want to ride for an hour, we’d like a donation of $25 per hour that you ride,” he said.

While each team member sets their own personal fundraising goal, Nunn says the goal of the 24-hour ride is “as much as possible. Every penny counts.”

Twenty-four-hour rides aren’t so much a Tour tradition, but they do happen every couple of years – so long as there are riders who have enough stamina and endurance to take up the challenge. Last year two Sidney-based riders raised more than $6,000 riding for 24 hours.

Nunn says he hasn’t pulled an all-nighter in at least a decade, since he was in the British Armed Forces.

“I’ll hopefully try to get a few good nights sleep the nights leading up to the ride, eat well, train well, have lots of fluid on board and just focus on why I’m riding: the youngsters,” he said of his preparations.

Blackhall says the Tour de Rock experience – mostly training – has been very positive so far.

“It’s been great. I couldn’t ask for a better team. We’re getting more and more like family every day, and everyone’s here for such a good cause,” he said.

“The aches and pains of getting on a bike have nothing on the pain and experience that the youngsters go through when they’re going through cancer treatment,” added Nunn. “Kids should be kids. They should grow up being kids.”

The Tour de Rock team will cycle nearly 1,100 kilometres from Port Alice to Victoria this fall, raising money for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for kids with cancer.

For more info, visit tourderock.ca.

kslavin@saanichnews.com