Riders Alan Neville-Rutherford

Riders Alan Neville-Rutherford

Tour de Rock is a life-changing experience

Tour de Rock didn't start off on my bucket list – but today it owns it, says writer

  • Oct. 8, 2013 7:00 a.m.

By Arnold Lim

I can’t believe it is over.

Eight months from info session to grand finale, with a lifetime of ups and downs in between and the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging journey of my life has come to an end. I still can’t believe it and while the journey is only days old, I find myself reflecting on where it all began.

My personal march to they Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team began in 2008 photographing and covering the tour shortly after graduating from a journalism school. I remember thinking it was a fun event, but didn’t really understand what it meant to the communities on Vancouver Island until the students of Oak Bay high school flipped the switch for me in 2011.

Having been a teacher’s assistant in photography at the school shortly after high school, I had always felt a connection to the school but that connection turned into something much more when the 2011 Tour de Rock team rolled into the gymnasium.

I remember watching a team of young high school students unveiling a cheque for $43,311 to a moment of silence, before being deafened by the volume of screaming, cheering and crying that almost brought me to my knees.

The raucous chorus, lead by young teenagers, many of them young girls who would be shaving their heads in prom years knowing they would not sport the flowing locks for their graduation they may have envisioned growing up, changed me forever.

Tears began streaming down my eyes as I struggled to compose myself and my camera to take photographs, I was so taken aback I almost forgot that I was working and needed something to run in the paper. It was at that moment I knew. It was that moment I began seriously thinking to myself about what it would take to be part of the Tour de Rock – not as a witness but as a rider.

What I didn’t know then was two years later I would have that opportunity.

As a young adult I grew up with a bucket list that included shooting the National Hockey League, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Olympics, and being a part of some of the biggest events, with tens of thousands of people in attendance and millions of people watching from around the world.

I have been fortunate to have had those opportunities, but what I didn’t realize then was those memories would be challenged by events taking place in local Legions and school gymnasiums, some in small communities with populations in the hundreds and events with spectators barely reaching the double digits.

At the expense of sounding trite, I say without hesitation this has been a life and perspective-changing two-week journey I will never be able fully express in words.

Tour de Rock didn’t start off on my bucket list – but today it owns it.














Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read