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

‘The system has fallen apart:’ Victoria woman’s son died a day after being accepted to treatment centre

Victoria man’s body went undiscovered in Victoria parking lot for five days after overdose

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

CRD tickets cyclists who ignore stop signs at Lochside trail, Saanich Road intersection

Many cyclists don’t heed the stop signs, use pedestrian-activated crosswalk light

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Weather Canada issues thunderstorm alert for coastal Vancouver Island

Severe thunderstorm watch issued around 4:15 p.m. as storms developed over sections of the Island

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Most Read