Brittany King understands that what she’s taken on is no small task, but if you ask her, she’s just doing her part.
“You see these kids and what they’re going through, and there’s a need to help with all kinds of cancer and if this is something I can do then sign me up,” says King, an on-air personality at KOOL-FM and one of three media riders on this year’s 21-member Tour de Rock team.
“I look at it as my responsibility as a member of society.”
Unlike many of her tour teammates, who have either lost close friends or family members to cancer, or have someone close to them who is currently living with the disease, King counts herself among the lucky few who aren’t directly affected. But her motivation to complete the 1,000-kilometre ride is just as strong.
“Whether it’s pediatric cancer, or any other cause that’s just as meaningful and important, if you have the time and energy to do something about it, why not?” King says.
That line of thinking was a big part of the reason King submitted her name for consideration for this year’s team. While she waited to hear if she’d been chosen, she did her homework.
“I did my due diligence. I talked to all the past riders I could, given the massive undertaking and the commitment that’s required,” she says.
That commitment, which includes nearly eight months of training and countless hours planning and staging fundraising events in addition to the ride itself, is indeed a major one. And King had the added challenge of having to essentially learn all the basics of cycling from scratch.
“I didn’t even know how to take off on my bike,” she says. “I didn’t know how to clip in. They called me Bambi – I didn’t know how to walk.”
But thanks to an experienced – and patient – group of trainers, King was able to navigate a fairly steep learning curve, and by the time the first month of training had passed, she was keeping up with the pack.
Those first few weeks brought their share of growing pains, she admits, but the support of her teammates buoyed her spirits whenever she was having a tough day. King remembers one particular incident, when she was struggling to keep up with the rest of the group during a training ride in Mount Douglas Park and Saanich Const. Andy Harward stayed by her side, providing a constant stream of encouragement.
“I was thinking, ‘How can he use his energy to cheer me on and here I am gasping for air?’ It was really cool to see that team dynamic, and since then I wanted to be that kind of cheerleader on the team and give that kind of encouragement for them.”
Her fellow riders aren’t the only team that’s been important in the run-up to the tour. King is also quick to praise all the people who helped her with the many fundraising events she and fellow media rider Louise Hartland from CTV have staged in support of the cause.
“The team support that has been shown to me from (my colleagues) has been incredible,” she says. “I always say that the team members in our promotions department are team members for the Tour de Rock. My family, friends and coworkers have been behind me 100 per cent.”
It’s the acknowledgement of all those people behind the scenes that keeps King humble about the magnitude of what she’s undertaking – and it’s why she doesn’t want people to make a big deal over her part in the Tour.
“It’s an incredible, humbling experience to look at all the people that make this happen,” she says. “That’s why I try to deflect that attention I’m getting to everyone who makes it happen. … Even if you can’t make a huge donation, you’re coming to one our barbecues and we’re all chipping away at the same cause.”
Enter to Win!
You could win a Tour de Rock bike package from Trek bikes! It includes a bike, helmet, clip in pedals and shoes and a jersey signed by Tour de Rock riders. To enter, visit the Black Press office at 818 Broughton St. to fill out a form, or enter online here. Winners will be drawn Oct. 7 and notified by email.