For three Tour de Rock riders, rolling into the Comox Valley and Black Creek on Wednesday also meant coming home.
Andy Quinn with Courtenay Fire, Nicole Emery with Oyster River Fire and Jon De Roo with 97.3 the Eagle were all glad to come home and see their friends and family cheering them on.
Though Oyster River Fire Rescue firefighters were up all night battling a barn fire, they were still at the firehall to show their support when Emery and the rest of the riders rolled into Black Creek.
“They were actually having to tell me to slow down – I was so excited to get there,” said Emery. “They’re just another family and it was so exciting to be there.”
Though the ride has already been emotional and inspirational for many, it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing for the first five days.
“I drank a funky water bottle and it nearly killed me if I’m being honest,” said De Roo. “The emotional rollercoaster I would say would be the biggest challenge. You go through waves with all these screaming kids and they’re super fun and then you can also get some bad news at times as well and that can be really, really hard.”
For Emery, the hardest part was the 147.8 kilometre ride from Port McNeil to Sayward.
“The hill was hard for us, but they’ve put a bunch of little motivational signs all up the big hill past Eve River – just little sayings about the kids and it reminds us, we’re grinding and it’s hard and we’re tired and our legs are kills us, but it’s nothing when compared to what these kids have to go through.
“We have to get to the top of that hill but these kids sometimes have to go on with their treatments for a really long time. It was hard but it was worth it.”
Andy Quinn has been shaving parts of his head at each stop and on Thursday, also shaved off half of his mustache.
He said each place has changed him a little bit, and not just the look of his hair.
“A lot of the first responders have hidden dark things that we’ve been exposed to and this is the fixer in a sense – the fixer in a sense that the teeter-totter goes back and comes the other way,” he said. “Just being with the kids and doing things with the kids is such a fixer for a lot of the first responders.”
The next stop on the Tour is Qualicum and Parksville.
For more information on the Tour de Rock or to donate, visit tourderock.ca