Wildfires Impacting Tour de North
Prince George, B.C.- This year may be one of the most challenging for the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de North.
The 7 day endurance cycling event involves a team of RCMP members and Emergency Services personnel from throughout North District riding to raise funds and connect with children in communities along the way. All dollars raised go to research for childhood cancers and to Camp Goodtimes, where children on a cancer journey can just be kids again.
This year, the route will see cyclists travel from Williams Lake to Dawson Creek. The actual start location, team make up and some fundraising events have been challenged by the wildfires.
With the RCMP pulling as many resources as possible to help in areas under evacuation or alert, and the smoky conditions in the Cariboo, some team members have not been able to do the training necessary to enable them to be in the physical shape they will need to be part of the ride.
The wildfires also meant the cancellation of some fundraising events, yet, Tour de North Coordinator, Erin Reynolds says despite the challenges she is amazed at how people are stepping up to help the cause “Yes there has been chaos this summer and people have so many other higher priorities to be thinking about from the perspective of keeping their homes and their families together, but it’s amazing to me how quickly people come back to the priority of Cops for Cancer and Tour de North.”
Reynolds says despite the challenges, the Tour de North will go forward “We won’t be cancelling and we won’t be changing the route ( to the alternate east west run).”
If smoke conditions are such that it is unhealthy for the riders to start the journey in Williams Lake, then the start may be moved to Prince George. But there are still a couple of weeks before such a decision would have to be made.
She says they are trying to be sensitive to the hardships so many in the Cariboo are facing in the wake of the wildfires, “The need doesn’t go away for kids with cancer, but sometimes it needs to be put on the shelf for a little bit so people can deal with the more pressing problems they are facing.”
The Tour de North is scheduled to kick off on September 12 in Williams Lake, with a fund raising “jail and Bail” in Prince George when the team arrives in P.G. on the 13th.