Cpt. Ben Hughes of Victoria International Airport Fire Rescue arrived home Thursday, but he didn’t get to sleep in his own bed.
Like the other 19 members of Tour de Rock, he spent the night in Sidney’s Travelodge before Friday’s grand finale in Victoria’s Centennial Square.
The event itself started on Sept. 21 and when it wraps up Oct. 4, the riders will have travelled 1,200 kilometres across Vancouver Island with stops in 28 communities. By the end of the tour, Hughes and his fellow riders will have made 198 stops along the way to help raise funds in the fight against cancer by visiting schools, business and other organizations.
2019 Cops for Cancer – Tour de Rock sets off to meet 28 caring communities, making 200 stops the length of #vancouverisland, in 13 days and 1,200km. Thank you Coast Capital Savings and Thrifty Foods for an outstanding kick off celebration #forthekids #canadiancancersociety pic.twitter.com/RtO5op3scn
— Tour de Rock (@TourdeRock) September 21, 2019
Along the way, they forged countless connections with others and themselves in developing a routine.
“I just get up every morning,” said Hughes, laconically, as his teammates disperse around him in heading for the comfort of their hotel rooms, soon to be followed by a group dinner at a local restaurant.
The exhaustion in his face appears visible Thursday afternoon, but he takes some comfort, if not pride, in knowing that Sidney marks the point where the tour cracked the 1,000-kilometre mark.
He perks up when he talks about the courage of the junior team, which consists of Vancouver Island children with a history of cancer. Some of these kids are currently undergoing treatment, some are in remission, while others are the sibling of a child who died of cancer.
“I would cycle to the end of the earth for them,” he said.