The Bulkley Valley Allstars cycling team of Cindy Sullivan and Sue Jones are to embark upon a 800-kilometre Cops for Cancer Tour de North ride beginning in Dawson Creek on Sept. 14. With them is Houston RCMP Constable Dhaliwal who was also scheduled to ride until injured in a training accident. (Submitted photo/Houston Today)

Houston cyclists prepare for 800 kilometre ride

The Cops for Cancer Tour de North begins Sept. 14 in Dawson Creek

With one week to go until this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North cyclists begin their journey Sept. 14 in northeastern B.C., the three local riders are busy with last minute preparations.

Houston RCMP Constable Harry Dhaliwal and community riders Sue Jones and Cindy Sullivan, collectively known as the Bulkley Valley Allstars, are part of a contingent of more than 20 riders who will spend seven days cycling 800 kilometres from Dawson Creek to Williams Lake.

The collective goal of the Tour de North ride is to raise $150,000 for pediatric cancer research and to help support programs such as Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for children undergoing cancer treatment and their families.

Sullivan described herself as a casual cyclist going into her training program this past spring but then found herself committed to riding four times a week.

“It’s addictive,” said Sullivan in describing the psychological and physical benefit of leaving work and then cycling two hours at an average 25 kilometres an hour.

She’s accumulated 2,500 kilometres since training began in April and has met key milestones such as the ability to first complete an 80 kilometre ride, then one of 120 kilometres and then one of 140 kilometres.

That’s to ensure riders can complete daily targets with the shortest one being the 75 kilometres between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John and the longest one being the 150 kilometres from Fort St. John to Chetwynd.

The latter distance also features the greatest elevation gain of 1,584 metres.

“But that’s not all at once. It’s not that there’s one big hill,” Sullivan emphasized.

Still, she anticipates on using every one of the 22 gears on her road bike that’s being supplied by Tour de North.

Despite the increased physical activity, Sullivan has not changed her diet but will be increasing her water intake closer to the start of the ride.

Fellow rider Sue Jones has also not changed her diet during her training for the ride.

“I’m fairly active all year round so I eat the same almost always. I drink a lot of water too and that helps before and after rides,” she said.

Jones has done the Tour de North before and will bring that experience to this year’s journey.

But she does admit to being nervous that she’ll be the slowest on the team.

“I feel I’m strong enough to do the distances but am a slow rider overall and our team needs to go at the same speed. I’m hoping I can keep up. I’m trying to ride every day this week to practice the back to back rides,” she said.

While Jones rode during the week, her longest training periods on Hwy16 were on Sunday mornings when there was far less industrial traffic.

“It was a lot quieter, I can tell you that,” she said.

And because Jones is also a pilot, she flew herself and her bike to Vanderhoof once to train with a rider there.

Houston RCMP Constable Harry Dhaliwal, an accomplished rider, was to be the third member of the team but an accident while training nearly two weeks ago resulted in a serious arm injury requiring surgery.

As a result, he will not be able to ride this time out.

Going into training this spring and summer, Dhaliwal took on an added responsibility by becoming the main organizer for the rider group, a task that required him to be in contact with riders from around the north.

As of last week, the Bulkley Valley Allstars have raised just over $20,000 toward their goal of $30,000 as part of the overall goal of raising $150,000.

The latest effort is a raffle featuring a summer getaway package of outdoor recreational gear sponsored by the Bulkley Valley Credit Union. The draw date is Sept. 30 and tickets are available at the credit union.

Previous activities to meet the Allstars’ goal have included a boombox raffle board donated by Sullivan Motor Products, a barbecue at Four Rivers Coop, a spin-a-thon at the Smithers Brewery and a bike boom and bail at the Houston RCMP detachment.

There are also change jars at businesses in Houston and Topley and bottle and can recycling donations are also welcome.

The Canadian Cancer Society has an online raffle directly tied to the four Cops for Cancer tours in B.C. and those purchasing tickets can direct their purchase in support of one of the tours and even a specific rider.

The goal of the four B.C. tours is to raise $1 million.