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Tour de North cyclists blow past fundraising goal

Bulkley Valley Allstars make major contribution
Houston RCMP Constable Harry Dhaliwal, Sue Jones and Cindy Sullivan set up in front of the Bulkley Valley Credit Union to draw the winner for a complete camping package – the winner drawn was Aubrey Aatelma. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

A badly-injured arm in a training accident that required surgery just weeks before he was to be part of the team of riders cycling from Dawson Creek to Williams Lake in this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North kept Harry Dhaliwal off his bike.

But that did not keep the Tour de North’s training manager from being proud of those who did pedal the 800 kilometres over seven days.

The money raised by the team exceeded the Tour de North 2022 goal of $150,000 even before the cyclists finished the final leg Sept. 20 in Williams Lake.

And even though he could not ride, Dhaliwal and Houston community cyclists Sue Jones and Cindy Sullivan, who completed the 800 kilometre ride that began in Dawson Creek Sept. 14, collectively raised more than $35,000 of the Tour de North’s total.

Known as the Bulkley Valley Allstars, the three took part and organized a variety of local fundraisers, including being raised up in a boom at the RCMP detachment and lowered when donation targets were hit.

As head of the riding team from around the north, Dhaliwal, a constable at the Houston RCMP detachment, set training schedules and riding goals beginning in the spring that had to be met before the ride began Sept. 14.

“They had to ride a certain distance in all and we set distances they had to complete at one time,” said Dhaliwal of expectations laid out for the cyclists.

Cyclists had to complete a ride of 80 kilometres by June 15, one of 120 kilometres by Aug. 1 and one of 140 kilometres by Sept. 1. And by end of training, had to have cycled at least 1,500 kilometres in all.

Dhaliwal even toured the north, taking groups out on training rides in preparation for the Dawson Creek to Williams Lake journey.

In addition to fitness, riders had to be comfortable cycling in a tight group called a peloton and doing so at a steady and consistent pace.

“Riders would string out going up a hill but otherwise they were in the peloton,” said Dhaliwal.

Ironically it was while riding in a peloton during training that Dhaliwal was injured.

Taking advantage of training opportunities in southern B.C., Dhaliwal was riding one day with a group preparing for a Cops for Cancer ride from Cloverdale to Hope.

But as the group was crossing the Golden Ears Bridge, traffic came to a sudden stop ahead of them, catching some of the riders in the group by surprise.

Riders began to bump into each and as a cyclist passed Dhaliwal from behind, his elbow becoming entangled in that rider’s handlebars, causing it to dislocate.

At first, in shock, Dhaliwal was unaware of the extent of his injury until the rider riders pointed at his elbow.

And as the shock wore off, the pain began.

“I can certainly tell you it hurt,” Dhaliwal said.

An ambulance took him to hospital were he spent several days waiting for surgery.

He’s now back home, awaiting for the time he can return to work even at light duty.