She has the Trek road bike, she has the blessing from her family, now all she needs to do is get used to those darn clip-in pedals.
Ucluelet’s Gaylene Thorogood is training for the 2016 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team.
“Road biking is new to me. This is going to be a new challenge and I’m ready for it,” said Thorogood, who describes herself as a recreational mountain biker. “I don’t go downhilling or anything extreme, but I do love mountain biking on the logging road.”
The Tour de Rock ride involves a two-week, 1,000km bicycle journey from the north end of Vancouver Island to the south to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
“I personally don’t have anyone in the family that has been touched by cancer at this time, but I’ve had my best friend, I’ve had my in-laws’ family die from brain cancer. We know how devastating cancer can be and with a child it’s even that much harder,” Thorogood said.
To qualify for the team, riders must be RCMP or RCMP Auxiliary and complete the required training.
At the beginning of May, there will be a team trial and if Thorogood is officially named a team rider, she can launch her fundraising campaign.
“I have to complete my auxiliary training and I have to complete the team training in order to qualify in May. I’m doing this because it’s a worthy cause. It helps paediatric childhood cancer and their families,” she said. “It not only goes to the research but it also goes to their camp called Camp Good Times. It allows the families and teenagers to go to camp for free.”
To be a member of the Tour de Rock team, Thorogood will need to learn how to group ride.
“A lot of the training videos I watched encourage you to learn to actually touch each other while you are riding so you have that spatial awareness,” she said. “Put your arms out, hang on to each other, and ride for a bit. We’re not racing, but you have a certain speed that you have to maintain.”
Thorogood has a long standing relationship with West Coast RCMP. Her Dad is a retired Tofino RCMP and she spent nine years working in the Ucluelet RCMP detachment before transferring to the Tofino detachment.
She’s no stranger to fundraising either. In 2011, she helped Sgt. Jeff Swann organize the Regimental Ball, which raised $23,000 in Ucluelet alone.
While the mother of three university age children has many miles of gruelling road work in the months ahead, including a ride up Mount Washington and a mock three-day tour in August, she said she’s inspired and feels hugely supported by her husband and both the Tofino and Ucluelet RCMP detachments.
“Failure is not an option,” she said. “I have too many people behind me, supporting me.”
Thorogood will get her touring legs in shape by speed riding each Tuesday and taking on hills each Thursday.
When traffic picks up in the busy summer months, she’ll veer off down the Port Albion road to fill her weekly kilometre quota.
“Watch out for me on the road. If people honk or wave that would be great too,” she said.