12 hour spin raises money for Cops for Cancer ride

Cops for cancer spin bike fundraiser

Sgt Frank Dominix (left) and RAdm Bill Truelove (centre), Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, stopped by for a spin and to support to Military Police Officer and Cops for Cancer rider Sgt Mike Oliver (right) during Sgt Oliver’s 12 hour ride at the main dockyard gate to raise money for Cops for Cancer.

Starting at the entrance to dockyard, Military Police (MP) Officer Sgt Mike Oliver cycled nearly 250 kilometres without ever leaving the gate.

He accomplished this feat Aug. 8 on a stationary bike, spinning for 12 hours to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.

As part of this year’s Tour de Rock team, Sgt Oliver was hard-pressed to find ways to raise the $5,000 each rider is expected to raise.

“I rode with the Saanich Police for their 24-Hour Bike Relay, so I thought I’d do something similar,” he said. “I’ve got people who will be riding alongside me [sporadically through the day], but I’m doing the whole thing on my own.”

From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sgt Oliver’s legs pumped away stopping only for the occasional bathroom break.

“There were peaks and valleys,” he said. “At around hour three I started feeling burnt out, but the energy comes and goes.”

The physical exhaustion of 12 hours in the saddle is nothing compared to the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion cancer patients and their families go through, he said.

“It’s hard to think of what I’m doing as difficult when I know what those families and those patients deal with every day. I was able to bite my tongue, grit my teeth, and push on for them.”

Riding that wave of motivation, Sgt Oliver raised more than $3,500 for Cops for Cancer. “We did really well that day,” he says. “People are so hugely generous and I’m very grateful.”

Sgt Oliver learned this past March that he would be representing the military police for this year’s ride. Having recently lost his grandmother to lung cancer, Sgt Oliver was overjoyed at the opportunity to pay his respects in a grand gesture.

“I was posted to Afghanistan, doing close protections, when she passed away. I wasn’t able to return for her funeral,” he said. “We were very close so I’m glad I’ve been given a way to show my love and appreciation through helping other families.”

Cops for Cancer is an annual 1,000 km bicycle ride from Port Alice to Victoria. This year, the team will be riding from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4.

Sgt Oliver said the task is a daunting one. “I’ve ridden mountain bikes a little, but I’ve never done anything like this. We’re training constantly so hopefully I’ll be ready.”

The team trains three nights a week including a 100 km ride each Sunday. As an inexperienced road cyclist, Sgt Oliver said he’s been working double time.

“Back in March when this all started I had to come up with a bike just so I could get started with the training,” he says. “The training program is extensive but it’s going to be nothing compared to the ride itself.”

Even though the 12-hour ride is over, fundraising won’t end until Sept. 21. Anyone interested in donating can contact Sgt Oliver directly at 250-363-4044 or visit www.copsforcancerbc.ca/tourderock/mikeoliver.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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