Base firefighter rides for Tour de Rock

Lt Josh Peterson

Lt Josh Peterson is one of 21 Tour de Rock participants in this year’s Tour de Rock.

Kateryna Bandura 

A local firefighter plans to raise $10,000 for children battling cancer.

Josh Peterson, a lieutenant with CFB Esquimalt Fire Rescue, is one of 21 law enforcement and emergency personnel taking part in the 25th Canadian Cancer Society’s cycling event Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock. The ride runs over two weeks in September, with participants travelling 1,200 kilometers from Port Alice to Esquimalt, raising funds to support pediatric cancer research.

“It is a way to connect with children battling cancer, to help them know they are not alone in their battle – that we care, and so does the community,” he says.

So far Lt Peterson has raised $5,852. He received support from his fire chief, coworkers, and family. Now he is looking for support from the base community.

Lt Peterson’s team trains three days a week. Tuesdays are hill nights, when the team rides at the Observatory in Saanich. Thursdays are speed nights, where they ride all over town, including Ring Road at UVIC. Sundays are the long ride days, during which they work towards 100 kilometres per day. He says they will reach over 130 kilometres a day by the time the Tour kicks off.

All riders are paired up with a junior rider battling cancer. The pairings will be announced soon, and Peterson says he is nervous to meet his honorary rider.

“Their spirit and excitement is what will inspire us to continue riding on the hard days. I look forward to hearing the stories on their battles with cancer. These children will fill us with hope and inspiration,” he says.

The fire hall at 1350 Esquimalt Road has supported the ride for years, with past riders including Chris Day, Alex Marshall, and Matt Arnsdorf. This is Lt Peterson’s first time participating.

“Being part of the Tour is a massive responsibility and takes a commitment some may not understand,” Lt Peterson says. “Would I ride again? I am working hard to ensure I can ride this year first.”

Tour de Rock participants pose during the event’s opening at Tillicum elementary school in Saanich on May 6, 2022.

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