Cpl. Gord Burton has lived in the Comox Valley for less than two years, but he’s happy to represent it for the upcoming Tour de Rock starting next month.
The chance to take part in the Cops for Cancer fundraiser, which sees law enforcement members take part in a group ride down the length of Vancouver Island, is a way to give back to the community. He says he has had family members and friends with cancer, so taking part was an easy choice.
“Basically, every rider that does it, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he says. “It’s something I always wanted to do. The opportunity was there, so I took it.”
The ride will take place over two weeks this fall. It will cover about 1,000 kilometres and run through more than 25 communities, starting in Port Alice on Sept. 21 and ending in the Victoria area on Oct. 4. The ride will come to Courtenay and Comox on Sept. 25 and Cumberland the following day.
Burton is one of two riders from the North Island taking part this year. He has been training for the ride but admits the scale of it is larger than what he is used to.
“I did a little cycling when I was younger,” he says, adding, “not really to this scale.”
Practices consisted of riding once a week in March, then training was stepped up to three times a week as of April. He is not sure what to expect from the terrain, as he is not originally from Vancouver Island, but he expects the occasional climb on the route.
“There’s going to be some hills,” he says.
In July, the Tour de Rock team did some training at Mt. Washington for riders to get used to uphill rides.
“That’s the biggest hill I’m ever going to ride up,” he says.
Burton works as military police after having joined the military, first being posted as a reserve.
“We’re soldiers first,” he says.
He did his training at CFB Borden in Ontario. He says MPs are trained the same as civilian police but it is also geared toward military service.
“We actually handle military law as well,” he says.
He is originally from the Fraser Valley. He became a full-time MP in 2017 and has been stationed at CFB Comox for the last year-and-a-half, and he and his family were thrilled to come here.
“I love it, I’m a B.C. boy,” he says.
Burton is currently raising funds for the ride. So far, tentative events planned include getting pepper-sprayed, even a leg-waxing fundraiser.
“Apparently, it’s a Tour de Rock thing to do,” he laughs.
The Tour de Rock has raised more than $25 million for pediatric cancer research since it started in 1998. Burton is hoping to raise $10,000. For more information about Burton or to donate, see https://www.tourderock.ca/dt_team/burton/