A couple of months into training, this year’s local Tour de Rock rider is still getting used to the spandex.
“I never thought cycling would be fun, but I’m slowly starting to like it,” said Gord Burton with a laugh.
Burton, a military police officer at CFB Comox, moved to the Valley a year ago and was eager to take part in the ride, having always followed the Tour de Valley on the mainland, where he’s originally from.
With the Tour raising money for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes, Burton thought it would be the perfect way to give back to the community, so he put his name forward.
“Everyone’s affected by cancer in one form or another. Myself, I have lost family members and I’ve had friends who have had cancer,” he said. “And as a father, I have two children… so looking at parents who are dealing with their children fighting this terrible disease, it kind of hits you in the feels.”
Burton has three junior riders, each going through their own journeys with cancer, who will join him as the ride comes through the Valley in September. He is looking forward to meeting them.
“I’m told that cycling’s the easy part,” he said, adding that the children who are living with cancer are the true inspirations.
The team’s visit to Camp Goodtimes is still to come, but Burton says just watching videos from the camp and hearing the stories of children who attend were enough to make the team tear up.
Burton joined the military as a reservist in 2010, and in 2017, he made the decision to quit his full-time job as a court bailiff to pursue a career as a military police officer.
“I’ve always liked the law enforcement career path,” he said. “I liked the military and I liked policing so combine the two and you get military police.”
While police officers usually interact with people who aren’t having a good day, Burton is looking forward to taking part in the ride and making a positive difference in the lives of many.
For the past couple of months, Burton has been training with other riders from the northern half of the Island, to prepare for the 1,000 km ride in September. He is most concerned about the dreaded training day up to the top of Mount Washington.
“We’ve bonded quickly and there’s a sense of camaraderie,” he said. “The pressure of riding, it’s subdued by the fact that you’re going to hang out with these people, you’re all going to share the same cause, the same drive for this tour.”
Burton’s personal goal is to raise $10,000, and anything above that is just “icing on the cake.”