‘Long road ahead’ for Tour de Rock rider after cycling collision

Rick Gaiga calls James Matsuda "a very determined individual."

JAMES MATSUDA is seen with a fellow Tour de Rock rider as the team paused recently in the Comox Valley.

JAMES MATSUDA is seen with a fellow Tour de Rock rider as the team paused recently in the Comox Valley.

Using his recent 1,000-kilometre ride for the Tour de Rock as an example, Rick Gaiga calls James Matsuda “a very determined individual.”Mastuda, a fellow Comox Valley RCMP auxiliary constable, was struck by a car Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Valley View Drive and Lerwick Road in Courtenay, and is recovering at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.Matsuda recently completed the 2011 Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, a 14-day bike journey across Vancouver Island to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.Comox Valley RCMP noted Matsuda was hit as he crossed through the intersection on a green light, as he headed southbound on Lerwick Road. A northbound vehicle on Lerwick Road turned left onto Valley View Drive, into the path of Matsuda.As a former manager of Thrifty Foods in Courtenay, Gaiga worked alongside Matsuda from 2003 until recently, and was also a rider in the Tour de Rock during the 2010 ride.”(James) is dealing with discomfort and he has a long road ahead of him in recovery,” said Gaiga. “He is very focused to get better and is very positive. I am very proud of him.” Gaiga noted Matsuda’s inspiration to complete this year’s ride came from a very personal place.”Cancer has affected a lot of James’ family; cancer alone speaks for itself. Also, our co-worker Christina (Buijs) who lost her battle with the disease,” he added.Gaiga said despite the accident, he is confident Matsuda will succeed in his recovery, and will be cycling again.”He has the drive; he will be back on his bike soon,” he noted.photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com