Tour of the Peace perseveres despite cold, rainy weather

The night before the Tour of the Peace was set to take place, organizer Dan Webster held a meeting with the participants to see if they wanted to continue with the ride despite the 40mm of rain forecasted.

“We picked pretty much the worst day you could imagine, but you can’t delay these things or they end up not happening. The diabetics we’re fundraising for can’t turn their diabetes off when they don’t like the weather, so we carried forward and persevered,” Webster said.

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The final number of money raised on Sept. 8 wasn’t known as of Monday morning, but Webster is expecting it to be between $17,000 to $18,000, more than the $15,000 raised in 2017, but short of the goal they’re working towards.

The weather was as advertised, but 18 of the 19 bike riders who committed showed up for the ride, which left from Peace Island Park at 8 a.m. Webster said the worst of the conditions were from Taylor to Mile 54, where riders dealt with pouring rain, the wind in their face, and a temperature of four degrees.

From then on, the rain slowly let up, pretty much stopping by the end of the ride in Hudson’s Hope.

“We were so wet by that point it was hard to tell if it was still raining or not,” said Webster.

Overall, the Tour of the Peace carried on with no injuries or major problems. Webster decided to cancel the Williston Arm portion of the ride, shortening the length from 150km to 122. The 18 walkers and runners in Hudson’s Hope carried on as planned.

When the bikers made it to the Peace Valley Viewpoint, Webster said they were worried about their plans to hold an outdoor barbecue at Dinosaur Lake. They called the Hudson’s Hope Fellowship Church to see if they would open their doors, and the church was gracious enough to host them last minute. Sixty-five people showed up for the barbecue.

“We’re so grateful to them for helping us out like they did,” Webster said.

In all, Webster and his wife Joanna were pleased with everyone who participated and volunteered despite the setbacks.

“One of the best things about the Tour of the Peace is the tight-knit diabetic community and the spirit on display when they come together. They know the hardship. Northerners are tough, and I was surprised at the amount of smiles I saw throughout the day,” said Webster.

Webster said he is still accepting donations towards Type 1 Diabetes research, and people can donate through the link on the Tour of the Peace Facebook page.

Plans are already underway for the 2019 tour. Possible changes include the run and walk portions taking place in Fort St. John instead of Hudson’s Hope.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

© Copyright 2018 Alaska Highway News

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