Lake Country RCMP sergeant Jayson Lucash and his wife are both used to epic bike rides as well as testing their endurance.
The couple have both completed an Ironman event, with Lucash completing his first Ironman in 2014 in Whistler and his wife Heather Swetnam, also an RCMP member—completing no less than four Ironman events.
But come Friday they will both be tackling an endurance event with a difference as members of this year’s Cops for Kids cycling team, a group of 28 emergency personnel that departs Friday on a 10-day, 1,000 kilometre bike trip through the southern part of the province.
Lucash and Swetnam will rely on their training and their past experience with Ironman and with GranFondo bike rides as they kick off. It will be the first Cops for Kids ride for both RCMP members.
“It will be cool,” said Lucash, a sergeant in the Lake Country RCMP detachment. “It’s going to be great to get into the communities in more of a positive light than what we are doing while we are working.”
Lucash has been living in Lake Country for the past 10 years and has been sergeant of the Lake Country detachment the past three years while his wife Heather is a plain clothes detective working in the Central Okanagan region. The pair have been training for the ride with distance rides through the summer. Lucash says the biggest challenge may be starting and stopping at the different events in cities and towns along the way. But he’s ready for the challenge and he’s happy to be raising money that will stay in the community.
“I’ve lived here for 10 years and during that time I’ve developed contacts in the community so it’s nice to get the chance to raise money that will stay right here,” said Lucash, 44.
A total of 28 bicycle riders and seven support people from the RCMP and supporting enforcement agencies across the RCMP’s South East District are taking part in the 15th annual Cops for Kids Ride.
The 2016 ride will take the team across the south-east corner of B.C. to raise awareness and essential funds for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.
During the 10-day fundraising cycle, riders will pass through 18 different communities and they will face challenging terrain and possible inclement weather conditions along the way. It starts and ends in Kelowna.
The route includes the ascent and decent of two mountains passes—the Anarchist Mountain near Osoyoos and the Paulson summit on the way to Castlegar. Lucash feels his training and experience with group cycle rides, where riders support and cycle as a team, will help.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said with a grin. “I am a little worried about starting and stopping. But I’m used to pack-riding where you can draft. The biggest thing is the weather.”
Organizers say the challenges of the ride remind each rider of the challenges that some children—the group’s Little Ambassadors—face on a daily basis. Along their route, the riders will be greeted by local dignitaries and the Little Ambassadors who receive funding from the annual ride.
For president Gail Harrison, it’s those little faces that serve as a reminder of why we must all work together to fill the gap for funding needs.
“We’re seeing families in tough situations when tragedy strikes their family,” said Harrison. “A family can’t plan for a crisis, so it’s important that Cops for Kids can be there financially when they need us most.”
The Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation provides limited, short-term financial assistance for children in need and their families.
All applications are reviewed for eligibility by the Cops for Kids Grants Committee which meets once a month to review all applications that have been received.
Donations can be made online at copsforkids.org.