Const. Elyse Patten (left) waves to a crowd of Belmont secondary students as the Tour de Rock riders pull into the high school for a lunchtime pit stop on Wednesday.

Slideshow: Tour de Rock riders receive warm West Shore welcome

Tour de Rock cyclists were greeted by Belmont students and members of the West Shore community on Wednesday.

Belmont secondary was abuzz on Wednesday morning as the team of Tour de Rock riders traversed the Malahat and made their way to the high school for a well-deserved pit stop.

Students in the leadership class at Belmont helped set up for the lunch, while members of the Langford Fire Department were on hand to cook burgers and hot dogs.

“I’m pretty excited to welcome them here.  I think it’s pretty cool that we’re an official lunch stop,” said Grade 9 leadership student Madison Dugray minutes before the riders arrived.

“It’s always a big deal to be a part of something as great as this and we’re really glad that we’re able to participate,” said Belmont principal Ray Miller.

The event was also an opportunity for West Shore RCMP members to welcome Const. Elyse Patten back to the community.

“It’s a super hard thing even just to sign the piece of paper saying that you want to join, knowing that it takes so much time away from your personal life, your family and a lot of time away from work … we’re happy that she did it,” said Const. Jon McKinney.

Police sirens signaled the arrival of the morning’s honoured guests as the team of 17 riders climbed up Langford Lake Road to the sound of cheers from a sizeable crowd of Belmont secondary students.

“I got a wonderful welcome from all of the schools heading along Goldstream … and then coming up here and my family’s here and both my junior riders. It’s overwhelming,” said Patten.

The support means a lot for the riders, Patten said, adding that the cheers from the students and her junior riders helped heal the pain in her legs, a symptom of a long, difficult ride.

The team of cyclists began their two-week, 1,000 kilometre journey on Sept. 24 in Port Alice and had reached the homestretch of their trip by the time they stopped at Belmont.

This year’s Tour de Rock wraps up today (Oct. 7) with a ride through Saanich, Esquimalt and Victoria.

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