Jamie Lund couldn’t sleep.
For days leading up to the event, the Victoria firefighter tossed and turned, suffering through his excitement for the competition to come.
Then, late Thursday, he boarded a plane and flew across the continent to New York City, where he is competing in the World Police and Fire Games.
“I’m like a little kid,” Lund said Thursday afternoon, before his 8 p.m. flight. “Just the anxiety of going there, I’m excited to go and compete.”
Lund joined eight other Victoria firefighters, plus three from Esquimalt, two from Saanich and three others from Ontario, to form a hockey team competing throughout the games, which started Friday and finishes Sept. 5.
That sleeplessness isn’t shared by VicPD Const. John Musicco.
A former pro mountain biker, who rode in the North American Off Road Bicycle Association tour and won the B.C. provincial title three straight years in the 1990s, Musicco isn’t fazed by the anticipation leading up to the competition.
“I’ve been racing so long now that I enjoy the competition,” he said. “I’m just doing what I can do to place. I’m more eager than anything just to get the race underway – it’s been so long now, all year, building up to this.”
Despite being a police officer in Victoria for seven years, Musicco hasn’t stopped riding. Though mountain biking has transitioned from career to passtime, he still finds plenty of time to ride on his days off.
He’ll compete in three genres: downhill, cross-country and the dual/giant slalom in Vernon, NJ, also as part of the games. Two other VicPD officers will compete in the cross-country genres.
A huge number of police officers and firefighters compete in the games, which happen every two years – up to 15,000 this year in 65 events. This year’s contingent includes 17 VicPD officers, nine Victoria firefighters and three from Esquimalt.
The competitors pay their own way to the games or hold fundraisers to ease the cost.
“It’s just a good opportunity for people,” Musicco said. “It just goes to show the calibre of guys working for our department. These guys are flying across the (continent) to compete.”
And while the competition is fierce, the social aspect of the games is one of the biggest draws, said Lund, who competed in beach volleyball in the 2009 games in Vancouver.
“That’s a big part of the games, too, is sort of the comeraderie. You definitely meet a lot of people from around the world.”
This year’s games’ most important event is the opening ceremonies – a memorial to the police, firefighters and paramedics who died on duty in the wake of 9-11, as the event nearly coincides with the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
“We’re definitely going to opening ceremonies,” Lund said. “It’ll be pretty emotional. It’s a big moment to be part of that for the 10-year memoriam to 9-11. Just being a part of the city for that–”