Nineteen men and woman set out for an incredible journey before the sun was up on Saturday.

The 22nd annual Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock officially kicked off, with the riders embarking on an 1,100-kilometre ride that will continue until Oct. 4.

“We’ve been training for almost six months and today is the day,” said rider Tim Kenning. “Pent-up energy. Ready to start this adventure.”

Riders went through rigorous training to prepare them for the journey, which takes the group from one side of the island to the other while raising money for pediatric cancer research and support programs for children with a history of cancer.

“These riders become a part of your life and they always will be,” said CTV News Vancouver Island's Scott Cunningham, who is also riding this year. “I have Lily who is actually battling cancer right now.”

Lily Lecinana, 10, was diagnosed with stage-four Burkitt lymphoma. Her grandfather Hans Frederiksen said she is going through extensive chemo treatments.

“She remains positive all the time and she always has a smile on her face and still cares about others,” he said.

Premier John Horgan wished the riders good luck as they left on Saturday.

“When your legs start to burn or the ride seems to be just too much for you, remember the junior riders, remember the kids you are doing this for and remember those that went before you and will come after,” said Horgan.

Cunningham said he will be thinking about the junior riders and their journey.

“Hopefully, people will see us riding and they’ll get involved in the cause and donate,” he said.

To support Cunningham’s journey you can donate online here.