When the Tour de Rock cycling team leaves Nanaimo and heads south to Ladysmith, four Nanaimo firefighters will be joining them – not by bicycle, but by rail.

The firefighters will be using a pump car from the early 1900s to pump the 23 kilometres by rail to Ladysmith to see who will get their first.

"We’ve got a pretty stellar team, four of our fittest guys on it," said Jake Williams of Nanaimo Fire Rescue. “I think we will do alright.”

“They’ve got no chance at all,” said Tour de Rock guest rider Simon Douthwaits.

The challenge was initiated by the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), which manages the former E&N rail corrido on Vancouver Island, as a way to raise money for this year's tour.

Tour de Rock is an annual fundraiser by the Canadian Cancer Society that funds pediatric cancer research and support for families.

“This about these kids, this is about raising money so these kids can go to camp,” said ICF CEO Larry Stevenson.

The ICF is hosting a fundraiser at the Nanaimo train station on Sunday, Sept. 29 and will be a free family event.

The race between the firefighters and Tour de Rock be the following morning as the team continues to ride south.