Seventeen cyclists made their way through the nearby parking lot, headed toward the fallen officer memorial in the Westminster Police Department courtyard. There they stood in a moment of silence, in honor of fallen officers.
It marked the end of the 630-mile ride that began May 20 in Sacramento at the California State Capitol and ended at the WPD on May 23.
“It just gets better and better every year,” said WPD Sgt. Bill Drinnin, the ride coordinator.
The annual, inter-agency event was started by Orange County Sheriff’s Department retired Deputy Ron Dunlap in 2001 to raise funds for Project 999 Foundation, which supports Orange County officers injured or killed in the line of duty.
In 2012, Drinnin rebooted the event, adding Code 3 Cycling to the cause. Code 3 is the WPD’s memorial foundation supporting fallen and injured officers and their families both locally and across the country.
Dunlap, who passed away shortly after last year’s ride from cancer, was big in the riders’ thoughts this year, according to Drinnin. He said he and WPD Sgt. Kevin MacCormick, who handles ride logistics, wore two of Dunlap’s favorite cycling jerseys in his memory that were given to them by Dunlap’s wife.
A post in Code 3 Cycling’s Facebook page shows the two of them wearing the pink jerseys, along with the comment:
“Group 2 day 2. Riding for Ron Dunlap today. The pink jerseys actually belonged to him and were his favorite. We love and miss you brother. We wish you were joining us but we will be thinking of you.”
Made up of five riders from the WPD and 12 from the OCSD, they split up in three groups that cover the 630 miles over the four days. Though the riders didn’t encounter the high heat from last year, they did have to contend with headwinds.
“It’s always a challenge,” said MacCormick, adding that though the weather was perfectly overcast, the 67-miles-per-hour headwinds on the first day were tough while fighting the hills.
But they got through it as they always do and are already planning for next year.
“We’ve all been riding together for many years,” said MacCormick. “This is a good group of folks and they’re all out there for the right reasons. … It’s all for raising money for a great cause.”
Drinnin said the WPD raised $10,000 this year for the Code 3 Cycling foundation. Money is raised through fundraisers, including one at the Beatbike indoor cycling fitness studio in Huntington Beach, which raised $1,300 from the studio’s donation from one morning’s class fees.
Recently, funds were donated to an Irvine Police Department retired sergeant who was nearly killed in a bicycling accident.
“We’ve sent money all over the country,” Drinnin said.