The fifth annual Michigan State University Gran Fondo is taking place Saturday, June 24 -- and more than 1,700 cyclists plan on participating.
The Gran Fondo, Italian for "Big Ride," is a noncompetitive cycling event put on the MSU's College of Human Medicine in support of MSU's skin cancer awareness, prevention and research programs.
This year, cycling legend George Hincapie will be riding in the 80-mile route -- which is only one of four different routes riders can partake in. There is also a 10-mile family ride, 25, and 40-mile options.
The event starts and finished at the B.O.B. downtown Grand Rapids and spans all across West Michigan -- the shortest loop turns at Millennium Park and the longest route takes cyclists to Lake Michigan, turning at Grand Haven. Throughout all the routes there were will catered Superfood Stops, where Michigan-sourced food will be available to refuel.
According to organizers, in its first four years the MSU Gran Fondo has raised more than $640,000 and funded several skin cancer research studies, including research on a new drug that stops the spread of melanoma by 90-percent.
This year alone, the event has raised $117,000 and although the MSU Gran Fondo will be over today -- participants will have until July 10 to continue raising money.
Once all the cyclists return downtown, there will be celebration at the finish line. The Finish Line Festival, located on Fulton Street between Ottawa and Monroe avenues, will include food, drinks and live music. It will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
For more information about the MSU Gran Fondo and how you can donate, visit www.msugranfondo.com.
PHOTOS: 5th annual MSU Gran Fondo downtown Grand Rapids
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