PJ VanDyken has participated in the MSU Gran Fondo since the beginning. As a supporter, fundraiser and rider since 2013, he plans on doing the same again on June 23.
He got involved with the ride through Herman Miller, where he has worked as a product support specialist. The West Michigan furniture company is the presenting sponsor for the MSU Gran Fondo.
“Herman Miller has been involved with the MSU Gran Fondo since it started with support and participation touching almost every aspect,” said VanDyken. “There truly is a great cycling culture at Herman Miller and the MSU Gran Fondo is an event our company looks forward to.”
PJ’s favorite part about the event is the time spent after the ride with friends, coworkers and other participants. “This is a great time for storytelling and celebrating, all while sharing that moment in life with others that have the same passion for riding bikes and giving,” said VanDyken.
Through years of riding the MSU Gran Fondo, he has learned how skin cancer has affected some of his Herman Miller family. The team’s commitment continues to grow.
“The year, we want to have our biggest team and raise the most donations yet!”
PJ encourages his coworkers and others to get involved with the event.
“While there are so many ways to contribute to our community, I believe the MSU Gran Fondo is a great way to get outside, ride, volunteer and just have a great time, all while contributing to the continued research for the cure to skin cancer,” said VanDyken. “Not to mention all the fantastic food, drinks and entertainment that participants and volunteers get to enjoy!”
By Dakota Hewlett
Michigan State University graduate student, MSU Cycling Club President
1. Get your friends involved!
This brings us back to that saying we all know, “the more the merrier.” Training by yourself for long periods of time can get boring, so encourage your friends and coworkers to train for, and ride, the MSU Gran Fondo with you. Not only will you enjoy your training a lot more, but you will build stronger bonds with your training buddies as you all work hard to support the cause.
2. Training doesn’t always have to happen on the bike.
Spending all your free time riding the stationary bike indoors is a sure way to burn out and lose motivation in the cold winter months. Spice up your training by doing things like cross-country skiing, running, going to the pool or gym and hiking. Finding other ways to be physically active off the bike will mean your time spent on the indoor trainer will be focused and diligent. Remember to keep your training fun and use your training buddies to keep each other motivated and excited for the Gran Fondo.
3. Set goals.
Set measurable and achievable training goals for yourself. If you able to make a training plan for yourself and see your goals written down you, you then will be motivated to stick to that plan and check off those goals when you accomplish them.
Some example training goals, set your own goals to meet your individual needs:
- I will ride at least ___ hours every week
- I will participate in my local group ride each week
- I will ride three times a week, and lift weights once
4. Think about the big day.
Its June 23rd, 2018, the big day has arrived: Imagine yourself leaving the start line in Grand Rapids, looking ahead and behind all you can see are cyclists up and down the road. You are one of over 1,000 cyclists that put in countless hours of training for this day. Each and every rider has a reason to be here today, and each rider is proud of their accomplishment up to this point. This enormous crowd of people has come together to support a cause they believe in by raising money and training hard for Fondo 6.
Visualizing what it will be like on the big day is a great way to keep yourself motivated, and remind yourself why you spend so much time sweating in the basement on the trainer, or freezing your toes off on those cold training rides. Everyone has their own reasons for riding, and remembering yours is a great way to keep focused.
Good luck out there!