Three reasons to ride

By Mark Morris, cyclist, teacher and MSU alumnus

It’s 5° outside my home in SW Ohio. So I trudge to the basement, fire up my favorite Peleton instructor on my iPad, jump on the spinning bike, and begin a 45-minute workout. While I don’t like indoor cycling, these winter workouts have become an essential part of my love of cycling. The workouts also provide me with the gift of uninterrupted time when I can think. This morning I had time to think about why I ride in the MSU Gran Fondo every June (three of the first five so far and registered for Fondo 6). I think there are three basic, but not necessarily simple, reasons.

mhm-2016First, cycling is a form of psychotherapy for me. Despite my fondness for expensive carbon bikes and all the fun accoutrements that go with cycling (like my closet full of cycling jerseys), I tell my wife that I am saving us money that otherwise would have to go to a therapist. Cycling provides me with the time and space needed to unwind, decompress, and clear my mind as I roll mile after mile. As an introvert who stands before a classroom of college students every day, I really need this time away from the crowds. I have found this to be a shared commonality with other cyclists as well. As a rider in the Gran Fondo, I am as comfortable chatting with riders around me as I am simply turning my pedals in silence. That means you are welcome to ride with one of the many teams or as a solo rider as I do.

Second, I enjoy challenges. Sixteen years ago I signed up for a 525-mile bike ride across the state of Montana and didn’t even own a bike. All these years and two bikes later, I have now ridden over 11,000 miles. Cycling has taken me to places like Montana (where we rode up and over the continental divide), to France (to watch the Tour de France and ride up Alpe d’Huez…twice), to Italy (to watch the Giro d’Italia), and of course Grand Rapids. As a rider who loves climbing, the only downside to Grand Rapids is there are no upsides. I like mountains and there are none of those on the Gran Fondo route. That makes it great for riders of all sizes, shapes, and ages. I choose the 80-mile route, but there are also 40- and 25- and 12-mile routes if you prefer a shorter distance. Select your personal challenge and go for it.

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Lastly, I have a deep sense of indebtedness to and fondness for Michigan State University. As a 1983 graduate, I owe much to my 4+ years at MSU. I entered MSU as an insecure, under-motivated, and very uncertain young man. I left with a great education, a slew of great memories, and my wife-to-be. Since graduating, I have had two careers and now hold two advanced degrees. It all started for me at MSU. So I ride to say thanks to my alma mater. Riding in the Gran Fondo is also about raising funds to support the College of Human Medicine and skin cancer research. Please do what you can to raise these vitally important funds.

Riding a bike, wearing green and white, and supporting an important cause…that’s a pretty good day in my book. No matter why you ride, I encourage you to join us on June 23 and go Green!

Bruce Huseby: Why I Ride

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By Bruce Huseby, MSU Gran Fondo participant

We sat in the surgeon’s office as my wife Debbie was told that her malignant melanoma was in one of the worst spots possible.  It had grown right over a major cluster of lymph nodes.  Surgery was required and as he looked into our faces he said, “if the cancer is in the lymph nodes you need to start putting you house in order because there is no cure.” We left the surgeons office after that very forthright meeting and Debbie gleefully starts chanting, “I’m going to heaven before you are.” I was not really too amused because her Dad, my father in law, Del passed away as a result of melanoma earlier that year.

How filled with gratitude we were that Debbie went to a Doctor to get a simple prescription filled and an observant nurse noticed her spot and said the Doctor needed to see it.  Because of that early detection and a successful surgery with clean borders, Debbie is cancer free.

At the same time one of my dearest friends contracted melanoma on his heel of all places.  It took his life.  As a Pastor I deal with disease and illness all the time and cancer is always a present enemy.  The amount of skin cancer has affected so many of our families and so many lives.  How thankful I am that we have skilled researchers that use their talents and skills to seek better treatment and ultimately a cure.  Thanks for doing your part in supporting the work of MSU’s College of Human Medicine and the 2017 GRAN FONDO.

What you need to know before June 24.

The MSU Gran Fondo is just days away! Here’s what you need to know before the big ride on June 24.

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REGISTRATION

Want to join the #4 ranked gran fondo in the nation? Online registration closed on June 20, but your last chance to register is at Packet Pick Up, Friday, June 23 at noon to 7 PM at The B.O.B. Late registration is $120. There is no day-of registration.

PACKET PICK UP

This year’s Packet Pick Up will be on the lower level of The B.O.B. on Friday, June 23 at 12 – 7 PM and the Saturday at 6- 8 AM on the first floor of The B.O.B.

Requests to switch participant shirt size can be made by visiting the Solutions Table. Sizes are limited, but we will do our best to accommodate as quantities are available.

Offline donations can be submitted at Packet Pick Up using this form.

COURSES

Reference the latest course maps available below to learn your route. Please note, some routes have changed!

80-Mile Course  |  40-Mile Course  |  25-Mile Course  |  10-Mile Family Ride

Note: There will be heavy traffic near Millennium Park in Walker and 16th Avenue in Marne due to other events. Please ride with caution and do not cross the center line on the road.

If you want to change your route, please visit the Solutions Table at Packet Pick Up on Friday or Saturday.

RULES OF THE ROAD

All MSU Gran Fondo routes are open to two-way motorized traffic. All cyclists must obey traffic laws at all times. READ THE COMPLETE RULES OF THE ROAD.

The 40 and 80-mile courses are open from 8 AM to 2 PM. The 10-mile Family Ride and 25-mile course are open from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Timing, SAG wagon and police support ends at 2 PM.

In the case of severe weather, the course will be shut down for 1 hour. If conditions do not improve, the ride will be cancelled.

FINISH LINE FESTIVAL

Enjoy a number of gourmet entrees, snacks and beverages provided by Gilmore Catering! Live music by Oregon Dreamchild. Secure bike parking is available courtesy of Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition. The festival is open until 5 PM.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We still need more volunteers! If you have family or friends who aren’t riding, invite them to volunteer! They’ll get to support our riders and the fight against skin cancer while still enjoying the festivities! LEARN MORE