Cyclist Spotlight: Andy Benes

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For Andy Benes, cycling is a family affair. Saturday mornings are typically spent riding with his daughter and son from their home in Jenison, through Millenium Park, to the Blue Bridge downtown and over the river.

He got involved with the ride through Priority Health, where he works as a Medical Economics leader. The health insurance provider is a premier sponsor for the MSU Gran Fondo and has been involved since the ride began. Andy is captain of one of Priority Health’s two MSU Gran Fondo teams.

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During his first two Gran Fondos, Andy rode solo. Now his fifteen year old daughter Katelyn rides the Fondo, with this year’s event being her third time on the 40-mile route. This year, they hope to improve their time by 30 minutes and increase their fundraising, as well. The Benes family enjoys the event so much they schedule their vacations around the ride.

The MSU Gran Fondo’s mission is personal for Andy. He rides in memory of his friend Jerry, who died of skin cancer in February 2016.

“We developed a friendship while working together at Priority Health,” said Benes. After his retirement, Jerry was diagnosed with skin cancer. “His treatment was long and difficult, with complications along the way.”

Every year during the MSU Gran Fondo, Andy reconnects with Jerry’s family. He also reaches out to family and friends, asking for their support in the fight against skin cancer. To date, Andy has raised more than $7,500 for MSU’s skin cancer awareness, prevention and research. Click here to support his fundraising for 2018.

On June 23, Andy will ride the MSU Gran Fondo for a fifth time in honor of Jerry.

 

Flash sale! (Expired)

Offer expired May 29, 2017

Special savings and prizes

We’ve got special incentives to celebrate our fifth annual ride on June 24!

SAVE ON REGISTRATION

Save $10 on registration if you register before 11:59 PM on Monday, May 29.
>> Register now, use promo code: FlashSale

WIN PRIZES

If you register before 11:59 PM on May 29, you could win a pair of Oakley sunglasses or one of 50 MSU Gran Fondo branded Merrell jackets. You’ll get another chance to win for every $50 you raise for skin cancer awareness, prevention and research.

Winners will be notified by email after May 29.

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MSU Gran Fondo branded Merrell spring jackets (50 available). Donated by Wolverine Worldwide.

Oakleys

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road Uranium Collection sunglasses (1 pair available). Donated by Oakley.

DON’T FORGET

Check out the 2017 Fundraising Incentives to see how you can earn other prizes like a 64 oz growler, commemorative jersey and more! Plus, if you reach the $500 fundraising mark, you’ll get an invite to our exclusive VIP Party with special guest George Hincapie on June 23.

Two top cyclists join the MSU Gran Fondo festivities in 2017!

We’re excited to welcome two big names in cycling at this year’s festivities: Brent Bookwalter and George Hincapie! Want to meet these cycling legends? Here’s how.

KICKOFF PARTY | May 23

Cycling: Team BMC Racing Team  2017

Brent Bookwalter’s appearance is sponsored by Advantage Benefits Group. Photo: Tim De Waele/TDWSport.com

Brent will be our special guest at the Kickoff Party on May 23. MSU Gran Fondo participants that reach the $50 fundraising mark by May 19 will get an invite to attend. You and a guest can join us for dinner and hear Brent’s tales from the Olympics, Tour de France and more. RSVP required by Friday, May 19.

> KICKOFF PARTY DETAILS

Cycling: Team BMC Racing Team  2017

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDWSport.com

Brent Bookwalter is a pro cyclist for the BMC Pro Team and co-founder of the Bookwalter Binge. He recently rode in the 2016 Rio Olympics and was part of the winning Tour de France team in 2011. He’s also a Michigan native, who got his start on the pro circuit with the Advantage Benefits Endeavour Cycling Team. He’ll be fresh off the Tour of California when he visits Grand Rapids.

VIP PARTY | June 23

Sponsored by LogoSpot

George Huxley

George’s visit is sponsored by Bissell and Advantage Benefits Group. The VIP Party is sponsored by LogoSpot.

You can ride with a legend! George will be joining the 80-mile riders at the MSU Gran Fondo on June 24. If you want a chance to mix and mingle with George, join us at the VIP Party on June 23, the eve of the big ride. This exclusive opportunity sponsored by LogoSpot is a reward for any participant who reaches the $500 fundraising mark by June 19. You and a guest will be invited to enjoy dinner, drinks and get your photo taken with George! Invites will be emailed to qualifying participants during the week of May 22.

> VIP PARTY DETAILS

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George Hincapie is one of the most recognized riders in the world. During his 19-year professional career Hincapie was regarded as the premier American classics rider of his generation. He competed in a record 17 Ronde van Vlaanderen races and finished second at the grueling Paris-Roubaix, the best ever for any American. Beyond the classics he rode in the Tour de France 17 times and won three US National Road Race championships.

Since retiring from professional cycling George has taken a more active role in family business interests including Hincapie Sportswear, the professional Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, Gran Fondo Hincapie and Hotel Domestique. He hopes to further share his knowledge about the sport with cycling’s future generations.

Questions? Contact us