Cyclist Spotlight: Jeffrey Hendricks

george-and-jeff-hendricks-pic.jpgJeffrey Hendricks, MD, is a MSU College of Human Medicine graduate who started Rize Performance, a sports nutrition company. This year, his company is a sponsor of the MSU Gran Fondo and Dr. Hendricks is participating for the first time!

Q: What are looking forward to most at this year’s ride?

Several things! First, I heard the pace is really fast- 26-28 mph on the flats-  I am looking forward to seeing if I can hang on, and if so, for how long!

Secondly, I’m really hoping other docs from MSU College of Human Medicine are riding. I would love to meet and chat with them during and after the ride.

Also, I can’t wait to see family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while (as I currently reside in North Carolina).

Jeffrey Hendricks, MDQ: How are you connected to MSU?

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids and attended MSU College of Human Medicine.  While I attended the rival school Univ of Mich undergrad, my friends from high school attended MSU and I spent many weekends enjoying the tailgating, live music at Small Planet, and other fun stuff in East Lansing.  I have many great memories from campus!  My medical school years were a little more subdued, but I still enjoyed mountain biking around Rose Lake to decompress.

Q: Tell us about your company and how it started.

Rize Performance is a Sports Nutrition company focused on producing research supported, innovative new products for endurance athletics.  It started when I was a triathlete and felt there was a lack of good products available for me to use. I have always been a little obsessive about trying to improve performance. This is partly due to the fact I am not a gifted athlete, but I love to compete. I always need to work a little harder to perform well.

M&M Labs is my sister company which designs custom nutraceutical products for other businesses around the USA and throughout the world. Both companies are the distillation of my personal passions, medical education and experience, and research history. It keeps me pretty busy but honestly, I feel like I am retired and just doing the things that I love. I consider that feeling a gift and appreciate it every day.

Q: Do you have a connection to skin cancer? What is your motivation to get involved with the MSU Gran Fondo?

I would say I have a strong connection to cancer in general. Several direct family members including my sister and father both have bravely, and successfully fought cancer- twice! I watched with humility and admiration as my sister courageously fought off a significant breast cancer. Not only did she fight it and win, she wrote a bill to help women get more aggressively screened if they have dense breast tissue. The bill passed through the house and senate and was recently signed into law in Michigan.  She did this during chemotherapy, which sounds unbelievable, but to those who know her this is not that surprising. She also suffered from a non-melanoma skin cancer and had it successfully removed.  She has stayed strong and active with aggressive nutrition, complementary medicine, and traditional treatments. She is a big advocate for women, women’s health, and cancer prevention.  In my opinion her diagnosis, her recovery, and her activism has become a gift to the cancer community. I truly believe that due to her efforts, many women will now be diagnosed with cancer with plenty of time for a cure.

My father on the other hand, is 76 and has recovered from two different cancers.  He tells me he feels great, and he is an amazing energetic and healthy person. He wonders when he is going to feel like he is 76.  We joke that he gets cancer every once in awhile but other than that is perfectly healthy.

So I have plenty of reasons to be involved both personally and professionally, and I also believe that consistent and intense exercise such as cycling has powerful preventive benefits. I love to ride!

Thanks for joining this year’s MSU Gran Fondo, Dr. Hendricks!

Cyclist Spotlight: PJ VanDyken


PJ VanDyken will ride his sixth MSU Gran Fondo as part of the Herman Miller Team on June 23. Herman Miller is the presenting sponsor of the MSU Gran Fondo.

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.”

Herman Miller Team - Ross Pennington

Brian C. Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Herman Miller (center) rides alongside his employees at the MSU Gran Fondo. Photography by Ross Pennington.

 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!”


MSU Gran Fondo is proud to partner with our presenting sponsor Herman Miller


Team feature: B.O.B.’s Brewery Cycle Team

BobsBreweryCycleTeam 3This year, The B.O.B. is making a bigger commitment to be active in the community with the creation of B.O.B.’s Brewery Cycle team in partnership with Ferris Coffee and Central District Cyclery.

It all started with Brewer John. Everyone knows he loves beer, but little do they know, he has a passion for biking as well. John can usually be found riding trails when he’s not busy brewing beer in the basement of The B.O.B.!

About a year ago John approached Central District Cyclery and Ferris Coffee about partnering to create a team that would use the MSU Gran Fondo as their big yearly ride. A year later that ball continues to keep rolling. All three businesses are working harder than ever to not just create a team for the MSU Gran Fondo, but to also create a healthier community that extends the values of the MSU Gran Fondo long past the ride and into the rest of the year.

B.O.B.’s Brewery, Central District Cyclery and Ferris Coffee are excited to be teaming up with one major goal, to bridge the gap between the existing biking community and the greater Grand Rapids community. It’s no secret that if you like to ride in Grand Rapids you can find multiple rides around the area on almost any day of the week, but what if you’re new? What if you’re not sure what type of bike you’ll need or maybe you’re not comfortable riding the roads, well that’s where the B.O.B.’s Brewery team is working its hardest.

BobsBreweryCycleTeam 1

The team has made the commitment to be a first step for new riders. They are hosting community rides every Thursday night. Anyone and everyone who wants to ride is welcome! The ride starts off at 6 pm with an information session at Central District Cyclery for first time riders. It’s a “no rider left behind” ride which means they’ll be with you the whole way to make sure you’re safe and enjoying the ride at your own pace. The ride ends at B.O.B.’s Brewery and anyone who rides gets Mug Club benefits for the night.

BobsBreweryCycleTeam 2

Stay tuned, the B.O.B.’s Brewery cycle team will be hosting a bike clinic at Ferris Coffee featuring bike assessments with Central District Cyclery and a short community ride to The B.O.B. for lunch. More details will be posted here.


B.O.B.’s Brewery, Central District Cyclery and Ferris Coffee are so excited about their team that they even put together a package of perks that include a lifetime B.O.B’s Brewery Mug Club membership, Brew Crew benefits from Ferris Coffee, and discounts on labor at Central District Cyclery for anyone who signs up for the MSU Gran Fondo and joins the B.O.B.’s Brewery Cycle team. Sign up here.

The team is excited to make the MSU Gran Fondo their first big event to start a bigger commitment for a healthier Grand Rapids!