GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 1,600 participants will bike through scenic West Michigan on Saturday for the 5th annual Michigan State University Gran Fondo.
The noncompetitive cycling event benefits MSU College of Human Medicine’s skin cancer awareness, prevention and research. It has drawn cyclists of all ages from 13 states — some as far as Florida, Arizona and Massachusetts — and even Spain. The headliner this year is George Hincapie.
Italian for “Big Ride,” cyclists of all skill levels will ride 10, 25, 40 or 80 miles. Some participants are avid cyclists with a passion for these types of “mass-start” events, while others are riding to honor a loved one — or their own — battle with skin cancer.
All routes start and finish in downtown Grand Rapids with the longest route’s halfway point at Lake Michigan in Grand Haven. Along the way, Gilmore Catering will host superfood stops with Michigan-sourced food. All riders return to the heart of downtown Grand Rapids for the Finish Line Festival, an outdoor after-party with a grand feast and live music.
The event is ranked the No. 4 Grand Fondo in the nation by Gran Fondo Guide.
In its four years, the MSU Gran Fondo has raised more than $640,000 and funded several promising skin cancer studies, including research on a new drug that stops the spread of melanoma by 90 percent.