It’s a weekend we look forward to for months. For the fourth year, we’ve gone all-in to support the mission of cancer prevention and the work of LessCancer.org. The annual Less Cancer Ride is an opportunity to give back, raise awareness, and explore mile after mile of new roads, new trails, and new experiences.
In years past, the event took two days to make the huge trek north from Flint to Traverse City. This year, Less Cancer changed things up to host the more riders on Sunday, but that didn’t mean we had Saturday off. Keen mobilized a dozen riders to pedal the 150 miles from Midland to East Bay Park in TC. A big day, to be sure, but well worth the effort for a cause that demands action.
Our friends at Traverse City Wine and Beer Tours greeted us at the crack of 5 am to shuttle our riders down south. Up.bike was back, hooking us up with their famous Adventure Hub to make easy work of getting all our bikes and gear down to the start. The sun was only just peeking over East Bay as we rolled out, and we were lucky to have perfect conditions; a cool sixty degrees at the start gradually riding to eighty-five just as we finished up. That, paired with a generous southwest tailwind all day, made every mile that much more enjoyable.
Starting from Emerson Park, we hopped on the Pere Marquette Trail, which we were able to take for nearly one hundred miles north. The trail was a blast to ride, keeping us away from traffic and keeping to a nice, quick clip. We ended up averaging over twenty-two miles per hour, with everyone taking a few pulls at the front to keep the pace moving.
We did have three pit stops thanks to our team of volunteers. Each time, we hopped off bikes and were greeted with generous plates, platters, and piles of food, water bottle refills, and plenty of spirited encouragement. The final stop, just ninety minutes from home, was a real life-saver!
The reward at the end was plenty motivating, too. Aaron Powers and Greg Zenn were hard at work for much of the afternoon, putting the final touches on a paella dish to feed sixty! Just as our riders made it into Traverse City and East Bay Park, they were just wrapping up the finishing touches on a real feast. Friends, family, and guests of the ride ate their fill, joining some hungry riders and talking about the ride Sunday, too!
Sunday’s ride was open to everyone, and we were really excited to see the event grow. Groups of riders took on routes ranging from fifteen miles to one hundred, with rest stops and support vehicles ranging all of Leelanau County. Those volunteers keep nearly one hundred riders rolling, and we were especially thankful for Nick, Keith and the whole crew at Suttons Bay Bikes for giving our riders one last stop on their way back to Cowell Family Cancer Center.
Now in its thirty-second year, the Cancer Prevention and Survivor’s Picnic serves as the perfect way to end a weekend of riding for the cause. The Cowell Family and Munson Medical Center have been strong and vocal supporters of cancer prevention and have always made our event and mission feel at home at their picnic. It gave us a wonderful chance to connect with riders, with volunteers, and survivors to talk about the work we’ve done, and to recognize that we have so much more to do.
The ride might be done for 2019, but the mission never stops. You can support LessCancer.org and show your appreciation for the hard miles and hard work put in over this past weekend by donating, and by keeping up with all-things LessCancer.
From everyone at Keen Technical Solutions, LessCancer, and the Less Cancer Ride, thank YOU for another weekend of pedaling the path to prevention, and we’ll be back at it in 2020!