Biking to find a cure | ParkRecord.com

Biking to find a cure

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

If Park City’s numbers are any indication, a slumping economy has done little to slow the momentum of Bike MS.

Four Park City teams and one Heber City team will participate in Utah’s leg in one of the largest organized cycling events in the U.S. on June 26-27 at the Cache County Fairgrounds. Dubbed "Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride," the journey takes cyclists over 175 miles in just two days and is one of 100 unique events across the country.

"I participate in this ride to be part of something meaningful," said Rachelle Heineken, team captain for a Canyons Resort team that has grown from four or five riders at its inception six years ago to 36 strong – one of the largest of 150 registered. After once struggling to collect the team minimum, they hope to raise about $10,000 for 2010.

Anybody can join the Canyons team – employee, skier, or neither – but there are plenty of other local affiliates in the 24th year of the fast-growing event.

Greg and Laurel Spencer lead the FLH Team in an effort to raise money for Laurel’s personal fight with the disorder. Team Kirstin rides for Pearl Izumi owner Kirstin Luff, and David Bernstein’s FredCast Team rides for his wife, Donna. In Heber City, the fast-growing Fitstop Team – it went up from eight members to 25 last year – honors the Bluth Family.

Bike MS benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), which promotes research, education, and advocating on behalf of MS sufferers. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease with a wide range of symptoms.

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"Simply riding is the easy part, but by choosing to be part of this entire process, I am making a profound difference in the life of someone living with MS," Heineken said. "Knowing that is definitely a motivator for me on days when I feel like being lazy. I ride because I can."

The Canyons team is hosting a series of fundraisers, beginning with a booth at the Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, June 2, in Canyons’ Cabriolet parking lot. Repeating every Wednesday in June, they will sell lemonade and a variety of baked goods, with all profits going toward the fundraising goal.

On Saturday, June 5, team members will put on a garage sale at 1747 Walker Court (behind the Blue Roof gas station in Silver Springs, right off Silver Springs Drive).

Finally, the team will meet at Molly Blooms on June 10 for a silent auction, with prizes including Dynastar skis, spa gift certificates and various season passes. Cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, and more information can be sought by e-mailing szavadil@thecanyons.com.

NMSS Utah Chapter Director of Fundraising Becky Woolley said the event has 2,600 registered participants and is on track for its goal of 3,000, which it has reached the last three years. Woolley said Bike MS has gained cachet in recent years, and more than 75 percent of participants return. Overall, Bike MS is responsible for more than two thirds of the Utah Chapter’s yearly fundraising effort.

"This is kind of the bread-and-butter event for our organization," Woolley said.

For more information on how to donate or register, visit: main.nationalmssociety.org.

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