Gran Fondo set for seventh edition next weekend

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WALLA WALLA -- The seventh annual Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center Gran Fondo -- the "Great Ride" -- will take place Sept. 24.

All events except for the horse ride begin at Walla Walla Community College's Dietrich Dome, 500 Tausick Way.

The Gran Fondo, which raises funds to benefit local cancer sufferers, offers wine tasting, cycling, walking, horseback riding and a 135-mile motorcycle tour.

Entry fees will be half-price for cancer survivors as well people who are still in treatment.

All proceeds go to the Providence St. Mary Special Needs Fund, which helps low-income cancer patients from the Walla Walla Valley with a wide range of needs that insurance and Medicare may not pay for.

The event includes:

Motorcycle tour

A 135-mile motorcycle tour through the foothills of Eastern Washington. Registration is at 8 a.m. and ride starts at 8:30 a.m.

Cycling events

"The Crush," a 22-mile ride through wine country with optional stops at wineries. Registration is 8 a.m. and the group departs at 9 a.m.

"Midi Crush Ride," a 35-mile ride looping through wine and wheat country. Registration is 7:30 a.m. and riders depart at 8:30 a.m.

"Gran Fondo," a 60-mile ride through farmland, orchards and vineyards. Registration is 7 a.m. with departure at 8 a.m.

Walks

Participants can choose a 2.5- or 4.1-mile walk along Mill Creek. Registration is 10 a.m., walks start at 10:30 a.m. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

Horse trail ride

Participants are invited to bring their horses to Bennington Lake near Walla Walla Community College and ride around the lake. Registration is 9 a.m. Ride starts at 10 a.m.

Oktoberfest Lunch

Lunch featuring Walla Walla Sweet Onion Sausage runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Beer is also available. Lunch is free for participants.

Registration is $45 for individuals, $65 for families (parents and their children under 18). Cancer survivors and patients, $22.50. Teams of 10 or more people can participate for $25 per person. Price includes lunch and beverage. Registration forms are available at www.psmmc.org, in the St. Mary lobby and on site at the Gran Fondo. Registrations are accepted up to the start of each event. For more information, contact Mardi Hagerman at 522-5783.

Wine, food and music downtown

The Gran Fondo is followed by a separate event downtown, "Pairing on Main," that also benefits the Providence St. Mary Special Needs Fund. It's from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Event participants can visit selected establishments for specific wine and food. Participants receive a wine glass to take home. Live music will be presented at Land Title Plaza 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are for the evening event $35 per person, and available at the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, 401 W. Poplar St.

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