Eighth annual 'Great Ride' slated Sept. 29 to benefit cancer center

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WALLA WALLA — The eighth annual Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center Gran Fondo, the “Great Ride” to benefit local people with cancer, will be Sept. 29.

All of the events except for the horse ride begin at the Walla Walla Community College Dietrich Dome.

The Gran Fondo captures the Italian tradition of “The Great Ride,” and translates it into an event that offers wine tasting, cycling, walking, horseback riding, and a motorcycle tour.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the Gran Fondo go to the Providence St. Mary Special Needs Fund, which helps local low-income cancer patients with a wide range of needs that insurance and Medicare may not pay for, such as travel expenses, wigs, phone cards, lodging, medications, meals, and items for symptom control.

The event includes It’s a Beautiful Life Motorcycle Tour, a 135-mile motorcycle tour through the foothills of Eastern Washington. Registration is at 8 a.m. with the ride at 8:30 a.m.

Bicycling events include The Crush Cancer Ride, a 22-mile ride led by Dr. Michael Breland through wine country with optional stops at wineries. Registration is at 8 a.m., with the ride at 9 a.m.

The Ride of Celebration is a 35-mile ride looping through the wine and wheat country. Registration is at 7:30 a.m., with the ride at 8:30 a.m.

The Ride of Endurance is a 60-mile ride through farmland, orchards and vineyards. Registration is at 7 a.m., with the ride at 8 a.m.

Participants can choose from a 2.5 or 4.1-mile Walk of Strength walk along Mill Creek. Registration is at 10:30 a.m., and the walks start at 11 a.m. Well-mannered dogs on the leash are welcome to accompany their owners.

A horse-trail ride will be at Bennington Lake. Participants are invited to bring their own horses and ride around the lake. Registration is at 9 a.m., and the ride starts at 10 a.m.

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

The Gran Fondo also is hosting a quilt raffle. Tickets are available in the Cancer Center and also will be sold at the Gran Fondo.

Premier sponsor Alaska Airlines is offering a 10 percent discount of flights to Walla Walla in honor of the Gran Fondo. People who fly Alaska to Walla Walla from any city served by Alaska (excluding Hawaii, Mexico and Prudhoe Bay) between Sept. 26-Oct. 2 will save 10 percent. To receive the discount, enter ECMU09 in the discount code box at www.alaskaair.com.

Gran Fondo registration is $45 for individuals, $65 for families (parents and their children under 18 for a total of up to five people). Cancer survivors are half price, $22.50.

Teams of 10 or more people can participate for $25 per person. Ten dollars of each registration fee is tax deductible.

The price includes lunch and free drawings for lots of prizes. R

egistration forms are available at www.psmmc.org, in the Providence 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 509-522-5783.

Wine, food and music downtown

The Gran Fondo is followed by a separate event downtown, the Pairing on Main, that also benefits the Providence St. Mary Special Needs Fund.

From 6 to 8:30 p.m., Pairings on Main participants can visit a selection of restaurants to enjoy pairings of wine and food.

Tickets are $40 per person, and are available at the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center or by calling 509-522-5783.

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