More than 200 cyclists are expected to turn out Sept. 11 and 12 for the Bike MS 2010 From Hope to a Cure Ride, a fundraiser that supports multiple sclerosis research as well as services and programs for local people living with the disease.
The National MS Society, Greater Northwest Chapter, wants to raise $1.8 million from its Bike MS events in Alaska and Washington. With more than 100 rides across the United States, Bike MS is the fastest growing and largest organized cycling series in the country, say organizers.
The Alaska ride follows a scenic 150-mile, out-and-back course between Hope and Seward along the Seward Highway.
Cyclists start Saturday morning at Hope School and finish the first day at the Hotel Edgewater in Seward. On Sunday, they leave Seward on Third Avenue, ride along Seward Highway to the East Fork Six Mile Bridge to connect to the bike path crossing under Seward Highway to Hope Highway. They are expected to finish about 4 p.m. Sunday back at Hope School.
Riders will be supported by fully stocked rest stops, Support-and-Gear (SAG) vehicles, the local chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, and the Alaska Medical Support Team.
Shuttle service will be available Saturday to get cyclists past the seven miles of Seward Highway between Moose Pass and Primrose that has no shoulder, and on Sunday from the first rest stop near Lakeview to Moose Pass.
Cyclists will also enjoy a lunch, dinner and reception Saturday and continental breakfast and lunch Sunday. Special room rates are available from several Seward hotels.
Not only do riders experience a gorgeous, well-supported ride, but they have the satisfaction of knowing that theyre part of a community that is helping to find a cure for a disease that affects more people in the Pacific Northwest than almost anywhere else, said Rosanna Snyder, communications manager with the Greater Northwest Chapter.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that afflicts more than 10,000 people in Western and Central Washington and Alaska, and 400,000 nationwide.
It usually strikes people between the ages of 20 and 50 with varied and unpredictable symptoms, including fatigue, numbness, loss of balance, vision problems and paralysis. There is no cure for MS, but advances in treatments have helped people live with and manage the disease.
For more information or to register, go to www.bikeMSnorthwest.org or call 1-800-344-4867.
Headquartered in Seattle, the Greater Northwest Chapter serves more than 60,000 people affected by MS, including family members and health care professionals, in Western and Central Washington and Alaska. To learn more, go to www.MSnorthwest.org.