The Ride is officially back.
The annual bike event will once again unite cyclists from across Wisconsin and beyond to ride in support of a future without cancer.
While rain and thunderstorms forced the cancellation of last year’s event, participants still raised more than $400,000 for groundbreaking cancer research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. While event organizers were excited about a return to form in 2020, COVID-19 threw a bit of a wrench into those plans.
However, on Sunday, September 27, The Ride will proceed with a modified version of the event featuring significant changes aimed at keeping riders as safe as possible.
“The Ride means so much to participants as it provides a platform to honor loved ones affected by cancer,” said The Ride director and co-founder Deric Wheeler, PhD. “So long as our team could assure physical distancing and proper safety measures to all our riders amidst the COVID pandemic, we felt strongly committed to continuing the spirit of The Ride in 2020.”
The biggest change riders can expect is that there will be no central gathering location for the event. That means no official start or finish line. To ensure plenty of physical distancing, cyclists can begin and end their rides wherever they choose on the available 25K, 50K, 100K or 100 mile courses.
While each course will be open and marked from 8am - 4pm, there is no designated start time. Aid stations will be open and available during those hours, with precautions in place, such as non-contact, individually packaged food and beverage options. Aid stations will be staffed by health care volunteers who will help replenish aid and offer support to the riders. There will also be additional sanitation measures put into place.
“The event modifications in 2020 have allowed our team to really focus on the rider experience,” said The Ride co-founder Paul Harari, MD. “We’re extremely excited to be adding new engagement elements along all our routes which will highlight the impact our riders have had on the UW cancer mission and provide interactive elements for our participants.
And while there will be no in-person celebration this year, event organizers are still striving for a sense of community and togetherness. Professional photographers will still be out on the four courses, and riders are encouraged to share their ride photos and experiences on social media.
The Ride is also introducing a new Global Program this year, which gives individuals a virtual option for participation. Riders can hop on their bikes or bike trainers, wherever they are, and complete their chosen distance on any given day during a multi-week period, beginning on September 27.
Regardless of where you ride and how many miles you want to go, all registration options are $30 due to this year’s event modifications, and include participant shirts and commemorative medals. All money raised goes toward funding the research of some of UW’s most brilliant investigators through the distribution of Ride Scholarships.
Since launching in 2016, The Ride has raised more than $1.2 million and has funded the research of over 40 scholars – not bad for an event that’s now entering its fifth year.
“The Ride is fortunate to have such passionate individuals that partake on an annual basis and are active supporters of our mission,” Wheeler said. “This year, whether you ride our courses in Madison for your individualized experience or participate virtually in our Global Program, you will have the opportunity to make an impact on cancer while inspiring the next wave of riders in 2021 and beyond.”
For more information about safety measures, course maps and registration, visit The Ride’s webpage