Ride raises money to help in MS battle

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Alex Berger is hoping to convince 40 cyclists from Steamboat Springs to give up a weekend in July to help raise money for a good cause.

"This ride is personal," Berger said. "Most of us know somebody, or have a relative who has been impacted by multiple sclerosis."

That's just one of the reasons Berger is taking part in this year's Great-West MS150 Bike Tour, which begins at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on July 9 and travels south 75 miles to Colorado Springs to the Colorado College campus. Day 2 will take riders over the intimidating Royal Gorge before finishing in Cañon City on July 10.

Berger, who has taken part in the 150-mile ride the past two years, said it's an inviting ride that is designed to give riders a taste of Colorado's scenery but that it's also designed with the novice in mind. For riders looking for a bit more of a challenge there will be a century loop added to the ride.

The event is still two months away, but Berger and fellow rider Lee Cox are trying to get 40 riders to join Team Boat. Berger hopes that by getting more riders from Steamboat to take part in the ride it will raise more money for research.

"All I'm asking people to do is commit to giving up a weekend, and helping raise money for a good cause," Berger said.

For Cox, the annual ride has become a summer tradition. She started taking part in the ride nine years ago and introduced Team Boat six years ago. Riders can contact Berger or Cox to find out how to become a part of the team. Each rider must raise at least $300 and cover the $35 registration fee.

"It's a lot more fun when you are part of a team," Cox said. "With the increased number of people around with road bikes, it would be nice to get a few more riders taking part in this ride."

Last year, Cox encouraged six riders from Steamboat Springs to take part, and the group raised $7,800.

It was a good start, but Cox and Berger are hoping for even more this July.

"If we can get 40 people to ride, and they all raise the minimum, we should get at least $12,000," Berger said. " I hope that's the minimum."

For Berger, the ride is personal-- very personal. His mother has multiple sclerosis, and he knows firsthand how devastating the disease can be.

The money will benefit the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For every dollar raised, 83 cents will go to help the 7,200 Coloradans and their families who are coping with the effects of MS.

To learn more about the ride, call Berger at 879-2666 or Cox at 846-8007 or visit www.goforthegorge.org.

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