CLEVELAND – Instead of beating the heat thousands of athletes will be defying the glaring sun during Northeast Ohio’s heat wave this weekend.
VeloSano begins Saturday and, in it’s sixth year, the ride has more cyclists than ever before. Organizers say more than 2,300 will participate and 100% of proceeds go to the Cleveland Clinic for cancer research.
“VeloSano itself Latin for swift cure, that ties to our mission to raise as much money as possible to support life saving cancer research at Cleveland Clinic,” said Nicole Peters the executive director of VeloSano.
Peters said the charity ride has raised millions since it’s creation and, according to the VeloSano website, 90 research projects.
“The money that already came in our first two years, right around $5 million, those projects – because of how well they’re doing – have brought in an additional $14.4 million in government funding,” said Peters. “That’s above and beyond the $17 million that we’ve raised.”
Ride distances during VeloSano vary from a short 10 miles to a two day ride from Mall B in downtown Cleveland to Wooster and back.
Cleveland Clinic Dr. Baruch Fertel said it’s important for athletes to remember this event is a ride, not a race to finish fast in the intense heat.
“I would encourage people in this kind of heat to drink about a liter of water every hour or so,” said Dr. Fertel.
To accommodate riders in the sun, race organizers will provide pickle juice at all rest stops, the high sodium drink keeps riders hydrated. In addition to having a kiddie pool filled with ice water for people to cool off.
“We always have rest stops every 12-15 miles on on the course,” said Peters. “We’ve really pulsed up all of our supplies extra ice, extra water.”
For less experienced cyclists participating, Dr. Fertel said it’s important to train in the heat, similar to what they would experience during VeloSano.
“Try to practice or workout in the heat to see if you can acclimate yourself get comfortable during the heat engaging in strenuous exercise,” said Dr. Fertel.
Advice the most daring riders have already begun to do as they look to make a difference in defiance of the glaring sun.
“I do the two day ride,” said cyclist Caroline El Sanadi. “The ultimate challenge – it’s a 200 miles in two days to raise money for cancer research.”