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Breast Cancer Ride returns to Rosemount for sixth year

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In its sixth year, the Hartford and RE/MAX Results Breast Cancer Ride begins on Aug. 3 and ends the following day on Aug. 4. The ride benefits Minnesotans through various support programs, including the Cancer Recovery Scholarship Program, the Breast Cancer Awareness Association Conference and a Wig Scholarship Program.

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Kari Mitchell works for Charity Events of Minnesota, and started this Rosemount based fundraising ride six years ago in support of her good friend who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40. Her friend lost her battle with breast cancer shortly after last year's ride.

"It takes on a different spirit just knowing that what we're here for is still important and breast cancer is still relevant," Mitchell said. "She's just kind of a reminder of fighting with breast cancer and helping care for those affected by it in our community."

The ride starts and ends at the Eagan Community Center, with pit stops every 10 to 20 miles along the route. Participants will stay overnight at Treasure Island Resort and Casino. Though the ride is mostly the same this year as in years past, there will be a shortcut route offered on Sunday, which takes off about 15 miles off of the 99 mile trip.

"We have not had that before, and that was just in response to some of our participants who wanted the second day to be shorter than the first," Mitchell said.

The ride gained momentum in its first four years and became more steady in numbers over the last two. Mitchell estimates that they will see 300-500 people throughout the weekend, including spectators, riders and others involved.

Mitchell, who has been directing the event along with her logistics director, Kelsey Ward, for the last six years, is excited first and foremost for the money raised, but also for what the race does for participants.

"To see the human potential in people when they think they can't do something like this, and see them finish," Mitchell said. "To see people move beyond their limits."

The ride, though locally focused, draws people from all over the United States as well as internationally. The largest demographic in Minnesota is the Twin Cities, but they also reach people in Duluth, Rochester and elsewhere.

"I think we are really small, almost grassroots organization ... so you have real people on the ground, doing the work," Mitchell said. "We just don't have the big name, the big dollars, we have to do a lot of grassroots and guerilla marketing to spread the world about our events."

Besides the unique, small feel of the ride, Mitchell said they are the only breast cancer ride in Minnesota, which makes for another reason people are drawn to this two day event.

Participants, often dressed in matching outfits, are also an aspect that Mitchell is looking forward to with the ride this year.

"There is a new team this year that came to the ride and the gentleman's wife has breast cancer," Mitchell said. "The energy, the notes (coming in) ... I just can't wait to see the experience the team goes through and how that wife feels.

"I am really excited, and overall it's just such a fun weekend ... it's a great place to be, (the) community is awesome," Mitchell said.

For more information on the Hartford and RE/MAX Results Breast Cancer Ride, visit www.breastcancerride.org. The organization is still in need of volunteers.

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