New Climb for the Cure Gravel and MTB Race/Ride

Wendy Ramsey was a fighter, battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia for 18 years before being struck down by Richter Syndrome, where CLL becomes a typically fatal lymphoma. Part of her fight involved raising awareness and submitting herself to experimental treatments to spare others a similar fate. Wendy’s fight continues with Climb for the Cure’s inaugural ride and race up Mount Spokane on June 15.

As Wendy’s husband Duane puts it, “We found a real need for a formal gravel bike race in the Pacific Northwest, and we are motivated to fundraise for blood cancer research, so we are putting the two together.”

Courtesy Bradley Bleck

Starting at East Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Climb for the Cure participants will race or ride to the top of Mount Spokane on a mix of paved and gravel roads. The route covers 29 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing. Despite it not being for the faint of heart, leg or lung, organizer Duane Ramsey emphasizes that everyone is welcome, that Climb for the Cure is as much a ride, albeit challenging, as it is a race. Any style of bike is allowed as long as it is not motorized.

The event is a hill-climb time trial with a rolling start. Riders start between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. and chip timing will track elapsed times. From the high school, it’s every rider for themselves as they power their way along Bigelow Gulch Road through Green Bluff to North Day Mount Spokane Road and the Kit Carson Trail before hitting the peak on North Summit Road. Although there will be aid stations and mobile support patrolling the course, every rider should be ready to handle minor mechanicals and to keep themselves hydrated and fueled. For a safer event, state park officials will close North Summit Road to auto traffic.

What’s a gravel race without an afterparty? Participants will regroup at the Selkirk Lodge for the afterparty—think friendship, food and drink—and the awards ceremony. Free shuttle service will be available to take riders back to East Valley. Riders may also ride back or arrange their own transportation. And as if doing good by supporting cancer research isn’t enough, prizes will total $10,000. There will be $500 for first in each category, $300 for second, and $200 for third place. The fastest male and female rider will each take home another $500. There are six categories, three each for male and female riders: 16 to 40 years, 41 to 60, and 61 on up.

One purpose of the event is to have fun while highlighting the great gravel riding in the Spokane area. Perhaps more important is the proceeds will support research for treatment of lesser-known blood cancers. “Many diseases attack such a small number of people that research funds are harder to come by,” says Duane. The Wendy Foundation and the Climb for the Cure aim to support research on these diseases by providing funds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Because the focus is on supporting cancer research, one Climb for the Cure goal is for sponsorships to cover event expenses so all entry fees go directly to Dana-Farber in support of their research mission. More information can be found at

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