AMHERST-- The Ride For Roswell team has gathered at the Buffalo Marriott Niagara in Amherst to kick off the 15th anniversary ride that will take place June 26.
Riders, team captains, fundraisers, Extra Mile Club members, sponsors and committee members are here enjoying lunch while listening to inspirational speakers and survivor stories.
The event also gives participants the opportunity to learn about what's new to this year's ride experience. For example, this year the Ride For Roswell has organized a "Rider Training Program," which will be starting outdoor rides on Apr. 14.
"This will help people get in shape for the event," said Mitch Flynn, founder of Ride For Roswell.
The training program will be held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and will be led by different people in different areas around Western New York.
Also new this year is the "100-Mile Century Ride" route, which was discontinued nine years ago but is now back by rider request.
On the day of the event, there will be areas set up at the University of Buffalo's North Campus for the various groups participating in the race. Ride City will be geared toward adults and corporate teams, while Family Fun Town will be designated for family oriented teams. The Enhanced Expo Village will feature a vendor sampling area.
At today's kick-off party, race participants can also pick up additional fundraising materials, team kits, and learn about designing personal and team web pages for the race.
Most importantly though, the kick-off party serves as a reminder.
"The event is really just kind of reminding people why we do it, why we ride," said Ride Director Lynsey Zimdahl. "It's really just to celebrate everyone."
The party will last until 1 p.m. today. Riders can attend at no charge. Guests are $25.
The Ride For Roswell is a cycling event that has raised more than $10.8 million for cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Bikers can choose from nine different routes mapped out around Western New York. Each route begins and ends at Baird Point on the UB's North Campus.
Here's Flynn discussing this year's new additions to the ride:
---Lauren Nicole Mariacher