Riding the Fondo for family

From right, Gavin Middleton stands with his grandfather, Richard Anderson, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Gavin plans to ride 30 miles in the Echelon Gran Fondo on July 23.            - Kipp Robertson/ Herald
From right, Gavin Middleton stands with his grandfather, Richard Anderson, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Gavin plans to ride 30 miles in the Echelon Gran Fondo on July 23.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald


KINGSTON — Gavin Middleton has grown up around family members who have battled cancer.

The 14-year-old Kingston resident’s mother, aunt, grandmother and grandfather were all diagnosed during his life. Naturally, Gavin is worried about his family and wants to help.

“I’m worried about them, you know,” Gavin said. “I haven’t been able to help much.”

While surfing the Internet one day, Gavin stumbled upon the Seattle Echelon Gran Fondo and “I thought ‘Oh, that looks great.’ ”

Gavin will be one of hundreds of bike riders participating in the Gran Fondo. Though Seattle is in the official title, Kingston will be the official start and finish location of the bicycle ride. There are four routes: the 30-mile, 70-mile and two 1000mile routes — one of which is the super Gran Fondo, which takes riders from Kingston to the top of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

Gran Fondo organizer David Cochran said he expects 800-1,200 people to participate in the event. The bulk of participants typically register within the last month, he said.

The rides benefit LIVESTRONG and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Sponsorships and fundraisers are available.

Gavin, who will begin attending Kingston High School next year, will ride the 30-mile route. He does not ride bikes on a day-to-day basis, but has participated in a few long rides, including one 27-mile ride. He’s confident in his ability to complete the 30 miles.

Gavin’s grandfather, Richard Anderson, will pay the $100 registration fee.

Anderson said about two-thirds of his relatives have had some form of cancer. Anderson himself has had four types — currently he is fighting mesothelioma, he said.

His grandson’s willingness to raise cancer awareness is something that is not typical of people Gavin’s age, he said.

“It might be because he is closer to it than most kids,” Anderson said. “He’s been living around us all this time when we were going through these different battles.”

Anderson added, “But he’s a cut of a different cloth.”

Currently, Gavin plans to ride his Mongoose mountain bike in the race. He admits the bike is not fit for the ride and he has recently tried to volunteer at the few bicycle shops around North Kitsap; hoping to be paid in parts for a new bike.

Kingston Adventures co-owner Beth Brewster said the older dual-suspension mountain bike does not fit him at all — Gavin is over6 feet tall.

Gavin offered to help at Adventures, but the Kingston business rents three-wheeled cruisers, not traditional bicycles. Because Adventures was unable to help in that way, Brewster said she has asked around to see if anyone has a spare bike to donate. One person has expressed interest in

donating, but Brewster has not seen the bike. “He needs a road bike,” she said. “He’s looking to do the 30 miles to honor his family.”

Gavin said he does not personally know anyone else participating, but is trying to encourage friends to join him, or at least cheer him on. He has checked the route and said the terrain won’t be any problem.

“If I manage to get in 758th place, I wouldn’t care,” Gavin said. “I’m excited for it and can’t wait.”

The Echelon Gran Fondo

The Echelon Gran Fondo is July 23. It is a cycling series managed by PlanetZ/Echelon, a non-profit organization that promotes human affairs.

The ride begins at the Kingston Village Green Community Park. There are four different rides. The 30-mile route will go through Port Gamble, down Big Valley Road, through Poulsbo and Suquamish and back to Kingston. The 70- and one of the 100-mile rides will go through Port Ludlow and past Port Hadlock-Irondale. The Super Gran Fondo starts at Kingston and ends at the top of Hurricane Ridge.

A festival will be held at Kingston, the goal of which is to showcase the host town and businesses.

The idea for the Gran Fondo rides, which are in Arizona, California, Oregon and now Washington, came from cycling events in Europe, Cochran said.

There will be themed rest stops on the routes, but the exact details were unavailable.



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