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Getting There: Indoor relay ride to raise funds for cancer fight

Mike and Rachel Larsen lead a Body Pump class at Peak Health and Wellness Center in Post Falls on Friday. (Kathy Plonka)
Mike and Rachel Larsen lead a Body Pump class at Peak Health and Wellness Center in Post Falls on Friday. (Kathy Plonka)

Mike Larsen, who runs a small business in Post Falls and teaches fitness part time, still hurts inside when he thinks about losing his father to cancer.

“He was my best friend,” he said.

In the four years since Dave Larsen died at age 62, his son has dedicated himself to raising money for cancer awareness and outreach.

His next effort is a 24-hour relay ride expected to draw as many as 700 riders to Peak Health and Wellness Center in Post Falls.

The event, now in its third year, begins at noon on Feb. 25.

Riders will climb onto stationary bikes and take turns pedaling continuously until noon the next day. Team members will compete for the honor of raising the most money and a team barbecue this summer.

Each team kicks in a minimum $500 entry fee.

“So many of them have been impacted by cancer one way or another,” Larsen said of the participants. “There are lots of tears.”

Among the entrants is a team from Kootenai Cancer Center.

The event raised $10,000 last year and could double that amount this year, Larsen said.“It’s just people who want to help,” Larsen said. “It’s got a reputation for being a lot of fun.”

Some of the riders will spread out on sleeping bags and stay overnight. Others will get a chance to participate in a couple of fitness classes.

Chanda Branson, a participant, said in an e-mail: “The people on our team are everyday, regular people who give of their time unselfishly to help defeat this terrible disease.”

Just like last year, the funds will go to Livestrong, a fundraising outreach arm of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Larsen said he chose the organization because 81 percent of donations go to cancer awareness and support.

He and his family raise money for cancer year-round. He plans to attend the Livestrong Challenge national event this summer in Philadelphia.

His goal is to bring in $30,000 locally for Livestrong so that he can be among the 20 or so riders who get a chance to go on a personal ride in Austin, Texas, in August with Armstrong.

But it all goes back to losing his dad, who initially was treated for colon cancer and later for esophageal cancer.

“I decided I was going to devote my time to trying to help develop a cure faster,” he said of losing his dad.

“My mom has told me how proud he would be.”

To join the relay, contact Larsen by phone at (208) 755-8500 or by e-mail at

Cycle hard, help education

Road ride enthusiasts are making plans for the CHaFE 150 bike ride on June 4 from Sandpoint into Western Montana and back.

Registration for the annual event opens Wednesday at 5 a.m.

Riders travel through picturesque mountain valleys, including the dramatic Bull River Valley, without crossing any high-elevation passes.

Riders get to choose between an 80-mile or 150-mile ride.

The event is limited to 300 riders, and it is possible that the event, now in its fourth year, could hit that number.

Proceeds from CHaFE – Cycle Hard For Education – go to the Panhandle Alliance for Education and its support of Ready! For Kindergarten early childhood program.

To register and for more information, go to The registration fee is $120.

Meeting covers Post Street work

A public open house on reconstruction of Post Street in Spokane this year is planned for Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Corbin Senior Center, 827 W. Sinto Ave., in the north upper-level classroom.

The city is planning to rebuild the street from Maxwell to Cleveland avenues. The open house will involve discussion of traffic impacts and construction dates.

Warehouses coming down

Work begins this week to prepare for demolition of downtown warehouses in the path of a new Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which will run from Division and Riverside to Spokane Falls Boulevard near the Trent Avenue Bridge.

A four-month construction period should start later in the spring on the $3.76 million project.