Traverse City Cherry-Roubaix Satisfies Families, Racers and Spectators Along a Resort Landscape

Traverse City, MI, August 09, 2012 --( Presented by Garan, Lucow, Miller, P.C., the 5th Annual Cherry-Roubaix culminates with the State Road Race Championship race as part of their three day event (in conjunction with the Michigan Bike Race Association and USA Cycling). Cherry-Roubaix Charity Ride on Saturday, August 11 benefits Munson Healthcare Women’s Cancer Fund and kicks off a family day of fun that encompasses Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula and Old Town for a full day of family activity.

Hagerty racer, wife and mother Melissa Ryba works as a foster home developer at Holy Cross Children's Services. Ryba’s strategies as a racer make her a contender in every event, and her social attitude and helpfulness are clear on the course as well. Ryba focuses on family support through work with campus, group home residential programs and community-based programs. As Charity Riders find fulfillment through fundraising to help fight cancer on August 11, Ryba finds reward in finding solutions for families to find the joy that she feels with her own husband and two children. In fact, family togetherness is strengthened through cycling, and Cherry-Roubaix delivers a full day of well-rounded family fun on Saturday, August 11. Along with the Charity Ride out Old Mission Peninsula, Cherry-Roubaix offers thrills, action and fun in Old Town with the Kids Fun Ride, Old Town Criterion, Cruiser Classic and Grand Traverse Pie Plaza for vendors, food and cycling-related gear.

“We all like to take bike rides, and our eleven-year-old, Gavin is just getting started with racing. This year, he competed in Frankenmuth for his first road race. Gavin will compete in Iceman Slush Cup this fall with his dad, an easygoing Iceman and Ore to Shore competitor,” shares Ryba. “I was a stay-at-home mom until last fall when I returned to work as a foster home developer. With respect for those families challenged with illness like cancer or family displacement, I’m grateful for bike rides with my family. Of course, my family knows how much I love cycling. I talk about it nonstop.”

Biking her whole life, Ryba still feels new to the sport and has been racing for three years including two with Hagerty race team. A strong cyclist, “I need goals to work toward to keep motivated with training and staying in shape,” confides Ryba. “I like the strategy of road racing. At times, it even takes your mind off of how much you are hurting.”

Ryba’s first race was Ore to Shore in Marquette in 2009, and her first road race was Frankenmuth in 2011. She’s now up to around ten races a year. “I love the feeling of accomplishment and the days where everything clicks just right and I do well. It is a sport where I can see steady improvement, and that helps keep me going as well. Although I have been dealing with a shoulder injury and back pain while riding, I know I can take care of those issues to find relief. Through my work with Holy Cross Children’s Services and with the understanding of what families face when cancer affects their lives, I feel fortunate to know that my discomforts will ease. Our money raised through Cherry-Roubaix Charity Ride will help bring comfort to those suffering. I’m glad to race in an event compassionate for those in the community unable to ride due to illness.”

On the road, Melissa truly shows compassion. On a recent Old Mission training ride, Ryba inspired Todd Nienhouse, a cyclist just getting back in the saddle after taking a five year break from competitive cycling. “Melissa was great,” confirms Nienhouse. There were climbs and flats I’d have failed without her encouragement. While many of the group had more channeled focus on their own training, Melissa delivered the conversation and motivation I needed.” And Ryba’s take? ”I try to do my best to encourage others into and within the sport, and I am tenacious. I don't give up even though I often want to. Yet at the same time it’s brutal, it’s also a ton of fun, and it isn't as intimidating as it first may seem. Plus, it’s fun to catch up with all of the friends I have made across the state since I started road racing.” Follow Melissa’s Cherry-Roubaix successes at Friday’s TT, Saturday’s Crit, and on her blog:,

Join Ryba on Saturday, August 11 as a participant or spectator and be a part of the fun! Enlist your team of four in the hilarious Cruiser Classic, sign up children ages four to nine for the Kids Fun Ride, or commit to one of two Cherry-Roubaix Charity Ride distances to benefit Munson Women’s Cancer Fund. Details and registration info for all events are at Put your hands up for Cherry-Roubaix ! Contact John Sohacki, Event Director at 231-342-2003, email
Wendy Nienhouse