• Wed August 13 2008
  • Posted Aug 13, 2008
[nice tribute to Randy Van Zee of Sheldon, Iowa] By Padraic Duffy, Journal staff Wednesday, August 13, 2008 RAPID CITY SD — The 2008 Gut Check 212 is a bicycle ride from the South Dakota-Wyoming border to the South Dakota-Minnesota border along Highway 212 ridden as a benefit for Crohn’s disease and colitis. The kicker? Riders have to finish the 414-mile trek in 48 hours. The event began in 2006 after race founder Josh Ellis decided to do something to help those who suffer from the gastrointestinal diseases, such as his father. Money, and awareness, raised by the event goes to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. “My father has Crohn’s disease, he’s had Crohn’s disease for 18 years now, so I was sitting in my office one day thinking about what I could do,” Ellis said in an interview with KSFY television in 2006. Ellis felt that because of the nature of the disease and the race, the name Gut Check 212 was perfect. This year’s race is also a tribute to 2007 co-winner Randy Van Zee of Sheldon, Iowa, who was killed in April when he was hit by a car on a training run. Van Zee, Casper, Wyo., rider Bob Thunselle and Kevin Brady were the only solo finishers of the race last year. Thunselle is back for more this year and is racing as much for Van Zee as anything. “I finished the race last year with Randy Van Zee and want to dedicate this year’s race to his memory,” Thunselle said on the Gut Check’s Web site. “It is a tragic loss and he will be missed.” Thunselle and Van Zee finished the 2007 race in a time of 36 hours, 45 minutes. There are also two- and four-person relay team portions of the race, a leapfrog relay portion (unlimited riders who can change relay legs wherever and whenever they want) and, the race that Van Zee himself was going to do this year, the Hell and Back race, which is a ride from the Minnesota border to Wyoming and back. Those brave souls will have 96 hours to complete that 828-mile ride. The 414-mile race kicks off on Friday at mile marker 0 on Highway 212 and will finish on Monday at the Minnesota border. The race has checkpoints at Faith, Gettysburg and Redfield before the final one at the Minnesota border. Registration fee is a minimum of $100 in donations for the CCFA. Riders can make the payment themselves or help raise awareness by soliciting donations from various individuals. Last year, there were two riders that raised over $1,000 for the event and a few more that were over the $500 mark. The CCFA is a non-profit organization so all donations are tax deductible. All registered participants will receive a cycling jersey at the start of the race. The winners of the male and female solo division will receive a winner’s jersey. For more information or to donate to the cause, go to

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