GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly 1,700 cyclists pedaled off Saturday morning in the fourth annual Michigan State University Gran Fondo.

It’s named one of the nation’s top Gran Fondos in 2016.

The event benefits skin cancer research, prevention and awareness brought forth by the Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

In light of the recent Kalamazoo cycling tragedy, Saturday’s non-competitive ride throughout West Michigan took on a deeper, more significant meaning.

“Well, I’m overwhelmed at the response, number one. We have more participants this year than the previous three years. We have raised more funds and like you said, given the tragedy over the last of weeks with cyclists really around the community and the state. It’s amazing that these people come out and support themselves, which is a great thing,” said Lou Candiotti, MSU Gran Fondo event director.