The carbs will burn hot at the Sanford Health’s Great American Bike Race on Saturday.

Teams of cyclists will be bent over their handle bars, pumping for all they are worth, through the day at the Century High gym. Expect more than 1,200 riders, knocking off at least 8,000 miles and consuming bottled water by the pallet.

The odometer will be checked and checked again as shift after shift of riders mount up, competing for distance and in raising funds for the cause, helping improve the lives of children and young adults with cerebral palsy or related disabilities.

Last year, the volunteer effort raised more than $350,000. Since the GABR was first started, it has raised more than $1.8 million. That money does a lot of good.

There are serious fundraisers in Bismarck-Mandan, and they form a real safety net for people in our community who have unmet needs. The level of support from friends and neighbors is high, with people responding to the benefits as their interests and inclinations dictate.

The GABR takes a huge organizational effort. Not only does it require more than 100 teams of stationary cyclists, it calls for a legion of timers, bike mechanics, recorders, assistants, aides and people to schlep everything from water to towels. It requires great spirit. It’s the stuff that binds a community.

Cerebral palsy can be a very tough disease. It challenges the individual who’s diagnosed and every member of the surrounding family. Like many medical issues, there are a host of hidden costs that insurance companies and government programs do not cover. The funds from the GABR go toward unmet needs, toward extending the existing resources for individuals and families. It’s a very big deal.

The GABR is an annual event that has been growing over the past

16 years. Each spring, newcomers find themselves caught up in the excitement of the event. There are cheering squads, costumes, serious competitors, not-so-serious competitors, celebrity riders, grudge matches and a great deal of perspiration — a sort of sweat equity in a good cause.

Get ready to ride.