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One of the riders finishes the challenging course up Mt. Equinox during the 2014 Gear Up for Lyme uphill Bike Climb. after a year off, the event will resume this Saturday.

MANCHESTER >> It's an uphill fight.

One day per year, Mount Equinox is open to bicyclists, but only to ride uphill. More than 70 will participate in the annual Gear Up for Lyme Climb this Saturday to combat the growing infection in the Northeast.

To date, about $70,000 has been raised by the 5.4 mile race in the 11 years it's been running, Susan Howard, Manchester Rotary Club president and race director said. A majority of the funds raised goes back to the Lyme Disease Association (LDA), but also to local charities to fight the disease in the area.

One can contract an infection through a bite from a black-legged tick — or deer tick — which leads to debilitation of the heart, nerves, joints and other parts of the body. In 1999 there were a total of seven confirmed cases of Lyme, which rose to 335 in 2014, according to the Vermont Department of Health. More often than not, an individual knows someone who had or has the disease, said Pat Smith, president of the LDA. New England has a high incidence rate of Lyme with Vermont ranking No. 2 behind Maine and ahead of Massachusetts, as stated on the