The first wave of riders in the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo, moments before departure, at a past event. (Cranbrook Townsman file)

The first wave of riders in the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo, moments before departure, at a past event. (Cranbrook Townsman file)

Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo returns this September

Registration is now open, with early bird incentives on until the end of the month

The Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo returns to the Kimberley/Cranbrook area this September after a two-year forced hiatus because of the pandemic.

Steve Weatherall, organizer of this year’s event, says it’s great to have the event returning and they anticipate a great turnout.

“This year is looking good, we’ve had lots of rain and beautiful weather and anticipate a great race day,” Weatherall said.

The event also had to be cancelled in 2017 because of extreme fire hazards and smoke that blanketed much of the region at that time.

The race is back in full force this September and organizers are looking forward to seeing hundreds of riders come out.

“This event is organized by Cranbrook’s Sunrise Rotary Club, it’s a non-profit event with all monies primarily going towards cycling programs and other community incentives,” Weatherall said. “All of the money from the event stays within the community.”

The ride takes place on Saturday, September 10 and there are three courses to choose from. Riders will meet at St. Eugene for a snack and warm-up before embarking at 9:30 a.m.

The first course is the Piccolo Fondo, which is the shortest route at 58 kilometres. This route takes you from St. Eugene Resort and Casino through Kimberley, ending at Wycliffe Rd.

The second route is the Medio Fondo, 102 kilometres starting at St. Eugene, through Kimberley, Wasa and Fort Steele, ending at Mission Rd.

The third and longest route is the Gran Fondo, beginning again at St. Eugene, also going through Kimberley to Wasa, Fort Steele and ending at Mission Rd.

“It’s important to know that i’s not a race, it’s a recreational ride. Although, we do always have people that want to complete it quickly, or beat their own personal best time. In the past we’ve had around 500 riders register and participate, and we’re hoping to see similar numbers this year” said Weatherall. “So far we have 200 people registered and we do have some incentives for those who register before the end of the month.”

READ: GoByBike week returns to Cranbrook

READ: 11 East Kootenay venues featured in Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Those who register before July 15 will be put into a draw for a print from local artist Joseph Cross, who’s work has been featured internationally. The print is of his popular painting ‘Spring Training for Gran Fondo’.

There is also a discount on registration fees for those who register before July 31. Registration is online through the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo website, krgf.ca.

Last but not least, the Gran Fondo is always looking for keen volunteers, Weatherall says.

“Our club has 42 members, but we usually need around 150 people to help out,” he said. “Fortunately, we always have so many wonderful people come forward. Many people who sign up for the ride end up helping with set-up. We also have several other service clubs that help out with aid stations on the day of the event.”

Those interested in volunteering can sign up online through the KRGF website by clicking on the volunteers tab.

Participants can look forward to a scenic ride, what Weatherall says is the most scenic ride in the Kootenays, a continental breakfast, a Dri-fit Fondo t-shirt, a post-ride meal and so much more. For more information, visit the website mentioned above or the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo Facebook page.



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter