Up to 1,000 cyclists expected for Bluewater Granfondo

Bluewater International Granfondo Submitted Photo

Troy Shantz

Organizers of the Bluewater Granfondo have taken steps to ensure success for the third annual ride.

“We’re bringing in more beer,” said Ken MacAlpine with a laugh.

The event, set for Aug. 5, has quickly become a top draw for cyclists in Ontario and across Canada.

Up to 1,000 participants are expected, double the size of the inaugural ride in 2016. Registration has already reached the 40% mark, MacAlpine said.

A granfondo, Italian for “big ride,” is a mass participation cycling event that began in Europe and has been growing in popularity in North America.

At Bluewater, participants can choose one of three routes: 50, 100 and 150 kilometres. It’s not a race but does include timed sections, with an additional timed section being added to the 100 km route this year.

For the first time, Sarnia is also hosting the Ontario First Responder Road Cycling Championship. And at least two professional cycling teams from Toronto are coming, including the Toronto Hustle.

Lakeshore Road has been dropped from the routes. In previous years, riders would travel in both directions there at any given time, MacAlpine said.

“It gets busy because it’s a holiday weekend. Safety is number one.”

Riders start and finish at Mike Weir Park, with food and beer from local vendors and bands scheduled to perform following the ride.

A pasta dinner is planned for the Dante Club on Aug. 4, featuring two keynote speakers that MacAlpine said are well known in the cycling community.

As always, proceeds from the ride will support St. Joseph’s Hospice and palliative care at Bluewater Health.

For registration and more information, visit http://www.bigf.ca/