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Welcome to Gran Fondo USA >> Inaugural Bluewater International Gran Fondo Closes Full Registration Ahead of July 31st

Inaugural Bluewater International Gran Fondo Closes with Full Registration Ahead of July 31st

The event has closed off registration for the July 31 races, with more than 500 riders expected.

A new Sarnia-Lambton cycling event, being held July 31, is already more popular than organizers expected.

It was announced Thursday that registration for the Bluewater International Granfondo has closed, with more than 500 cyclists expected to take part in the 50-km, 100-km and 150-km races, all beginning and ending at Mike Weir Park in Bright's Grove.

In all, 520 to 530 riders are expected to take part in the one-day event, said chairperson Kenneth MacAlpine.

“It's beyond, certainly, what we originally expected,” he said.

“We knew it would be good, but we never thought it would be embraced by the community in this manner.”

Registration was closed because organizers had to place the order for commemorative jerseys two months ago, and at the time they decided to be optimistic and order 500.

“We thought, 'Are we going to end up with 50 or 60 left over?'”

Instead, MacAlpine said, the strong response is leaving them several short.

“It just shows how cycling has taken off in this area, and also around the rest of the country,” he said.

Approximately 60 per cent of the entries are from Lambton, and the rest are travelling in for the event “from as far away as Vancouver, Rhode Island, Georgia, Quebec, and then a slew from Toronto and London, Windsor, Leamington,” MacAlpine said.

There's also a “significant representation” coming from Michigan, he said.

“For a first-year event, to expect this many is obviously exceptional,” he said.

“I think we could have reached 600 quite easily, if we kept things open.”

Granfondo is an Italian term for large races. The events began sprouting up in North America a decade ago and have become increasingly popular.

Profits from the Sarnia event will benefit St. Joseph Hospice and palliative care at Bluewater Health.

The Sarnia race is also an official stop on the Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series.

Staggered starts for the day's three races are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. at Mike Weir Park, with the public invited to join an apres-ride party beginning at noon, with live music, food served by the Petrolia Lions Club and the Festival of Good Things serving Refined Fool beer.

An awards ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., with the event wind-up at 4 p.m.

Approximately 100 volunteers have also been enlisted to help with set up, parking, food stations, check-in and other jobs, but there's still room for more.

Anyone wishing to volunteer, including local students, can contact volunteer co-ordinator Dick Felton by e-mail at rcfdickfelton@gmail.com.

MacAlpine said many of the riders will be accompanied by friends and family, so well over 1,000 are expected in the park that day.

“We've got great community support,” MacAlpine said.

“We have every intention of making this the first annual".

For more information, please visit - http://www.big.ca

PHOTO: The announcement in March for the Bluewater International Granfondo cycling event in Sarnia-Lambton are David Palmer, Jonathan Palumbo and Ken MacAlpine.

Over the Moon - Gran Fondo Bluewater International organizers David Palmer, Jonathan Palumbo and Ken MacAlpine.