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20 places left for Bluewater International Granfondo

Fewer than 20 of the 1,000 spots in the August 6th Bluewater International Granfondo are left, so register not before it sells out!

Co-founders, Ken MacAlpine and Kathy Johnson (second and third from the right) along with Phil White Cervelo co-founder at the start of the 6th annual event!

Photo: Co-founders, Ken MacAlpine and Kathy Johnson (second and third from the right) along with Phil White Cervelo co-founder at the start of the 6th annual event!

Fewer than 20 of the 1,000 spots in the August 6th Bluewater International Granfondo were not claimed as of Wednesday, said Ken MacAlpine, Bluewater Cycling Organization’s chair.

“So, we’re back to pre-COVID numbers,” he said.

The four-route granfondo — an Italian term loosely translated as “big ride” — attracted about 800 riders in its return to in-person last year.

The initiative that’s raised $370,000 to date for palliative care in Sarnia-Lambton, not including this year’s registration numbers, MacAlpine said, missed 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and went virtual in 2021, attracting about 500 riders.

Other cycling events this year have struggled to return to their pre-pandemic ridership levels, MacAlpine said, “I think it’s the popularity of the event,” he said about why the local granfondo has rebounded quicker. The location is second to none, being on the shores of Lake Huron."

The Mike Weir Park-staged attraction has long been ranked tops in Ontario and second in Canada by Gran Fondo Guide, MacAlpine said, after it started in 2016.

More recently, though, it moved up to fourth from eighth or ninth in North America, out of more than 200 granfondos, he said, calling that a “big deal.”

Organizers in 2020 had planned to up the event to 1,200 riders.

“But on reflection, we’re going to stay at the 1,000” for the foreseeable future, MacAlpine said, calling it a “comfortable number” for the initiative’s 200 volunteers.

Upping it would mean more volunteers and more food at fuel stations, he said, “There’s a lot of things we’d have to increase to go for the extra 200.”

Cycling enthusiasm in the Sarnia area has grown in the last four years, he said, while the organization behind the granfondo also has begun offering other initiatives such as youth cycling training, having volunteers use trishaws to give seniors rides, and the annual free community Slow Roll that attracted about 400 participants last month, MacAlpine said.

Plans are to stage another Bluewater Palliative Care Retreat this year, with registration costs supplemented by money raised via the granfondo, he said.

“It’s back to back years for sure, and then we’ll see what happens after that,” MacAlpine said about the retreat for palliative care workers that historically has been held every other year in Sarnia.

MacAlpine also noted the importance of volunteers in making the granfondo happen, “We want to make sure we appreciate them,” he said.

Register NOW before it SELLS OUT!

Fewer than 20 of the 1,000 spots in the August 6th Bluewater International Granfondo are left, so register not before it sells out!

For more information, please visit: https://bigf.ca or click the button below to register.