Look­ing Ahead

Septem­ber 9 Koote­nay Rock­ies Gran Fondo

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - THE CALENDAR - ( krgf.ca)— Dean­camp­bell

Rid­ing in the val­ley be­tween strings of jagged Rocky Moun­tain peaks, and along the scenic St. Mary River, par­tic­i­pants in the Koote­nay Rock­ies Gran Fondo are able to take in spec­tac­u­lar sur­round­ings. Event chair­man Glenn Do­bie, how­ever, knew from the be­gin­ning that this event couldn’t rest solely on the nat­u­ral beauty of the re­gion.

“We knew we had to stand apart,” said Do­bie. The event fea­tures a well-signed route, rider sup­port that in­cludes bi­cy­cle me­chan­ics trav­el­ling by mo­tor­cy­cle and dis­patched through a cen­tral num­ber, and a post-ride ban­quet at the five star St. Eugene golf course and re­sort. Lit­tle touches in­clude cold cloths handed to each rider at the fin­ish and free, staffed bike park­ing so rid­ers can leave their bikes in a se­cure place when they head to the postride meal. Fes­tiv­i­ties in­clude live mu­sic and wine tast­ing, but the high­light is the platzl in Kim­ber­ley, B.C.

“That’s where the first aid sta­tion is lo­cated, but we have it set up so the com­mu­nity comes out in droves to sup­port the rid­ers,” said Do­bie. “We have it all rib­boned off so that as rid­ers come through the platzl, each rider’s name is an­nounced, al­most like a fin­ish line at­mos­phere. Whether you’re do­ing the gran fondo dis­tance in un­der four hours, or you’re tak­ing four hours to do the pic­colo, you get the same treat­ment. We’re re­ally proud that we at­tend to both ends of the spec­trum.”

Rid­ers can en­ter the 152-km gran, the 102-km medio or the very pop­u­lar 58-km pic­colo. No mat­ter the choice, the par­tic­i­pants all en­joy what Do­bie calls Koote­nay charm. En­tries are capped at 500 par­tic­i­pants to pre­serve the qual­ity of the event and the friendly at­mos­phere.

The pro­ceeds of the Fondo, which is en­ter­ing its fifth year, are used to sup­port com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives run by the Ro­tary Club, in­clud­ing a youth cy­cling ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram and fund­ing for cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture in the val­ley.

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