GRAN FONDO BADLANDS
Location Drumheller, Alta. Date June 24
Distances 160 km (gran fondo), 75/100/140 km (medio fondo), 50 km (piccolo fondo)
Cost $100–$190, depending on distance and registration date Website granfondobadlands.ca
Gran Fondo Badlands is set where the dinosaurs roamed 70 million years ago. The routes take riders in and out of the Red Deer River valley. The scenery – think rock formations like the bottom of the Grand Canyon – and the vibe make for a great day on the bike. “The ride is big enough that it creates the vibrant atmosphere, but it’s a lot more laid-back and easygoing than other events,” said Rick Skeith, one of the fondo’s event directors. The ride does have timed segments, but slows riders down by design at its aid stations. “At 22.5 km in, we cross on a ferry,” Skeith said. “That forces people to chill out, so they’ll have another coffee at the aid station and look at the scenery while they wait for the ferry.” The ride’s ”bacon station” is in an old saloon where riders can’t help but pause to enjoy barbecued bacon on a bun.