The Lost Shores Gran Fondo of Nova Scotia takes its name partly from the Lost Coast of northern California. For years, the Pacific coast has attracted workers from other parts of the continent, including gran fondo organizer Rob Carter. Carter has since returned home to Nova Scotia, and is hoping to help people find the Lost Shores.
Located a few hours outside of Halifax and surrounding Guysborough, N.S., the Lost Shores area is made up of a collection of fishing communities that dot the Atlantic coast. Despite Guysborough only boasting two residents who cycle (including Carter) and a mere $1,000 marketing budget, the first Lost Shores event in 2016 was an immediate success with nearly 400 riders participating.
“We learned a lot from the first year,” recalls Carter, speaking of this past year’s edition. “It was a slow start on the registration. The event had great weather and the community was totally engaged. We sent flyers to everyone along the route, so locals all came out to cheer on the riders.
“We certainly didn’t have a lot of experience, but the community came together and really made it happen.”
The small communities work with their limited tourism infrastructure to create an event with a neighbourly feel. Riders can choose to camp at the Chedabucto Education Centre, where change rooms and showers are made available. But the more immersive choice is to register to billet with locals for a chance to really get to know the people of the Lost Shores.
This year, participants can choose from a variety of routes ranging from a 30-km Rail Trail Loop to the 120-km Tickle Loop. The early September date for the event was chosen of the best chance for good weather
Lost Shores is also developing activities that make the event fun for families. “We’re also adding in more for noncyclists so families don’t have to go separate ways for the day,” says Carter. “With the school facilities, we’re able to offer yoga classes, and daycare.” There’s also hiking and kayaking as other ways to experience of the region.
Now that the secret of the Lost Shores is out, registration is filling more quickly. ( lostshoresgranfondo.ca) — Deancampbell