Blue­wa­ter In­ter­na­tional Gran­fondo

Sold Out Two Years Run­ning

Pedal Magazine - - Out In Front - BY RON JOHN­SON

The third an­nual Blue­wa­ter In­ter­na­tional Gran­fondo is set for Aug. 5 af­ter two suc­cess­ful sell-out years. This year, the reg­is­tra­tion is capped at 1,000 cy­clists, who can choose from three routes of 50, 100 or 150 kilo­me­tres.

“The cy­cling com­mu­nity here was start­ing to get some mo­men­tum, so we took the ini­tia­tive and started an event that would in­crease in­ter­est in cy­cling and also raise money for the ed­u­ca­tion of pal­lia­tive-care work­ers,” says Ken­neth MacAlpine, one of the event or­ga­niz­ers.

MacAlpine says that the orig­i­nal event was capped at 500 peo­ple and sold out seven weeks be­fore the start of the event. It grew again the fol­low­ing year to 750 and was sold out again. Why so suc­cess­ful?

“One thing is that the com­mit­tee, my­self in­cluded, don’t take any money. In­stead ev­ery­thing is fun­neled back into the event and to the char­ity,” he says. “So par­tic­i­pants re­ceive a free Gior­dana cy­cling jer­sey, hot gourmet food af­ter the event, a five-piece rock-and-roll band play­ing on the shores of Lake Huron and well­stocked fuel sta­tions through­out the route.”

Then there’s the scenery. Ar­cona is per­haps an area of On­tario not known to many, but its sur­round­ing land­scape is quite pas­toral. Think fruit or­chards, farms, rolling hills and the Lake Huron shore­line.

“Ar­cona is well known in On­tario for its fruit-grow­ing abil­i­ties, so we cy­cle through the or­chards, and the last few kilo­me­tres are along Lake Huron and the rest is on quiet coun­try roads,” says MacAlpine.

In­cluded in the 2018 pro­ceed­ings is the in­au­gu­ral On­tario First Re­spon­der Road Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships with its three cat­e­gories of races cater­ing to fire, po­lice and EMS per­son­nel. “We’re ex­cited about this new ad­di­tion to the gran fondo,” said MacAlpine

The night be­fore the race, a gourmet pasta din­ner will be held at the Sar­nia Dante Club, com­plete with such guest speak­ers as Alex Steida, the first North Amer­i­can to wear the yel­low jer­sey, and Stephen Che­ung, au­thor of Cy­cling Sci­ence and world-class au­thor­ity on sci­ence and train­ing.

An­other unique feature of the Blue­wa­ter Gran­fondo that par­tic­i­pants seem to ap­pre­ci­ate, ac­cord­ing to MacAlpine, is that it isn’t all timed. There are timed sec­tions, and there are sec­tions that are not timed. And that mix en­ables those of vary­ing abil­i­ties to en­joy the event to­gether while still get­ting the com­pet­i­tive juices flow­ing now and then.

Ex­hausted at the fin­ish line? Take a run­ning leap into Lake Huron for a brisk and re­fresh­ing con­clu­sion to your day in the sad­dle be­fore en­joy­ing a great meal.

For com­plete event in­for­ma­tion, visit

The Blue­wa­ter In­ter­na­tional Gran­fondo has sold out two years run­ning.

Three Three ex­cit­ing ex­cit­ing routes routes cater cater to to all all lev­els. lev­els.

Happy rid­ers means smiles ... and suc­cess.

Great routes, great scenery and great food...

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