Gran Fondo keeps grow­ing in third year

The Drumheller Mail - - REAL ESTATE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa sub­mit­ted

While other bik­ing events are see­ing a de­cline in num­bers this sea­son, the GrandFondo Bad­lands is buck­ing the trend, con­tin­u­ing to see growth.

On Satur­day morn­ing, June 25, a record num­ber of cy­clists took off from the Bad­lands Com­mu­nity Facility to take on a num­ber of routes through­out the val­ley. These ranged from the Piccolo route of 50 kilo­me­tres to the full Gran Fondo of 160 kilo­me­tres. Or­ga­nizer Rick Skeith says riders en­joy the val­ley.

“Last year we had 680, and this year we are at 845,” said Skeith. “Most of the rides I am aware of, their num­bers are down this year, or flat. This is a unique lo­ca­tion, there is lots to do, and it is some­thing that peo­ple don’t do ev­ery­day.”

Be­cause of the Gran Fondo Bad­lands, res­i­dents and visi­tors are find­ing the val­ley as a place to ride, not just on the day of the event, but sea­son long.

“You no­tice more riders out here, partly be­cause of this event,” said Skeith.

The event is also sup­port­ive of the com­mu­nity. Bad­lands Search and Res­cue were on site Satur­day morn­ing to sup­port the riders and the youth par­tic­i­pants of the Bad­lands to Banff Cy­cle Cx­pe­di­tion were vol­un­teer­ing to sup­port the event.

For Skeith, he sees room for growth. An­other unique fea­ture of the race is that many families come to take in what the val­ley has to of­fer.

“I think we 1,000,” he said.

“Next year we have plans to provide other ac­tiv­i­ties for the families like river raft­ing or a trip to the museum at the same time,” he said. could go all to

One young rider got in the Bad­lands spirit at the 2016 Gran Fondo Bad­lands on Satur­day, June 25. Al­most 850 riders took to the course.

Lo­cal rider Gary Cham­bers, right, had the fastest time at this year’s 162 kilo­me­tre Gran Fondo Bad­lands. Race or­ga­nizer Donna Sawchyn con­grat­u­lates him on his ride.

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