Major new cycling event will debut this summer in Lambton County

Bluewater International Granfondo likely to attract hundreds if not thousands of cyclists

Pictured are, from left, Bluewater International Granfondo chair Ken MacAlpine, David Palmer, vice president of NGL Supply Co. Ltd., the event's title sponsor. and Jonathan Palumbo, co-chair and board member of Bluewater Health Foundation.

Cyclists may be one of the strangest of all athletic breeds, if for no other reason than their willingness to travel, sometimes long distances, for the opportunity to compete.

It’s that kind of enthusiasm that organizers of the Bluewater International Granfondo hope to tap in for their inaugural event on July 31.

In addition to providing a great opportunity for cyclists to “do their thing,” this particular event, which is being title sponsored  by NGL Supply to the tune of $20,000, is being organized in a way that will appeal to “relatively” novice bikers as well as those are already active and more seasoned athletes, with distances of 50 kilometres, 100 kilometres, and 150 kilometres.

Each route will have its own start time specifically designed to avoid “mass start anxiety” and allow riders of all distances to be able to finish within a reasonable time of each other. The Granfondo will start and end at Mike Weir Park in Bright’s Grove.

A number of “timed sections” is an opportunity for cyclists to challenge themselves (and others) but ride in a more leisurely fashion in other areas of their chosen route.

A key part of the event, which includes early bird (before June 1) fees of $50 (50k event), $80 (100k event) and $110 (150k event), is the charities the Granfondo (a word that means “big ride” in Italian) will support, both St. Joseph’s Hospice Sarnia-Lambton and Bluewater Health Foundation, in support of palliative care.

NOTE: Fees go up in two stages, one on June 1, a second on July 25.

Entrants will receive a quality racing jersey as part of the entry fee, said to have a retail value of more than $100 value.

MacAlpine is hoping (and expecting) that cyclists will include a significant contingent from southwestern Ontario as well as the U.S. (hence the International in the title). “We’ve already received enquiries from Waterloo, London, Windsor, Michigan and even some from Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.,” he said.

Live music at Mike Weir Park will be performed as part of the event and food will be available.

Sponsorships for the event are being sought, with full details and other information on the Bluewater International Granfoldo event available at the website—www.bigf.ca

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