CLARE, N.S. – Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie, the largest cycling event in Atlantic Canada, is introducing a fifth ride to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
The event held in the Municipality of Clare in southwestern Nova Scotia has quickly become a bucket list cycling and cultural experience. It hosted 970 cyclists in 2018 from Alaska to Australia. This year, organizers expect to attract more than 1,000 participants. As of March 12, there were 178 registrations, including 50 from outside Nova Scotia.
On Sept. 22, cyclists will once again ride along Nova Scotia’s Acadian shore. A fifth ride, the 88.5-km Mezzo “middle” Fondo, has been added to the roster to celebrate the event’s fifth edition. Participants can also choose between the 161-km Super Gran and 118-km Gran routes for experienced riders, or the popular 67-km Medio or shorter 35-km Piccolo rides for intermediate and novice cyclists.
Riders will navigate rolling inland roads along lakes and rivers and pass by towering wooden churches along the panoramic coastal route that hugs Nova Scotia’s Baie Sainte-Marie.
Ronnie LeBlanc, warden of the Municipality of Clare, says the event continues to grow and flourish every year.
“The community wholeheartedly opens its doors to cyclists from all over Nova Scotia and the world. I look forward to riding in my fifth Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie this September,” he said.
Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie appeals to cyclists looking to ride for fun, good health and to take on a personal challenge, organizers say. Although a timed event, it is more of a self-paced fun group event than a race. After their ride, cyclists are treated to a complimentary lunch, with a choice of a vegetarian option, barbecued pork or the perennial favourite of fresh lobster in the shell.
Returning this year, the Mini-Fondo (2 km and 4 km) for children ages five to 12 will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21.
“We want to offer families an entire weekend of cycling. Last year we were super pleased to see 95 kids participate,” said Louanne Doucet, owner of the Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop and member of the organizing committee.
Cyclists are encouraged to register early to participate in draws: those registered by the end of March have a chance to win their registration or a Gran Fondo duffle bag. Participants registered by July 15 will receive an Acadian-themed fifth-anniversary event jersey. The $99 registration also includes a swag bag, transponder timing, nutrition stops and entertainment along the route, a free massage and a finishing medal.
For more information and to register online, visit www.granfondobaiesaintemarie.ca/en