Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Carla Allen callen@thevanguard.ca
Published on September 28, 2015

Baie Sainte-Marie was filled with the sound of soft whirring, gears changing and the steady hum of tires on pavement as over 400 cyclists took part in the province’s first Gran Fondo on Sunday (Sept. 27).

The event was touted as a self-paced fun group event and not a race. Gran Fondo means "grand tour" or "great distance" in Italian.

Cyclists had two routes to choose from: the 117.9-kilometre Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie or the 35.38-km Piccolo (P’tit) Fondo. Both routes featured spectacular scenery with sunny skies and pleasantly cool temperatures. Many residents stood by the roadside, cheering, waving Acadian flags and shouting encouragement as the cyclists whizzed by.

The ear-to-ear grins on participants, as well as the organizers, said it all.

Larry Peach, Municipality of Clare tourism manager, said they were ecstatic.

“Everything has gone perfect today,” he said. “You couldn’t ask for better weather.

It’s been amazing –the enthusiasm from the riders and the community has really come together.”

The assistance of many volunteers and sponsors was evident. There were motorcyclists leading the cyclists and helping to provide a buffer for traffic, volunteers providing route guidance, refreshment stand tenders and many others.

Peach anticipates three or four years from now it will be hard to get a room in southwestern Nova Scotia for the event. “That’s what our goal is,” he said.

“If we can get it to 425 in one year we can go 600 or 700 next year and get 1,000 in three years.”

The organizing committee already has enough funds for another promotional video as well as a trade show booth for the

Toronto International Bike show and a similar show in Quebec.

“We can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Peach.

No accidents were reported and organizers are discussing expanding the event to two days to encourage participants to stay in the area longer. The event is scheduled to take place Sept. 24 and 25 in 2016.

Of the approximately 425 that registered,

90 per cent were from Nova Scotia and 20 or 30 cyclists were from out of province, including two from Melbourne, Australia.

Jeff Muise from Yarmouth was the first to complete the longer route, doing so in three hours and 17 minutes.

Lisa Pasolli from Antigonish was the first to complete the Piccolo Fondo, with a time of one hour and 16 minutes.

For complete results, visit this link.

 

 

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

<p>Hundreds of cyclists leave the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie starting point last year.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO&nbsp;</p>

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Hundreds of cyclists left the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie starting point last year.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Spectators lined the roadside cheering the cyclists on.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gisele Thibeau was one of many spectators cheering the cyclists.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

<p>Alain Comeau (74) of Belliveau Cove was married the day before he took part in the Gran Fondo. His new bride cheered from the sidelines.<br />ROBERT THIBAULT PHOTO</p>

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Téche Dugas (4) was the youngest cyclist.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

<p>It was a long, hard climb up one of the hills in Corberrie.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO</p>

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

The long incline to Mavillette Beach was an easy glide.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Smiles were part of the cycling gear.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Volunteers on duty at the Mavillette Beach refreshment table.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Beautiful scenery was part of the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie.<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie <br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Bananas, orange sections, giant pretzels and dried fish, in addition to beverages, were some of the refreshments provided by organizers along the way.

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Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie a great success

Published on 28 September 2015

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie<br />CARLA ALLEN PHOTO

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