Third Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie coming in September

Number of registrations ahead of last year at this time

Published on June 23, 2017

Last year, participation doubled, with 831 riding in the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie. The event has grown into the largest road cycling event east of Quebec. This year’s event is Sept. 24.

©Carla Allen

Baie Sainte-Marie -  A spokesperson for the third annual Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie, to be held Sept. 24, says they are slightly ahead of last year’s pace in terms of registrations (375 as of June 19). People from a variety of places are signing up.

“Out of the 81 out of province, 37 are from New Brunswick, 13 from Ontario, 10 from Prince Edward Island, seven from Quebec, nine from the U.S., three from Great Britain and two from Australia,” said Municipality of Clare tourism manager Larry Peach.

Last year participation doubled with 831 riding in the Gran Fondo. The event has grown into the largest road cycling event east of Quebec.

In Italian Gran Fondo means Grand Tour, a mass-start cycling ride that brings together road cyclists of all abilities.

Although the Baie Sainte-Marie event is timed, it is more of a self-paced fun group event than a race.

New for 2017, live music will be playing at specific rest stops and at the finish line, where all cyclists will receive a participation medal.

For the hardcore cyclist, a 161.5-kilometre Super Gran loop is an option. This route will extend into Yarmouth County, with cyclists riding inland along the panoramic Route 340 and back up Route 1 at the Hebron connector. There will be a new rest station at the Carleton School.

Experienced riders will be challenged by the slightly lengthened Gran 120-km or the Medio 67-km. Novice cyclists may prefer the shorter 35-km Piccolo Fondo.

Riders will navigate rolling inland roads and pass by towering wooden churches along the panoramic coastal route that hugs Baie Sainte-Marie. This year, both Gran and Super Gran routes will take a left-hand turn after Mavillette Beach and go through the picturesque fishing village of Cape St. Marys. Both the Super Gran and Medio Fondo rides will take participants around the scenic Bas-de-la-Rivière loop with vistas of la Baie Sainte-Marie and Digby Neck.

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop (9976 Hwy 1, Saulnierville). Lunch is included: a choice of pork or lobster in the shell and crab. The night before, riders are invited to a social event for a taste of Acadian culture at the Clare Veterans Centre.

Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie has been nominated by Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance for a 2017 Prestige Award for Sport Tourism Organization of the Year.

Registration information

Participants registered by Aug. 1 receive a Gran Fondo event jersey.

Early-bird registration ($99 CDN) is open until Aug. 1, although registration will be available up until the morning of the event.

For more information and to register online.