Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo
|September 9, 2023||St. Eugene Mission Resort|
The ride is in September, giving you plenty of time to train. It starts and finishes at the St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, where there’s plenty of space for riders to park in the freshly harvested fields next to the festival tent. In the early dawn light, water bottles are topped up, race numbers are secured to the bikes and hundreds of pairs of padded bike shorts are put on before heading to the festival tent for the continental breakfast. With bellies full of carbs and protein, the riders head for the start line in front of the old brick missionary-turned hotel.
Like many Gran Fondo events, the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo offers three distances.
The Gran Fondo is 152 km using the paved North Star Rails to Trails path to quickly arrive in Kimberley B.C. where the first fueling station is located in the Platzl. While the cheers of spectators echo through town, the riders pedal north along the Kimberley Highway, rolling through farmland and forest until it reaches Highway 95 where excellent views of the Kooteney River are on the right. Cranbrook may be a short distance away, but this is where the big guns take a hard left and ride the peaceful Wardner Fort Steele Road for an extra 50 km before returning to Highway 95 for a few more steep climbs including the King and Queen of the Mountain competition before descending into the valley and onto Mission Road to St. Eugene.
The Medio Fondo is 102 km, also utilizing the same route as the Gran. North Star Rails to Trails > Kimberley B.C. > Kimberley Highway > Highway 95
Tremendous views accompany riders throughout the journey. The Medio follows the same route as the Gran but skips the Wardner Fort Steele out-and-back.
The delightful Piccolo Fondo is 58 km using the North Star Rails to Trails to reach the Platzl and return the same way. Riders using E-bikes and families are all invited to participate. Every route is surrounded by spectacular scenery using roads with wide shoulders and a minimal amount of traffic.