Experienced riders from all over B.C. arriving in Sooke for the first pit-stop during the GranFondo Doppio bike race last Saturday. The riders were greeted with racks to hang their bikes

Experienced riders from all over B.C. arriving in Sooke for the first pit-stop during the GranFondo Doppio bike race last Saturday. The riders were greeted with racks to hang their bikes

GranFondo bike race passes through Sooke

Over 100 riders stopped in Sooke for the first of six break intervals.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a convoy of dedicated cyclists briskly huffed and puffed their way into Sooke, just as organizers and volunteer were laying out the fresh muffins and coffee – the annual GranFondo bike race was back.

Only with a slight difference this year: it was bigger; raising the length of the route to a staggering 270 kilometres; big enough to both shy away intermediate cyclists and entice those experienced enough who are looking for a challenge.

After starting near the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, Sooke was the first of six support stations, with the Sooke Mountain Cycle bike shop being the host.

Complete with racks for riders to hang their bikes, full shuttle service, snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic, of course) and storage for their luggage, stations were placed 40 kilometres apart to ensure the riders didn’t overexert themselves.

Not that the GranFondo (which means “big ride” in loose Italian) was easy to begin with – also why this year it was called the GranFondo “Doppio” meaning it’s double the length of the last one.

“Done the Fondo three times before, it’s pretty hard,” said Andrew Drennin, an experienced rider from Victoria, adding that the natural beauty on this part of the Island is worth it. “At least there aren’t too many hills on this route, so it’s pretty nice. It really is a beautiful, scenic ride.”

Some riders even took the Galloping Goose down to Victoria for extra points, which was the idea for the race in the first place: to explore new horizons that doesn’t involve an engine.

As such, Lorien Arnold, owner of Sooke Mountain Cycle, said the GranFondo is more than just a bunch of strangers passing through, but also about putting Sooke as a town and as a naturally-beautiful area into perspective.

“The motivation here is to get people to stop in Sooke and see the town a little bit,” he said. “You want to attract people who want to live here for the right reasons, such as the beautiful and unique environment we’re living in, because we’re just pieces of it.”

It was also the creation of the Pacific circle route connecting the lower and middle parts of the Island that makes the GrandFondo very unique; both in length and location, noted Karl Ullrich, one of the event’s main organizers and owner of Oak Bay Bicycles.

“The fact that we have this unbelievable loop with a great view of the landscape is pretty unique, especially that you have 270 kilometre to enjoy it first-hand,” Ullrich said, adding that it’s longer than the ideal ride that attract lots of experienced riders.”

This year there were more than 100 riders involved, with more expected to sign up next year. And while the 2015 GranFondo is now behind us, the Galloping Goose is certainly here to stay year-round. So grab your bike, your helmet, and your sunscreen, those sunny trails are waiting.

reporter@sookenewsmirror.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

….

 

Just Posted

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read