Approximately 500 cyclists from all over the country gathered at Isaiah Tubbs this weekend to take part in the Prince Edward County Gran Fondo (Italian for ‘Big Ride’). With 50K, 100K and 150K routes throughout the bucolic, vineyard-studded scenery, there was a route and distance to please the pedalling fancy of all participants.
They enjoyed unparalleled support and the camaraderie of fellow cyclists, and passing through Milford, out to Waupoos, to Picton and Wellington and the quiet roads in between.
The weekend commenced with registration coordination from local Ride Coordinator Maddy Pilon on Friday night and a carb-loading dinner at Isiah Tubbs Resort.
The Gran Fondo on Saturday was followed by après-ride festivities, bbq and beer sponsored by Prince Eddie’s Brewing Company. Later Saturday night, a celebration dinner was held at the Brighthouse Farm with a sparkling wine toast provided by Karlo Estates and music by Chris Bonham-Carter.
Meanwhile, volunteers Patricia Asselin and Laurie Ann Cole peeled 120 fresh peaches donated by Picton Metro well into the night. Bright and early the next morning, 100 people were up for the final 30K “Slow Food Ride” starting with a plant-based, gluten-free pancake breakfast sponsored by local County businesses including Jubilee Forest Farm with gluten-free bake mix. Koopmans Maple Mountain donated maple syrup, Campbell’s Orchards came through with apple sauce, The Green Root provided coconut yogurt and Coco-Whip and besides the fresh peaches, Metro also sponsored the orange juice, tea and coffee with all the fixings hosted by Saxe Brickenden and Sherry Karlo at Karlo Estates.
A total of 11 volunteers woke up at the crack of dawn to cook 360 pancakes including Tangela Martin, Tanya and Steve Anthony, Tanya and Blake McAdams, Theresa and Joe Dale, Delane Cooper, Debra Mathews, Maarten Koning, Jennifer Lester Mulridge along with children Effy, Lilith and Arwyn as the official pancake tasters.
By 9:15 AM, cyclists were off on a final fun 30K “Slow Ride” with the first destination being Closson Chase where cyclists were greeted with two wine tastings and cheddar corn chowder muffins.
After a beautiful ride along Closson road, up the Millennium Trail and down the Loyalist Parkway, Norman Hardie welcomed guests with two wines and pizza topped with locally sourced ingredients.
Finally, riders returned to Karlo Estates to enjoy the famous JK French Fries by Chef Jamie Kennedy with three Karlo Estates wines while being entertained by Bennie Vander.
Founder Robbin McKinney, owner of R.E.M. Event Management Inc and Ride Director of the County Gran Fondo, thanked all the sponsors including the Brake Room, Doug’s Bicycle, Ideal Bike, Kuat, McDougall Insurance, Pure County Bottled Water, Randonnée, Great Explorations and Tim McKinney Remax Realty, media sponsor Life au Lait, and participants.
“This ride celebrates the many attributes of this region for both locals and visitors. The event is a catalyst for economic and tourism development and provides an opportunity to promote cycling in the County while raising money for local charities,” McKinney said.
The organizer was happy to announce $7,500.00 in proceeds from the Celebration dinner and Slow Food Ride were generated to be donated to three County charities: the Back the Build PECM Hospital Foundation, the ROC and the Wellington and District Storehouse Foodbank. McKinney also announced the annual Gran Fondo will be held again next year on the weekend of September 8- 10, 2023.
For more information, to see more pictures and finish times from the event, check out CountyGranFondo.com