Bluewater Granfondo back on the road

Granfondo 2018 ( Photo courtesy of Gina Marie Photography)

Over 600 cyclists from across the globe are participating in this week’s virtual Bluewater International Granfondo.

The ride, which was suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19, kicked off Monday and runs until Sunday, August 1.

Chair Ken MacAlpine said they’re doing it virtually this year, so people can ride at their own time and place.

“They ride the four routes that we have in Lambton county, if they’re out of Lambton county they can ride a safe and convenient route near their home,” said MacAlpine.

He said riders can choose from four distances, 30, 50, 100 and 150 kilometres, and those who complete all four distances will be awarded a special jersey.

“There’s people [participating] in Europe, the U.S., Canada and some in Australia. Virtual is not as nice as live, but it gives the opportunity for people far and wide to participate with us.”

MacAlpine said the routes are tracked by a downloaded app.

“All participants need to register on that [app]. The route that they decide to ride is showing on that and then it’s very easy for us to verify that they have actually ridden the distance that they signed up for.”

Since 2016, the granfondo has raised over $200,000 for the Bluewater Health Palliative Care Unit, St. Joseph’s Hospice and to sponsor the Bluewater Palliative Care Retreat.

“Everybody is very supportive of the money going to palliative care education and the conference that will be held this year in September, which is going to be a virtual conference. Two of the world’s top palliative care speakers will be speaking at the virtual conference.”

Physicians, nurses, social workers, personal support workers and other medical professionals are expected to participate in the retreat September 10.