It was a sea of helmets, bikes and Spandex as waves and waves of cyclists came through the Main Street start line in downtown Penticton early Sunday morning to take part in the sold out 10th annual Okanagan Granfondo.
Granfondo participants were lined all the way up Main Street to Nanaimo Avenue to take part in the famous race that took cyclists along Lakeshore Drive, onto Highway 97 to Summerland and back through to Kaleden, Oliver and ending back in downtown Penticton.
The event sold out early with over 3,000 cyclists from around North America turning out for the 6:30 a.m. start time with many spectators cheering them on. Several cyclists said they were just eager to take part in the race and didn’t mind the line up after waiting over two years to participate.
A cycling group from North Vancouver were taking part in the mediofondo, one rider for the first time and said they’ve been loving their experience in Penticton so far. The Mediofondo is 92 kilometres as opposed to the Granfondo which is 160 km.
“We are just super excited,” said one rider.
Another cyclist said the Okanagan Granfondo is why she moved to the South Okanagan.
“I did my first Okanagan Granfondo in 2019 and fell in love with the area,” said the woman who is originally from North Vancouver.
The event was being led by well known race announcer Steve King who counted down each wave of cyclists while sharing information about professional riders participating including some international riding champions and at least one Olympian.
The Okanagan Granfondo had to be cancelled last minute last year due to new COVID restrictions placed on the Okanagan last summer. This is the first Okanagan Granfondo since 2019.
This high-profile race attracts visitors from all over the world, wrapping up with festivities at Gyro Park on Sunday, which will include a family fun zone, beverage garden and BBQ. This will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Awards are at 2 p.m. and results are available at the Okanagan Granfondo website.
Next up for endurance races is the Peach Classic Triathlon next Sunday, July 17.
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