Weekend has fun events for everyone

Autograph session among events aimed to lure people to Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan.

Events such as the special guest autograph signing are added incentive for people to participate in the 2013 Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan.

VFGAMO event co-ordinator Jeff Plant said having people such as Canadian Olympian Simon Whitfield and former Ironman triathlete Peter Reid joining gives people reason to come.

Whitfield will be among those signing autographs.

The weekend of festivities begins July 5 with riders picking up their packages at the Granfondo Cycling Expo.

“The exhibitor range is more diverse,” said Plant. “I think expo is going to be really good.”

The expo has been improved by adding vendors. There is also a family fun zone that will have a bouncing castle and climbing wall.

“It’s part of it being a destination event,” said Plant. “Participants can comfortably bring the rest of their family and know whether they are riding or not, they are going to have a great time.”

Merckx will also do a keynote presentation, which he hasn’t done before. There will also be an added spot for the classe special.

Plant, who thanked the community for its continued support, also said the Piccolofondo ride for kids has been huge, which retired Olympic cyclist Alison Sydor enjoys helping with.

“It’s just great to see the kids coming out and getting an opportunity to race,” she said of the event that attracted 250 kids last year. “They just have so much fun and that kicks it off nicely.”

Events list

Friday (July 5th)

Package Pick-Up and Granfondo Cycling Expo

1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Penticton Trade & Convention Centre

Granfondo Women’s Night, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., The Bike Barn

Riders’ Briefing (information for first-timers and details about the ride & course)

5:30 p.m.

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre (atrium)

Saturday (July 6th)

Penticton’s Farmers’ Market

8 a.m. – noon

Main Street


Package Pick-Up and Granfondo Cycling Expo

10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre


Special guest autograph signings (including Axel Merckx, Simon Whitfield, etc.)

11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre (Expo floor)


Riders’ Briefing (information for first-timers)

12:30 p.m.

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre (atrium)


Kids’ Piccolofondo

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Gyro Park


Family Fun Zone

1:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Gyro Park

Sunday (July 7th)

Bag Check-In open

5:30 a.m.

Gyro Park


Start of Granfondo, Mediofondo and Cortofondo 7 a.m.

Main Street/Gyro Park


Finish Line Festivities & the Tree Brewing Garden & Barbeque

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Gyro Park



1:30 p.m.,

Gyro Park (band shell)


Finish Line closes

4 p.m.,

Main Street/Gyro Park