New route for L’Alpe de Grand Blanc road ride

The 60 km cycling race from East Kelowna to Big White Ski Resort takes place Sunday, July 24.

  • Jul. 10, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Kelsey Serwa crosses the finish line in the 2015 L’Alpe de Grand Blanc with her grandfather Cliff Serwa

Big White Ski Resort will host their second annual L’Alpe de Grand Blanc road ride on Sunday July 24, featuring an exciting new route for participating riders.

The 60km race from East Kelowna to Big White Ski Resort is designed to embody the ceremony and rituals of the world’s greatest cycling events. In a nod to European cycling traditions, race organisers have added a 900m section of “sterrato”, or dirt road, to the race route this year.

“Cycling traditions are steeped in much history, such as the cobblestones of France,” explained Trevor Hanna, an avid cyclist and vice-president of hospitality at Big White. “This new addition to the route is similar to sections in the Strade Bianche or Giro d’Italia.”

The ride will start at the East Kelowna Community Hall and wind through the vineyards and orchards of East Kelowna, before traversing through a gravel section to emerge onto Highway 33. From the highway, riders will travel up Big White Road to the finish line in the Big White village area.

A 9.8 km hill climb race is also on offer to junior and youth cyclists on the day, starting from the Gem Lake parking lot and leading up to the same finish line in the Village.

A festival atmosphere will welcome all riders to the finish line, where they will enjoy entertainment, a post-ride BBQ, refreshments and massages. Riders will also be offered transport back to Kelowna after the awards ceremony.

The L’Alpe de Grand Blanc will offer up Polka Dot Jerseys for the King and Queen of the Mountain classifications – as well as great prizes for the fastest team, youngest and oldest competitor. Each rider will also receive a commemorative t-shirt and a host of other swag.

Early bird pricing is available at $65 per person until July 10, after which it goes up to $85. Team entry is $150 with three people per team.

Riders will be challenged to beat the winner of last year’s L’Alpe de Grand Blanc, which saw 14-year-old Conor Martin complete the 58km race in just one hour, 57 minutes and 38 seconds – despite heavy rain, strong winds and limited visibility.

First place in the women’s division last year was taken by Helena Coney, who completed the 58km route in two hours, 26 minutes and 57 seconds.

“Cycling has exploded in the Okanagan Valley over the past few years, thanks in part to a never-ending network of great roads with world class views,” added Hanna. “To ascend up to our resort during a fully supported ride with a mountain top finish, in my mind, is one of the epic cycling adventures in our area.”

For further details and a full list of summer events at Big White Ski Resort, check out bigwhite.com.

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