On Saturday June 15th, the Blue Mountains Gran Fondo (BMGF) took place starting and ending in the lovely town of Thornbury, Ontario. For a fifth consecutive year the BMGF was the sole Canadian qualifier event for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship. Rainy and cool conditions did not deter the 600 participants from enjoying the quiet roads and scenic views of this charming region. The event was divided into three groups.
Men under fifty started in the first Wave and completing a 152-kilometer course with 1092meters of elevation gain. Greg Moore (M40-44) dashed out into a solo break just 8 kilometers into the race and was soon joined by Chris Polett (M40-44). The duo was able to build a lead of over 12 minutes at the start of the Epping climb for a second time (km 70). The lead was reduced to 10 minutes by the time the two-man break started climbing Bowles Hill (km 110), when Greg Moore distanced Polett and rode the final 40 kilometers solo to take the victory finishing 4:13 ahead of Polett and 4:35 ahead of Gaelen Merritt (M19-34) in 3rd place.
Wave 2 featured all women riders and men 50+ who rode the 112km course with 795 meters of climbing. Dan Martin (M50-54) the 2016 Road UCI Gran Fondo World Champion took off as soon as the neutralized section ended riding solo out in front of the peloton for the first 20 kilometers. A group of five riders led by Kevin Simms (M50-54) and including Olympian Sue Palmer-Komar (W50-54) crested the Epping climb first with riders splintered into several groups pedaling hard to get back in contact with the leaders. By the time the group started the second loop it had swollen to around 50 riders. With a 30kph head/cross wind and no one wanting to drive the pace, attacks began with riders taking turns trying to separate themselves from the sticky peloton. Ultimately it was the newly minted Canadian National Road Champion Steve McKee (M50-54) who broke free.
The chase efforts were taken up by a surging Dan Martin who could not find enough help to sustained effort. The peloton rode conservatively leading up to the Bowles Hill Climb, while McKee quickly built up a 5-minute lead and then sailed home to victory. McKee's teammate and organizer Bruce Bird (M50-54) finishing 31 seconds back. Third place was won in a sprint with UCI Time Trial Champion from 2016 Dan Bryant (M50-54). Four strong women fought for the top three spots in the women's race with Joyce Spruyt (F19-34) crossing the line first ahead of Sue Palmer-Komar and Stephanie Martinek (F45-49)