Jason Stockfish | [email protected]
MultiSportsCanada’s Gran Fondo boutique bike race will return to Jasper on June 4 after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
This year will mark the sixth Gran Fondo held in Jasper National Park.
Launched in 2014, the race is the only event of its kind to take place entirely within the boundaries of a Canadian national park, noted Trevor Soll, founder and director of MultiSportsCanada.
The number of runners is capped at 400, and there are already more than 300 participants registered for the event.
“People are excited to be out and want to participate,” Soll said.
“Our numbers look pretty good for this year’s event and the highest (attendance) we’ve had.”
Participants have the choice of five routes, the distance of which varies from 65 km to 190 km.
All runners start and end at the Memorial Park with diverging routes along the way.
The shortest of the routes, and the one with the least elevation gain (601 meters), is the new E-bike Fondo, which offers people an electric option on the Piccolo Fondo route.
Participants in this race will exit Highway 93 for 93A after passing through the South Park gates and follow the route to Athabasca Falls.
Runners then turn north where the road intersects with the Icefields Parkway to begin returning to Jasper.
“More and more people have e-bikes, and that’s an option for those who maybe don’t think they can go 65km.”
The longest course is the 190k Forte Fondo.
Although the event is limited to 75 participants, Soll noted that due to its difficulty, the cap was never an issue.
“There is a real niche market of runners who want to do this in one day.
As well as covering 190km, the route involves a grueling 2,339m vertical drop as it includes two mountain climbs, the first up to the lower chalet at Marmot Basin, followed by an ascent to the Edith Cavell Inn. .
Once Forte participants have climbed these two mountain roads, they continue their journey until they reach their turnaround point at the Poboktan Creek Staff Complex.
Those who participate in the Forte must qualify to do so.
Slightly less demanding than the Forte with 165 km and 1,691 meters of elevation gain, the Gran Fondo race follows the same route as the Forte, but it does not include the second climb of Edith Cavell Road.
The aptly named Medio Fondo covers just over half of the Forte’s terrain, as runners cover 100km, gain 1,338 meters of elevation gain and head towards Marmot Basin before following 93A to their turnaround point at the intersection of the Icefields Parkway.
The last is the aptly named 126km Leg Burner course, which features the same two mountain climbs as the Forte, but riders turn around at Goatlick instead of riding 32km further to Poboktan. before returning to Jasper.
Over the years, MultiSportsCanada has partnered with the Jasper Historical Society for the event, collecting donations from cyclists and others for the community organization.
“These funds we’re raising for them are obviously going to a great cause and it’s a great partnership,” Soll said.
For more details on the Jasper Gran Fondo, visit www.granfondo-jasper.ca