The second annual RBC GranFondo Kelowna encompassed 122 kms of cycling through the rolling hills of the Thompson Okanagan and its spectacular lake country. Barney Bentall kicked the dayoff for the crowd by singing Oh Canada prior joining the ride whichstarted at 7:00 am in downtown Kelowna.
By early afternoon, all participants were celebrating in Waterfront Park with live music, awards, cheque presentations and a beer garden.
“Today was a terrific day for cycling, we are thrilled to be able to share the Okanagan with cyclists from across North America and as far away as Australia and the UK.” said Kevin Thompson, Co-founder of the event.“There is an increasing interest in cycling and we’re incredibly proud to be part of its growth.”
In honour of the RBC GranFondo Kelowna, the RBC Blue Water Project donated $30,000 to FORREX Canada. Forum for Research and Extension in Natural Resources (FORREX) is a British Columbia-based charitable non-share corporation, founded in 1998 to help people develop science and knowledge-based solutions to complex natural resource challenges.
RBC GranFondo Kelowna participants and British Columbians were invited to place their vote, via Facebook, on where the $30,000 should be directed. The voters chose to see the funding go towards: Community Adaptation to Forest Disturbance Impacts on Watershed Process.
“The RBC GranFondo Kelowna has not only become a spectacular community event, but also an incredible way for RBC to engage our clients and our employees in an exciting and different way,” said Graham MacLachlan, Regional President, BC, RBC Royal Bank, and an RBC GranFondo Kelowna participant. “We’ve developed a training program to help our clients and employees prepare for the race. Additionally, many of our employees volunteered today and even more came out to cheer on our clients, colleagues and all the RBC GranFondo Kelowna riders.”
GranFondo Canada put forth a challenge to the event host municipalities. Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon each entered a representative into the Medio (60\k category which started in Vernon and finished in Kelowna). The first one over the finish line at Waterfront Park in Kelowna will be given the opportunity to donate a $1,000 cycle package to youth in their community. Graham Hood of Kelowna came in first. His worthy opponents were Courtenay Pitcher of Vernon and Ryan Roycroft of the District of Lake Country.
First to cross the RBC GranFondo Kelowna Finish Line was Evan Guthrie from Peachland,BC (3:27:49.2).
With an identical time of 3:38:08, Jennifer Schulz of Kelowna crossed the finish line just ahead of Richelle Frank of Vancouver in the women’s division.