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Cranbrook Gravel Grind bike race to showcase Cranbrook’s trail network

The event is the first of its kind in Cranbrook, raising funds for the Cranbrook Community Forest

A new bike race is coming to Cranbrook this fall, with the debut of the Cranbrook Gravel Grind (CGG) on October 1.

The event is hosted by the newly-founded Anything Goes Event Series (AGES), who have hosted the Fernie Gravel Grind for the past three years.

Carter Nieuwesteeg, event organizer, says that the race will not only showcase some of Cranbrook’s best trails, but will also raise funds for the local trail building organization.

“[The race] will shed light on the world class gravel riding that surrounds Cranbrook,” Nieuwesteeg said. “Welcoming any and all riders to the first ever event, the 65 kilometre ‘Gold Rush Loop’, starting and finishing in Idlewild Park, will showcase the Cranbrook Community Forest, Chief Isadore Trail Network and Mount Baker Forestry Service Roads while raising funds for the local trail building organization.

“The Cranbrook Gravel Grind offers an incredibly unique experience for new and experienced riders with a course that is designed for cyclists with physical impairment in mind, suiting cyclists of all abilities, hand-cyclists and tandems included.”

AGES has teamed up with local businesses and organizations to bring the race to town, and they hope that this will become an annual event going forward.

“With the incredible network of gravel riding unlike any other region in B.C., as well as the welcoming host community and businesses like The Heid Out, Cranbrook Tourism, Canadian Rockies International Airport and Fisher Peak Brewing, we would be thrilled to grow the CGG into an annual event,” said Nieuwesteeg.

“We would love to see the Cranbrook Gravel Grind become a staple event in the Canadian gravel scene, similar to our main event, the Fernie Gravel Grind, which has just completed its third annual event this past June. The event saw 300 riders and over 450 patrons throughout the weekend of live music, food trucks, beer gardens, gravel racing and group rides based entirely out of downtown Fernie.”

Nieuwesteeg explained that he is a professional cyclist, born and raised in Fernie, whose passions are not only racing but giving back to the community.

“Because my community has had my back throughout my racing career, I want to return the favour by creating inclusive local events similar to the ones that stoked my fire and passions for biking when I first began, all the while using the events as a way to raise funds for the local trail building organizations like the Cranbrook Community Forest,” Nieuwesteeg said.

Co-host David Bennison was born and raised in Cranbrook and is now a Fernie resident who shares a passion for cycling.

“[He] shares a similar passion for cycling, and he’s travelled the world by two wheels,” Nieuwesteeg said. “David takes pride in creating bike events that welcome, motivate and inspire anyone and everyone on two wheels.”

READ: Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo returns this September

The ride itself takes place on Saturday, October 1, with an evening social taking place the night before at the Heid Out restaurant.

The race begins at Idlewild park at 10 a.m., and riders will follow the 65-kilometre Gold Rush Loop, which will be fully marked and accompanied by two aid stations.

Following the race, there will be award ceremonies and live music at the Heid Out.

“Come dance the night away to fantastic live music with your pals as we wrap up the last bike event in the Kootenays before the snow flies,” said Nieuwesteeg.

He added that this year they expect to see about 200 riders and that road bikes will not be permitted. Gravel bikes, cyclocross or mountain bikes are allowed.

All of the details and registration information are available online on the CCN website.

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Riders are pictured on one of the many trails in the East Kootenay trail network. (Photos courtesy David Bennison and Katie de Bruycker)
Riders are pictured on one of the many trails in the East Kootenay trail network. (Photos courtesy David Bennison and Katie de Bruycker)

Corey Bullock

About the Author: Corey Bullock

Corey Bullock is a multimedia journalist and writer who grew up in Burlington, Ontario.
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