It’s hard to believe that the end of May is here, it seems just like yesterday it was March break and Mother Nature kept taunting us with cold arctic air adamant to keep us off our bikes. For the past few years here in Southern Georgian Bay, the end of May marks the Grey County Road Race & Time Trial. This event was first introduced to this area three years ago by Bruce Bird, organizer and cyclist. Originally it was started as an Ontario Cup event and attracted avid amateur cyclists from all over province. Last year the event changed and became a sanctioned stop for the UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) which was formed in 2011 by the UCI. In 2016 the event has been renamed as the “UCI Gran Fondo World Series”. There are 14 qualifying events worldwide where the top 25% in each age group will qualify for the Amateur World Championships.
Time Trial (TT) – Friday May 27th
The TT this year has changed location and will start and finish in Thornbury. The course itself is 29.1km long, climbing up Grey Road 40 and descending back into Thornbury via 33rd Sideroad. From the research I have done, it appears the starting line will be at the Town’s water tower on Victoria Street South. The finishing line will be on Alfred St. W. between Beaver St. S. and Victoria Street by the baseball diamonds. This would be a great spot to watch all the riders start and finish if you are looking for the best place to cheer. Another great place to help support the riders would be at the top of the Grey Road 40 climb. This vantage point would be great as the riders will well into the suffering by that point and may all the encouragement they can get to get over the climb. The TT event gets underway at 5:15pm tonight.
Strava Course : https://www.strava.com/routes/4655566
Road Race Sunday May 29th
This course will not disappoint. I have spent the last month riding it and I must say that there will be some tired riders at the end of this one, there is no hiding from the climbing, no sitting in a pack and just spinning, riders are going to have to work. Depending on the age group, racers could see themselves climbing Scenic Caves up to three times during the race. If this wasn’t bad enough, add in the Red Wing climb and the 7.5km ride up through the Pretty River Valley. This course will hurt. The races all begin in the Village at Blue Mountain starting at 8am. The finish line is on Swiss Meadows Blvd near the top of Scenic Caves Road.
Road Race Start times – Blue Moutain Village between 8am – 8:40am
Start Schedule: https://greycountyroadrace.com/road-race/road-race-schedule/
Strava Course: https://www.strava.com/routes/3811242
Where should you ride this weekend?
With all the activity on Friday night and Sunday, you should really plan your rides accordingly. Saturday is wide open, since the race is on Sunday, it would be best to take advantage of cycling over in the Beaver Valley area, maybe check out Bowles Hill or Epping and grab a lunch from Stacie at the Kimberley General Store or a panini in Ravenna. On Sunday, most of these roads will be involved in the race, so unless you are riding to cheer on friends, you may want to steer clear of them.
Sunday would be a great day to venture on the flats over through Wasaga Beach eventually ending up in Balm Beach. This is a 100km return trip from Collingwood and utilizes none of the roads that the race will be on.
Another option would be to head to Creemore, Glen Huron and Maple Valley. Be sure to stop in Creemore at Affairs for lunch or Giffen’s for buttertarts or breakfast. As usual, Curries Farm Market is always the best place for après once you arrive back in Collingwood.
I hope this helps you with your weekend riding! See you on the roads.