Hundreds of cyclists gathered in Drumheller Saturday morning, June 23 for the 5th straight year to take part in the Gran Fondo Badlands.
 
Organizer Rick Skeith said they had about 600 riders register this year, although he wasn't sure they were going to be able to go.
 
"I was concerned for two days looking at the forecast (and) last night it came down in buckets," he recounted. "The morning is a little more encouraging, the roads are wet but people are smiling."
 
The rain did prompt the organizers to shelve plans for the inaugural 'Gravel Grinder,' an optional event for competitors equipped to ride on gravel roads.
 
"There are some spots that I drove this morning while we were making that choice that my car, in four wheel drive, could barely make it up, so it's pretty hard to go up on a little bike," said Skeith.
 
As it was, participants took part in rides in and around the Drumheller Valley ranging from 50 kilometres to 165 kilometres, the metric equivalent of 100 miles. While they didn't have sunshine, the racetime temperature was 15 Celsius, with a forecast high of 23.
 
"165 K, you don't want it too hot so that will be a good temperature," stated Skeith. "The good thing is no wind; we hate wind."
 
Proceeds from this year's Gran Fondo Badlands will be split between Drumheller Sea Cadets and the Two Wheel View bike trip for local youth.

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