Training program

Granfondo organizers launch cycling training program for young people

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It was the downtime from the COVID-19 pandemic that Kendel Ross says brought her to cycling.

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“A good friend asked me to cycle to Tobermory and at the time I had a bike with a basket and a coaster brake,” laughs the Lambton College instructor and former professional basketball in Spain and Portugal.

She borrowed a better bike and she and two friends trained for about a month before making the 10-day round trip from Sarnia, camping as they went, she said.

“And I was addicted.”

Ross is one of half a dozen expected local athletes, educators and cycling enthusiasts joining the Bluewater International Granfondo – a major annual cycling race in Sarnia-Lambton that raises money for local palliative care – to offer a new Youth Spokes cycling training program for ages 11 to 14, said Granfondo spokesman Ken MacAlpine.

Free Sunday workouts from June 19 to July 24 are held at the Lochiel Kiwanis Community Center. The program will aim to make young people comfortable on the road while teaching them how to do it safely, as well as how to handle and maintain the bike. The program will also encourage cycling as a way to stay healthy, reduce stress and be more communal, Ross said.

“At a time when we live in a very digital age and are tied to devices, you can sometimes miss this big, big world.”

Subscribe to bigf.ca was due to open on Thursday, she said.

Other instructors include Holy Trinity professor Pat St. Amand, former NCAA baseball player Julian Service and track and field athlete Cormac Brown.

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“We have a really cool lineup of leaders,” Ross said. “I think it will add a lot of energy and fun for those involved.”

Granfondo organizers have also purchased 20 bikes that can be used by registrants if they don’t have their own, MacAlpine said. Funding of around $15,000 to support this part of the initiative comes from a private donation and from the New Sarnia Foundation, a group that has been involved in creating bike paths in the city, he said. .

A press release from the organizers says the idea grew out of a Bluewater International Granfondo virtual cycling information program held with thousands of public school students in 2021.

Ross said MacAlpine’s son, Ian, was “kind of a mentor” to her in basketball as she entered high school.

“One of the reasons I wanted to return to Sarnia after playing overseas is to give back to the community that helped me grow,” she said.

“So collaborating with Ken MacAlpine and supporting the young people of the city is exactly why I wanted to be here.”

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