The recently finalized route for GranFondo Niagara Falls has me excited for this ride that is coming up soon! The course covers much of our diverse Niagara landscapes and even though I’ve ridden it all before, I am really looking forward to doing it on a closed lane with thousands of other riders. I have included a number of links throughout the post in case you are interested in more detail on the landmarks and sights I mention. Click away!
The route begins right at Niagara Falls. I’m going to hazard a guess that I don’t need to elaborate on the Falls – it’s a fairly well known landmark! We will head north along the Niagara Parkway which generally follows the Niagara River as it flows from the Falls to Lake Ontario. This is a beautiful stretch of road (and adjacent recreational path) and will be a great way to start out the ride. The route will go down the Niagara Escarpment for the first time near Queenston Heights Park on a nice long downhill. Enjoy the help from gravity at this point, as we will be climbing back up this same hill on the way back! We will follow the Parkway all the way into Niagara on the Lake where we loop around historic Fort George before retracing our path back up to Queenston Heights. Don’t forget to breathe through your nose – you might get to experience the wonderful smells of the grapes in the vineyards along the parkway.
After getting back up the Escarpment we head west, back into the City of Niagara Falls (including another trip down and up the Escarpment.) The route goes past one of the US border crossings at the Queenston/Lewiston bridge, and along the west embankment of a large power generation reservoir. We then travel along the north edge of the city past some parkland and agricultural areas towards Thorold and the Welland Canal.
The only part of this route I have never been on (by bike) is the tunnel underneath the Welland Canal. This should be an interesting part of the route, and I would imagine took some strong negotiating skills to arrange. The Welland Canal effectively divides the Niagara Region in half, and it must be crossed on one of a number of lift bridges, or through a couple of tunnels. Normally the tunnels (at least the road section) are off limits so this will definitely be a unique way to traverse the Canal.
Once through the tunnel we will head through Thorold, a great little cycling-friendly community and then into a more rural setting around Pelham. We will ride past Lake Gibson, and the DeCew House which has received a lot of attention lately as we have celebrated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 in Niagara.
The route will then make a large loop through mainly agricultural lands, and around Shorthills Provincial Park. The defining feature on this section will be the big climb on Effingham Road, known to locals as Saylor’s Hill. GranFondo Canada has a polka dot jersey for the fastest male and female riders to get up this climb. Make sure you save some energy for when you hit this around the 75km mark!
After the big climb, we will head north back towards Thorold and then east, retracing the same path back to the Niagara Parkway. We will head south back to Niagara Falls where the finish line and post-ride celebration will await.
For a feel of what some of the route will look like, check out my post on the 2013 GranFondo Niagara Falls pre-ride and the video below:
For those from the area that have ridden these roads numerous times, GranFondo will be a unique opportunity to do the route free of traffic. Those that are new to the area will get to experience the great cycling that Niagara has to offer.
Two and a half weeks to go!
I have been selected to represent GranFondo Canada’s inaugural GranFondo Niagara Falls in 2013 as a blog ambassador. I will be posting a series of entries like this one leading up to the event, and wrap it up after participating in the ride in September.