BICYCLING -- A few slots remain open in the June 2 CHaFE 150 bicycle event ride out of Sandpoint.
The 5th annual catered event includes 150- and 80-mile ride options in a Gran Fondo format.
Read on for details.
Registration is open for both the full 150-mile CHaFE, as well as the 1/2 CHaFE at 80 miles, up until the day before the ride. . For any cyclists still on the fence about riding the CHaFE, there are a host of reasons to join in – including two prominent new features this year.
For the first time CHaFE is adopting the Gran Fondo format. Loosely translated from Italian, Gran Fondo means "big ride." Gran Fondos are timed long-distance, mass-participation cycling events – not races – that are immensely popular in Europe for riders of all abilities. Some enter for the challenge of making the distance; others want to push themselves to make personal bests; and the most competitive ride to win! Participants wear a timing chip to track time.
Also new this year: Both the 150- and 80-mile CHaFE rides can be included in the TriSandpoint trio of Sandpoint endurance events. Riders can combine their CHaFE time with times in the Long Bridge Swim on Aug. 2 and Scenic Half Marathon Sept. 16 to complete a three-event “triathlon.” Or, riders can recruit friends for the swim and run to post a team time.
Of course, all the reasons the CHaFE has ballooned in popularity in its five years remain.
First and foremost, riders enjoy outstanding scenery along the route - which begins and ends at City Beach in Sandpoint. The route winds into Montana through lush river valleys of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, and returns alongside magnificent Lake Pend Oreille.
Year after year, riders comment that CHaFE volunteers are the friendliest they’ve encountered. And it’s true again this year, as more than 100 community volunteers will be manning five break stops along the route, serving up delicious food and encouragement for cyclists.
Each break stop group comes up with their own theme along with variety of food, personalizing it for the riders so that it’s new and fun. “They go all out,” said Geraldine Lewis, CHaFE ride coordinator. “Our volunteers really make the event stand out.”
The volunteers hail from all over the Sandpoint community, representing businesses such as the Lake Pend Oreille School District, the Sandpoint West Athletic Club, Family Health Center, Coldwater Creek, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Bonner General Hospital, students from the National Honor Society and Boulder Creek Academy, plus nonprofits such as Pend Oreille Pedalers, Bonner County Search and Rescue, and a nod to All About Adventures who run the sweep vans along the route.
"The community really turns out for the CHaFE," said Lewis. "They help spread the message that Sandpoint is the friendliest small town in America."
All proceeds benefit early childhood education, helping fund the Panhandle Alliance for Education’s READY! for Kindergarten program.