A Gran Fondo is not a race, but rather a mass start event. It is designed to draw the community together and give everyone a chance to enjoy the fun of riding a bike on the same course as the professional riders. It is truly a ride for everyone.
Preparations for the “Grand Fondo” started back in February with weekly training sessions starting at 6.00am. The Somerville team started with short rides of about 30kms increasing this to 100kms over the next seven months. The Somerville team trained rain, hail or shine and each week confidence grew and fitness levels increased.
It was a gruelling 129 kilometer ride, from Mandorah to the Darwin Waterfront. With 11 of the Somerville team completing the ride and the dedication and support from other team members, it truly was a community event. Over 380 riders took part on the day and the Somerville team consisted of our CEO Vicki O’Halloran, Debbie Bampton, Norm Humphry, Bonnie Solly, Allison O’Connor, Terri-Anne Dureau, Raj Bhandan, Vince Yuen, Graham Franklin, Diana Smith, Scott Smith, Chris Markwell, Louis Tam, Mavis White, James McMillan, Emily Farey, John Nicholls, Hilario Arevalo and Keith Jones. Sorely missed were training partners Jenny Dunne and Terry O’Connor who had to withdraw due to injury, but were on the side lines full of encouragement. The support and encouragement offered by friends and volunteers at the three drink stops, was not only appreciated by Somerville riders, but by every rider who participated.
It takes courage and commitment to train and ride in an event like this. Somerville’s motto ‘the courage to be’ was evident in all the staff, service users, family and friends who were involved in the Gran Fondo!
Congratulations to all our riders, and a big thank you to the volunteers, the Darwin Cycling Club, and all sponsors, including SANTOS for their kind support, in making it such a memorable event.