By JERRY HITCHCOCK/Staff Write
The Coeur d’Fondo is nearing its fifth straight run around Lake Coeur d’Alene, and race director Isaac Mann can’t wait.
He was an integral part of the creation of the event, and now happily spends time molding and tweaking every facet of the product.
Now as nearly 1,500 cyclists prepare to tackle the five different distances offered, Mann has most of the decisions for this year’s event in the books.
During a recent walk around downtown Coeur d’Alene, Mann was able to share his joy, ambition and future goals for North Idaho’s only fondo event.
“When we first started, my group of friends really wanted to ride around the lake, and we needed a reason to do it,” Mann said. “We got the first one up and running, and thought we’d get 250 to start, and wound up with 850 in that first year (2012).”
Mann said they are seeing participant counts between 1,200 and 1,500 in recent years. “We are just starting to aggressively reach out, now that we have a known product to offer.”
Mann said in the beginning, the idea was to lean heavily on the tranquility of the route.
“Anybody who has ridden around the lake knows there are roughly 6,000 feet of climbs on the course. I have seen fondos in other parts of the country where they have to make something fun out of the ride to make up for the lack of scenery, but we have 100 miles of coastline to ride beside, so that makes it awesome.