Gran Fondo, or “Big Ride” as it’s known in Italy, falls somewhere in between a century tour and a race. In a Fondo, there is usually a mass start in a downtown area and a route that stretches 100 miles or more along scenic and challenging terrain. Many Gran Fondo events also offer shorter rides – as in the 30 and 60-mile course options that were offered at the Frederick National Championships.
Open to all categories of riders, the Gran Fondo challenges riders not only to compete with fellow cyclists, but also to push against the clock and the elements. Typically, bicycle races are split into categories according to skill level, age and gender. In Gran Fondo racing, however, all racers begin at the same time. The course is also not run start to finish — cyclists race through four timed sections, and the winner is declared based on the times earned in each section. Usually riders get a custom jersey, prizes for the top finishers across several categories, and best of all – a great meal and celebration at the end of the ride.
The best news of all – you can still get in on this grand cycling adventure as there are still several Gran Fondo races being held this Fall across the USA. To compete successfully, training rides and indoor workouts on a Cascade Bike trainer or CMX indoor group exercise bike will really help you take on those big hills that most rides feature.
For a complete calendar of upcoming Gran Fondo events through November 9th, go to www.granfondoguide.com Event Search Page