GFNS Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo Timed Sections
Nestled in Rabun County, the Tour of Georgia starts in downtown Clayton under the shadow of Black Rock Mt. state park. Riders from all over the U.S. take part - such is the beauty and challenge of the terrain.
Each rider is provided an electronic timing-chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for best time through highlighted sections of the course.
From Clayton passing through Tiger, the first timed section of the climb of Glassy Mountain starts. A 2.5 mile climb, with an average grade of 4.0% and a maximum grade of 9.5% with 479ft of climbing.
Local rider and Pro cyclist Jimmy Schurman (Luspus Racing Team) from Athens, Georgia, holds the current KOM in a time of 7m 47s. Pro athlete Nina Laughlin from Brevard, North Carolina who's an Expert Endurance Coach for Carmichael Training Systems and cyclist for Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling holds the QOM in a time of 8m 31s
After passing through Unicoi State Park, the route turns north onto the Unicoi Gap climb after 31 miles. Riders enter the mountainous area that was made famous by the 2003-2008 Tour de Georgia. In 2008, Unicoi Gap was the second to last climb on the approach to the race-deciding ascent up Brasstown Bald where Kanstantin Suitsou got the jump on Trent Lowe and Levi Leipheimer to win the event! It’s a 7 mile climb to the top of Unicoi Gap at an average of 4.8% with a maximum grade of 9.6% with 1,500ft of climbing. The climb is very gradual for several miles, before turning into a real alpine ascent. Enjoy the vistas of the Chattahoochee National Forest on the descent before turning and climbing up and over Jack’s Gap.
David Bartley from Madison, MS holds the current KOM in a time of 27m 40s. Pro cyclist Nina Laughlin again holds the current QOM in a time of 29m 50s.
The Richard Russell Scenic Hwy will put riders face to face with the 3rd timed section of Hogpen Gap after 52 miles. Within 6.9 miles and another 1,700ft, riders will reach the highest point on the course at 3,469ft with ramps of 12%. The views at the top of the surrounding peaks are breathtaking. Check your speed and be careful on the descent as there are many sharp turns. Enjoy the ride through the forest knowing that the hardest climbing is behind you!
Jimmy Schurman again holds the current KOM in a time of 28m 56s. Pro cyclist Nina Laughlin again holds the current QOM in a time of 35m 18s.
The town of Helen will be your next landmark. Here, in 1969, local business owners collaborated to create what is now called “Bavaria in the Appalachians.” Just outside of Helen on the route is the Nacoochee Indian Mound, the center of the ancient Cherokee town of Gauxule, visited by Desoto in his search for gold. The next 16 miles will take you through rolling farmland and mountain vistas. At around 83 miles, riders on the Gran Fondo will reach the 4th and final climb of what locals affectionately call Cigarette Hill. At 5.4 miles and an average of less than 1%, there is a stretch of nearly 12% to test your endurance before reaching views of Lake Burton and the Dam.
Jimmy Schurman again holds the current KOM in a time of 13m 59s. Pro cyclist Nina Laughlin again holds the current QOM in a time of 16m 13s.
Will these records still stand? Who knows!
After 90 miles, riders will enter the land of the lakes, as they cruise the rollercoaster of asphalt along Lake Seed and Lake Rabun. At the town of Lakemont, the course again joins old Hwy 441 and returns 8 miles to the finish and the festivities in downtown Clayton.
Be sure to plan to stick around for beers, food and music severed up at the finish line by the Universal Joint!
The Gran Fondo is 108 miles, the Medio 69 miles and the Piccolo 33 miles - to suit all abilities. The Gran Fondo includes the 4 climbs mentioned, whilst the Medio includes 2 climbs, that of Glassy Mountain and Cigarette Hill. The Piccolo includes the 1 climb of Glassy Mountain.
There are full stocked feed stations on all routes to keep you fed and hydrated, complimentary event T-shirt, Goody Bag with various swag items, a finishers Medal for completing the Gran Fondo route, awards for age placement, a raffle and of course the chance to win cash and prizes for placement in the overall timed climbs,
Registration is open - but with only a month to go you'll need to hurry to secure a place on this epic challenge across north Georgia's Applachian Mountains - www.gfncs.com
2015 Tour of Georgia Top 3 Overall
Winners of last years combined time on the climbs were:
1. John Gilbert, Forth Lauderdale, FL
2. Aran Cacciola, Boone, NC
3. Oliver Quinn, Athens, GA
1. Rachel Monderer, Johnson City, TN
2. Melinda Seamans, Seneca, SC
3. Danielle Garbol, Atlanta, GA
2016 Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series® Events
The 2016 Gran Fondo National Championship Series® (GFNCS) schedule is set and registration is open for all 2016 GFNCS managed events. The 2016 GFNCS event schedule:
Gran Fondo Florida - Saturday March 26, 2016
Bicycling Spring Classic - Sunday April 24, 2016
Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo - Saturday May 14, 2016
Highlands Gran Fondo - Sunday June 5, 2016
Gran Fondo Asheville - Saturday June 18th, 2016
Boone Gran Fondo - Sunday August 7, 2016
Golden Gran Fondo - Sunday August 28, 2016
Gran Fondo Maryland (2016 Gran Fondo National Championship) - Sunday September 18, 2016
The Golden Gran Fondo was rated by Gran Fondo Guide as one of the hardest Gran Fondos in the US.
To register for a GFNCS event visit: www.gfncs.com
About the Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series®
The Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series® was established in 2012 and is comprised of eight European-style ride/races staged in the United States. The series is sponsored nationally by Giordana Cycling, GRUPPO STELVIO, Bertucci Performance Watches, Bicycling Magazine, Hammer Nutrition, Swiftwick, SeaSucker Vacuum Mount Bike Racks, Peaks Coaching Group, Feedback Sports, Rudy Project, ProGold Cycling, Jittery Joe’s Coffee, Polar Bottle, Ritchey Bicycle Components, and Capua Law Firm. Founder and President Reuben Kline has more than 25 years of experience in the bicycle industry, including five years as a professional mountain biker, ten years as a full-time race director and 20 years as promoter of the Michaux Endurance Series. The company is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area.
For more information visit www.gfncs.com
To discover the history of GFNCS on Gran Fondo Guide, please type "nationals" on our site search (top RHS).