Morristown County proclaim Sept 10-11th Gran Fondo NJ Weekend
The Morris County Board of Freeholders proclaimed Sept. 10-11 to be “2016 Gran Fondo NJ Weekend’’ in Morris County in honor of the sixth-annual event, which has raised more than $600,000 for local and regional charities over the past five years
The freeholders also issued a proclamation last week to thank event founder and host Marty Epstein, owner of Marty’s Reliable Cycle, and Gran Fondo NJ Executive Director Bill Ruddick for their efforts to bring this major cycling event to Morris County.
“The Gran Fondo NJ has become the biggest and most prestigious cycling event in New Jersey. It has become a fixture on the Morris County sports and fitness scene thanks to Marty Epstein, Bill Ruddick and their team,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “The Gran Fondo draws thousands of people to our county, boosting the county’s economy, promoting the county as a tourism destination, and serving as a real-life advertisement for the quality of life in our county.”
The Gran Fondo concept, which originated in Italy, is to cyclists what a marathon is to runners. In recent years, gran fondos, which originated in Italy, have become a popular mass-participation events for cycling enthusiasts across North America. The Gran Fondo NJ, which begins at the Morristown Green, offers a choice of route lengths —18, 42, 62, 75 and 107 miles — and timed hill segments that wind their way through some of New Jersey’s best cycling roads.
But organizers say the event is not considered a traditional racing event. According to the event website, "Gran Fondo NJ provides plenty of challenges to its participants without the added pressure, stress and inherent dangers of a bike race. We do not provide start/finish timing. The competitive aspect of the event is limited to only the timed climbs on the four longer routes. Cyclists can feed their competitive needs while fighting gravity on these climbs, and take it easy on the sections of route and our rest stops in between."
The 18-mile "Breve Fondo" is the shortest and easiest route, running from Morristown to Mendham and back. The titular 107-mile "Gran Fondo," which crosses into Hunterdon County and reaches the Delaware River before turning back, is the most popular ride.
The 62-mile "Medio Fondo," which runs to Califon in Hunterdon County, was selected by the editors of Bicycling magazine as one of "The 50 Best Rides in America."
Starting and ending in Morristown, this combination of bike touring and timed climbs attracts a wide range of cyclists from the casual weekend rider to the well-trained endurance athlete. Ruddick said cyclists from 17 states outside of New Jersey and several foreign countries are expected to participate this year.
Epstein and Ruddick told the freeholders that they have to prepare 123 miles of roads in Morris and North Jersey for this year’s race, setting up police security, race volunteers on the course, painting race symbols on roads across the region, and many other details to be ready for Sunday’s 7 a.m. start on the Morristown Green.
For both riders, spectators and supporters, the Gran Fondo NJ weekend includes festivals, expos and other activities both before and after the rides. Participants also are treated to rest stops along the route that offer "refuel" food such as peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, bananas, Power Bars and fresh locally grown fruit, along with treats served in past years such as cannolis, home-made ice cream sandwiches and cake pops.
"We are still working with our local bakeries and pastry shops to figure out what to feature this year," organizers state on the website.
The weekend begins with a Kids Fondo beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. Post-ride activities on Sunday, Sept. 11, include a finish-line festival, expo and beer garden and a barbecue.
Sponsors include Marty’s Reliable Cycle, AAA, Power Bar and a variety of bicycle and cycling product manufacturers. Lodging and restaurant discounts are available for riders.
For more information on Gran Fondo NJ, visit: http://granfondonj.com