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Record Number of Cyclists Ride America's Number 1 Gran Fondo

2,500 cyclists from all over the U.S., Canada and Internationally lined up for the 6th annual Gran Fondo New Jersey

Cyclists again voted with their wheels with a record turn out at one of the best organized Gran Fondo's in North America. The weather was near perfect for late summer and so was the cycling as 2,500 riders took part in the 6th Annual Gran Fondo NJ.

With a moment of silence, followed by a rousing duet of the national anthem by a two blind tandem riders, the 2016 Gran Fondo NJ paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 before thousands of cyclists rolled into the Jersey countryside from Morristown on Sunday morning.

“People are excited. You can just feel it. And being on such an important day, 9/11, it really had a lot of meaning for a lot of people,” Mayor Tim Dougherty said after the cyclists hit the road. Everything went smoothly at the 7 am start, near the historic Morristown Green.

Founder Marty Epstein already had put in a long day. “I’m exhausted. My feet are killing me!” he said.

Top line sponsors include one of the strongest North American registered Pro Cycling teams and Bike Manufacturers, Trek-Segafredo. Sponsors also include Marty’s Reliable CycleAAAPower Bar to name a few. The event has seen steady growth in demand from the "exploding number" of North American cyclists who have grown to love the new U.S. Gran Fondo racing format. Gran Fondo New Jersey catered for riders from Beginners to Pro's to experience what can only be described as "one of the most Professional Events for Amateurs".

Over $20,000 in prizes were on offer in the raffle including top spec bikes from Trek, Scott, Jamis. Wheels from Mavic, New Belgium Brewery Fat Tires, Giro Savant Helmets and Segafredo Espresso Machines.

The list of benefits riders enjoyed was awe inspiring, letting the riders relax, make new friends, challenge themselves, be cheered on by the local communites and celebrate a great days' cycling at a finish-line festival, expo and beer garden and a barbecue - knowing that their efforts went to benefitting and supporting the local economy and regional charities.

For both riders, spectators and supporters, the Gran Fondo NJ weekend included festivals, expos and other activities both before and after the rides. Participants were alsotreated to rest stops along the route that offered "refuel" food such as peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, bananas, Power Bars and fresh locally grown fruit, along with treats served such as cannolis, home-made ice cream sandwiches and cake pops!

Such is the regard for the event, 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 so far raised more than $600,000 for local and regional charities over the past five years - edging ever closer to the $1 million dollar mark.

The freeholders issued a proclamation several week's ago 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 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". Gran Fondo Guide rated the Gran Fondo NJ as the #1 best Gran Fondo for 2016 in it's annual review.

The Gran Fondo NJ, which began at the Morristown Green, offered a choice of route lengths —18, 42, 62, 75 and 107 miles — and timed hill segments that wound their way through some of New Jersey’s best cycling roads. The event is not considered a traditional racing event. The Gran Fondo NJ provided plenty of challenges to its participants without the added pressure, stress and inherent dangers of a sanctioned bike race. In the U.S. Gran Fondo format, the competitive aspect 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 the rest stops in between.

Prizes are awarded on the collective best time across age related categories for the different distances for both men and women. However everyone who crossed the finish line was awarded a medal for their efforts! 

The Gran Fondo NJ is a leading light in the success of this phenomenally popular and fast growing genre of cycling across North America - and beyond. 

Register for the 2017 Gran Fondo NJ and Save!

The date is set for 7th annual Gran Fondo New Jersey on September 10th.

Register before September 18th as they are offering an amazing deal to register at their original 2011 event pricing for one week only!

2016 Gran Fondo NJ Preliminary Results

Riders got to challenge themselves on the climbs of; Doggone Hard Hill, The Roller Coaster, No Pain - No Gain, Almost Home and The Mendham Mile.

Preliminary Results:

2016 Gran Fondo NJ Photos

PHOTOS: Gran Fondo NJ Social Media Swirl

Trek-Segafredo Team Car Led 2,500 cyclists out onto their chosen routeMavic provided roving Mechanical Support to everyoneSome 123 miles of New Jerseys finest roads were used to provide 5 challenging routes for all abilitiesNice job today Team Segafredo! #granfondonj 107 miler riders are finishing up and still smiling!@Lin_Manuel Checking in with my favorite guys after a draining 50 mile bike ride.Davide Vidoz ?@daxx23  #Segafredo #coffee4acauseAlexa Rae Gallagher ?@AlexaRaeG_ Be sure to stop by the #Jamis tent at #GranFondoNJ for chocolates and to check out some awesome new bikesVisit #TheSeeingEye booth at #granfondonj for some puppy love today! #SeeingEyePuppyGood luck to all the #granfondonj riders! The #SeeingEye team ready to go!Team Segafredo is ready to ride. #granfondonj #coffeeride4good #coffee4acause2016 #GranFondoNJ is this Sun, plz support team GIGMotown -->  + visit our tent at the expoHave you heard about #GranFondoNJ? Your ride can support #SeeingEyeDogs!

VIDEO: Cyclists swirl past the Morristown Green at start of 2016 Gran Fondo, NJ by Pamela Babcock for